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Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third CD (album) cover


Pure Reason Revolution

Crossover Prog

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5 stars Good god. I knew they were good, but.... After literally minutes of anticipation, my favouritist band release their debut album. (Cautionary tales being just an LP, which explains why two of the songs on that appear here... those new to the band, ignore that, get this.) And guess what? It's one of the best albums this year...

The opener, Aeropause, is an instrumental/overture, although the links with later songs are not particularly obvious. This leads nicely into Goshen's remains, a nice enough song, probably with a mind for single release. Apprentice, one of PRR's older songs, (2001!) finally gets its album release, with a re-recording, for legal reasons... anyway, this is an insane song, one of the finest on the album. The best song on this album is probably The twyncyn/trembling willows-the dynamic movement of this peice is simply incredible! Overall, PRR's amzing vocal style, tight compositional skill, and the way the whole album slots together mean that from start to finish, this is worth the five stars. I try to refrain from giving five stars, because very few albums truly are classics, but here I have no resevation whatsoever. GENIUS.

Report this review (#78256)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had very high hopes for this album, since the 12-minute single The Bright Ambassadors of Morning and the EP Cautionary Tales for the Brave had been very good indeed. Even so, the quality of this album surprised me.

What is most striking about PRR's style is how effortless it all seems, and how they craft something that is truly unique with very small means. Yet the style seems fully formed and cohesive.

The tricks and gestures of Prog are really not much in evidence here, once you look past the structure of the songs and the album itself. There are no fiddly solos, few odd meters and no mellotrons at all - sound-wise, this is clearly a product of today. But even though it is thoroughly modern, The Dark Third is a concept album, revolving around sleep and dreams. Luckily, the lyrics never devolve into cheap metaphor or clumsy word-play, letting the words just be an integral instrument in the composition.

The album has some shadings of modern Dub Electronica, but most of all it is infused with the sounds of British Post-Prog underground bands like Radiohead, Cooper Temple Clause, Muse and Oceansize. Yet at the same time, seamlessly integrated into the whole, there's the multi-harmony approach of The Beach Boys and early Yes, the spacey Psychedelia of pre-Darkside Pink Floyd, an ear for a melody that is catchy but never banal, and a willingness to throw you a curve-ball or two along the way.

All the while without sounding too difficult. It's a neat trick, and one that I think could translate into some real long-term success, because it offers both some immediate appeal with long shelf life.

I could rave forever about Pure Reason Revolution, because it is for moments like those first few listens to The Dark Third that I still spend so much time searching out new bands and listening to new music. But I am hyper-critical, and rarely does an act come along that so completely crumbles my defenses. I have some minor rational reasons why maybe The Dark Third isn't quite a five-star album, but my emotional heart overrides all that, and it says: Best Debut Album of the 21st Century. Maybe Best Album of the Decade.

In short: absolutely stunning.

Note: The US release of The Dark Third is said to have replaced The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows (which seems to be the fan favorite, at least) with The Intention Craft from the Cautionary Tales... EP.

Report this review (#78547)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Heavy Floyd. Mostly Autumn without cheesy lirics. Porcupine Tree without Wilson's ego. Eloy on speed. This is just a small sample of what you might find here. I first heard about Pure Reason Revolution on BBC2, on the Bruce Dickinson show "Masters of Rock". The song was the "The Intention Craft". That was an awsome track that had me searching for more from this band. It came as a surprise to me that the song wasn't present in this album, but one can easily realize why: it simply doesn't fit amidst the other masterpieces... This is just a stunning piece of work. The composition is sublime, and the playing masterful. You will not find a single solo in this album, but the heavy riffs and the carefuly knited electronic and orchestral parts sure make up for it. The Northfeld production is absolutely amazing, I can't find a glitch, there was clearly alot of attention put into the details, and, if what architect Mies van der Rohe said, that "God is in the details", then this surely is a divine work. Forget about Wilson and Stolt and their quarels about the future of Prog. Get your hands on Pure Reason Revolution and see what Prog should be like in the 21st Century.
Report this review (#80154)
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Original, but don't confuse readers. This is not a prog-rock album. This is a pop-rock (alternative) band with progressive tendencies. Keeping that clear, I must say their approach is refreshing, specially the first half of the album. From that point onwards, the tracks tend to clone the structure : vocal harmonies section followed by heavy section.

A very promising band, but this album is not the gold mine some people wants to see (at least not yet).

Report this review (#84095)
Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "The Dark Third" is one of the best albums of 2006.

Sublime melodies and vocals. Extremely well crafted and played music from beginning to end. I have not heard group vocals of this quality since The Beatles/Beach Boy/Yes recordings of the sixties and seventies.

1. Aeropause - A perfect instrumental with a nod to Pink Floyd. A medium tempo rhythm lays the foundation for some smooth slide guitar and synth playing. The track segues into...

2. Goshen's Remains - Chloe Alper's voice is one of PRR's most potent and likeable assets and is displayed here. The song changes gears subtly and effectively building to peaks and then laying back into a quieter space.

3. Apprentice of the Universe - Great melodies, vocals and playing.

4. The Bright Ambassadors of Morning - Begins with a slow rhythm with those wonderful group harmonies adding the perfect atmosphere. Think Fripp-type soundscapes but in the context of an organized song. As the song progresses through it's almost 12 minute length various melodies appear and fade away and return again.

5. The Exact Colour - This would be my choice for a single. One of the best songs I've ever heard in my life. Starting with a few piano notes which change to a soft melody as the drums lay down a supporting foundation, the vocals appear and when the chorus hits you realize you've been transported to Nirvana, at least for the length of this song. That's how good it is.

6. Voices in Winter/In the Realms of the Divine - This song coupling carries the listener gently at times, letting a mild tension build which builds to a release brought on by some great riffing.

7. Bullits Dominae - Great song. Great vocals. Great riffing. Which leads the listener to...

8. The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows - Another tour-de-force of melody, playing and singing. Carries the listener to various states of goose bumps.

9. He Tried to Show Them Magic/Ambassadors Return - This is the song sequence that concludes the album. Iit's a mixture of complex vocals and strong riffing that leads to a satisfying ending.

Please note this review is of the original UK release. The USA release track listing is as follows:

1. Aeropause 2. Goshen's Remains 3. Apprentice Of The Universe 4. The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning 5. Nimos & Tambos 6. Voices In Winter / In The Realms Of The Divine 7. Bullits Dominae 8. Arrival / The Intention Craft 9. He Tried To Show The Magic / Ambassadors Return

I have yet to pick up the USA release so I can't comment on the different songs chosen.

Report this review (#86944)
Posted Saturday, August 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I would describe this band as having a modern Psychedelic flavour with lots of harmonies. Female and male vocals here. The combination of Psychedelic music and the great vocal harmonies not only makes them quite unique but has generated a huge buzz in the Prog community and beyond. My favourite song is "Aeropause" and "Goshens Remains", which are really one song.

"Aeropause" begins with vocal melodies before it turns spacey then gentle guitar and FLOYD-like synths come in. Drums and keys follow in this very dreamy instrumental that is eventually graced by some beautiful female singing which signals we're just starting into "Goshen's Remains". Some great bass playing going on when the male singer comes in. Violin joins in after 2 1/2 minutes as it settles. It kicks back in with dual vocals before settling with violin once more. What a great, great song. "Apprentice Of The Universe" is psychedelic with male vocals to start. Female vocals help out. It's heavier 2 minutes in. Great sound. An atmospheric calm ends it. "The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning" is the 12 minute epic. It opens with a beat and spacey sounds. A calm follows and then it kicks in with dual vocals around 3 minutes. The tempo continues to change. Love the sound before 6 1/2 minutes. Nice organ as well. It's building.

"The Exact Colour" opens with piano as a beat comes in. Vocals after a minute. "Voices In Winter" sounds so good early with the guitar gently crying out with this beat. Dual vocals come in as it builds. The drums become prominant. "In The Realms Of The Divine" eventually kicks in pretty hard then we get this MOODY BLUES vibe because of the vocals. "Bullitts Dominae" is modern sounding early then the male vocals come in. Kicks in after 3 1/2 minutes. "The Twyncyn" has a nice heavy sound as sounds cry out. Male vocals join in followed by female vocals.This sounds really good. It turns spacey after 2 minutes like a PORCUPINE TREE song. It then kicks in heavily before 3 1/2 minutes as the song "Trembling Willows" has arrived. Heaviest part of the album. Spacey again late before one last assault. "He Tried To Show Them Magic !" sounds amazing with the harmonies and drums. It turns spacey. It eventually turns into "Ambassaders Return" a reprise from "Bright Ambassadors Of The Morning".

This is a fantastic album ! The way they contrast the heaviness and spacey sections is incredible. Then add the vocal arrangements and we have a can't miss album.

Report this review (#89445)
Posted Monday, September 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Welcome to the magical world of Pure reason revolution.Ok i've must admit that hype has done it's job pretty well ,since a Uk magazine anounced them as London's mini Floyd but still this doesn't change anything.The Dark Third is a fine debut combining all sorts of music ,which makes it an adventurous and full of surprises album...Musically it's a mix of alternative rock,space,some copy-paste Floyd parts (don't get me wrong,i'm not accusing them;It's just that sometimes influences are obvious !),but something's strange about them..They have a more personal sound,which is an achievement considering it's their first album.Violin and a beautiful female voice along with Jon's voice(who write's just about everything).Nice trippy songs,great guitar work,a great great production ,catchy refrains,distorted guitars ,and many interesting ideas!Many things to come and we are waiting !We really do !!!
Report this review (#89927)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Dark Third is the debut album by Pure Reason Revolution, and, as with many modern bands, there are questions over whether they are prog or not. After listening to the album and having seen the band perform live I can honestly say that they are quite definitely prog, but pretty close to the current UK Indie scene sonically.

Its strange, you here many of the Indie bands that pervade the charts these days and the sound of it never really struck me as something that could be expanded upon and taken into the realm of prog. So you can imagine just how surprised I was when I first heard Pure Reason Revolutions debut album as it does just that. This album includes the "sound" of said Indie scene with an ability to expand on themes and push them forward.

Though this isn't a concept album most of the songs segue from one to the other. This gives the album a great flow and helps to keep the possibility of week tracks down as it feels like its all connected. For instance a hard, fast paced song will slow down and flow into the following, more spacey, song (namely Voices In Winter segueing into Bullets Dominae). It might be an after effect of this technique but I do find that it gives the whole album a sense of cohesion and structure.

As you would expect from a young band Pure Reason Revolution put plenty of energy into their music with the hard rocking songs really grabbing you by the neck. However, they do the slow and spacey just as well. The musical abilities of the band members are not to be underestimated as well, granted they're no match for the Dream Theater's of this world but they can certainly hold their own, except on keyboards which I feel they need to work at. Chloe Alper is the stand out musician of the band for me as a very strong bassist, its just a shame that she didn't play bass on all the songs. Vocally this band is slightly unusual in the fact that they have two lead singers who's vocal performances seem to work together, and at times strangely remind me of Pain of Salvation in the way their voices work together and harminies, like they regularly do in Pain of Salvation, though obviously not sounding like them.

The big problem with this album is that PRR lack variation at times. I said before that they are able to take an idea an work with it, but all to often the ideas are very similar, though not so similar that this album sounds like one or two songs constantly repeated. Because of this some parts of the album can get a little boring and repetitive after a few listens, particularly the longest track The Bright Ambassadors of Morning, but not much of the album actually seems to suffer this too badly. The other drawback is the keyboards, they are used decently for effects and moods but they don't really do much, and certainly not enough to grab much attention.

Overall this is a good debut album and well worth checking out. There's plenty of energy and enough subtlety to get the listener coming back for more. However they could do with being a bit more diverse in the ideas department. Plenty of promise here and a band that I can see becoming something special, watch this space. 3 stars.

Report this review (#95283)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Dark Third manages to do something very few albums accomplish. Like a good novel it has the ability to pull you away from reality's grip and into Pure Reason Revolution's own little dream world subject to the manipulations of the band. Never once while listening to this album do I realize I'm laying in bed with headphones on or even listening to music at all. An experience, rather than music, would be a better way to describe the wonders contained here

The vocal harmonies are what instantly grabbed me on this release, and more than anything they keep me returning. The leading male and female voices amalgamate in such a way to create a vocal track worthy of listening to itself. They also do a rare task in being instantly acceptable and digestible, yet not losing their impact after repeated listening. "Bright Ambassadors of Morning" (wearing Pink Floyd influences on their sleeve huh?) showcases this beautifully, and ranks up there with the best vocal harmonies.

Musically the album impresses without trying to, or rather, there's no mind-blowing complexity, extended solo spots, etc. trying to gain your interest, the music just does. Pink Floyd influences are apparent, but I would say are not as strong as other reviewers or the band themselves would have you believe. They attain a very modern sound, and even appear to draw some influence from the Indie scene. There's a healthy distribution of atmospheric tracks and more energetic numbers, but the entire time the band remains strongly melodic even when dealing with more metal sound.

I see a very bright future for this band, and personally I feel this to be the nearly strongest of the releases I've heard in 2006. However, they seem to be somewhat flying under the radar, and I hope this review plays a part in changing that fact.

Report this review (#97036)
Posted Friday, November 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Bright Ambassadors of Boring?

After numerous EPs and the gaining of a fanbase, The Dark Third was released to the public in July of 2006 to positive reviews and positive support from the progressive community. When word spread around that Pure Reason Revolution were the newest sensation in the progressive music scene, I decided to make a blind purchase and so I picked up this album. While I don't think it is all that bad, I'm having trouble trying to find what exactly is progressive about this group, and what exactly they want to be. And if that weren't enough, this album does horridly boring at points, making songs feel like they take eons to finish (especially the longer songs on the album).

I'm not going to really go into detail about each track on the album, but rather describe what I get out of the album after listening to it. Sure, the vocals are lush and have a crisp/over produced edge to them that make them catchy and melodic, but I find them to get rather tedious at points (for example, the song Bright Ambassadors of Morning has them repeating that phrase ad-nauseum for nearly 10 minutes). Another positive quality is the production and the sound of the album itself. It's well balanced, meaning that every instrument gets an equal opportunity in the spotlight, but that doesn't mean it makes engaging music.

Some of the songs are pretty good, Apprentice for the Universe, for example, has some catchy melodies and the playing (for one of the few times on the album) actually engages me and keeps me on the edge of my seat. A few other bits and pieces on the album also invoke this feeling in me, but for the most part, I'm left pretty cold by this debut.

In conclusion, if you like your music on the indie side with doses of progressive rock here and there, Pure Reason Revolution might be what you're looking for. For me, though, I'm left more bored by this album than anything else. This group has a long future in the music business, so I'll hope that they improve on the faults of this album and hopefully their sophomore album won't be a slump. But for now, we're left with numerous EPs and The Dark Third, the latter of which isn't entirely bad, but there certainly is a lot of room for improvement.

Report this review (#103134)
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the good surprises of 2006 was this album, the first of Pure Reason Revolution. The band manages to create a unique sound, though sometimes its influencies may be to obvious, like the pure floydian introdutory "Aeropause". The band's trick lodges mainly in the vocals, where the combination of several voices, from both sexes, inspired in Beach Boys arrangements but quasi-operatic at times, create a breathtaking atmosphere. The instrumental parts go through, from delicate guitar passages to moments of pure energy, in a joyfull atmosphere, taking it from the new mainstream British alternative rock bands.

Standouts of the album are, first of all, the great epic "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" in which the band shows all their creativity, from the exquisite noise introductory sounds to the beautiful orchestrated choral transitions, until the pre-final explosion of sonic power, making remember Porcupine Tree's epic "Arriving Somewhere but Not Here". "Voices in Winter/In the Realms of Divine" and "The Twycyn / Trembling Willows" are another misterious and catchy tunes, combining the same formula, in 3/4 parts structurated. The albuns catchy ballad is found in "The Exact Colour". Violins a la Arcade Fire are present a bit all over the album, particularly in "Bullits Dominae". The last track is like a resume of the memorable parts of all album.

Resuming, a very good effort, combining feeling with good songwriting, in an original fusion of stiles, where the vocals are standouts. A promissing band.

Report this review (#104277)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was very surprised to notice that a lot of reviewers consider this album as one of the better prog releases of 2006. This is a very melodic album where the musical compositions are built around the vocal parts. Most vocal parts are harmonic duets from dubbed male and female voices. This gives a nostalgic feeling that reminds me of the hippy era and bands like Fleetwood Mac or the Beach Boys. The band also incorporates other more recent influences from pop bands like the Walkabouts, The dream academy or even Prefab Sprout. The mood of the music is very uplifting. The peaceful mood is interrupted by some pompous excerpts with heavy guitar chords with the sound of an orchestra underneath. I suppose this is the reason why some people like to call this music grunge. If you listen closely, you'll definitely will find some proggy elements but you really have to search for it. Only on "The bright ambassadors of morning" the band explores the style of the early seventies period of Pink Floyd and Yes. This is a good album due to the excellent melody lines and the elaborate compositions but don't expect any virtuoso musicianship or originality. This is just too cheese for me, I guess. The instrumental arrangements are far too simplified to be compelling. I suppose this album rather please fans of melodic pop/rock than those who like complex music.
Report this review (#104840)
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Porcupine Tree meets Backstreet Boys. I can't believe there are so many people liking this album. You can already get copies of this used on Amazon for less than $2, so that will give you some idea of how bad this thing tanked.

Musically it's pretty bland unobjectionable and uninteresting lite Pink Floyd-ish metal with tons of hooks. Except the hooks aren't good, they're annoying as hell, and the band was apparently so low on ideas they had to repeat each one of the hooks dozens of times. I listened to this album once, and I never want to hear the word "ambassadors" again. Just when I think I like something I'm hearing, it gets repeated so much, without any variation at all, or any real buildup, that I can't stand to hear it anymore. The chord sequences are cliche, the vocals are the typical overproduced major label bs, and the production has way too much high end. One of the most unpleasant listening experiences I can recall, though if there hadn't been so much hype and so many phony high ratings for this album, it wouldn't have been so painful. At least I only paid $1 for it.

Report this review (#106389)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I feel like I should hate this album with a burning passion, but there's something about it that keeps it in guilty pleasure territory for me. Pure Reason Revolution debut is melodic, harmonically dense, psychedelic, flamboyant, light-hearted, and ridiculously catchy. Pure Reason Revolution's sound relies heavily on the vocal interplay of the band's members. While we're on the topic of vocals, the bands lyrics are for the most part infinitely superficial and meaningless to the point where at some points it can become slightly annoying. Some of their music has the "drawn-out" quality that I feel is akin to much progressive music, but at the same time, it is very structured and fairly predictable. This is the kind of music that is so hideously flamboyant I'm not sure if I could listen to it around other people with any dignity, but it is nonetheless a fun album to listen while holed up in shame in the confines of my room :O

The album begins with an instrumental, Aeropause, which showcases the band's reliance on sustained, psychadelic sounds before the rest of the album descends into all-out vocal craziness.

Goshen's Remains could be the catchiest song on the album, but this doesn't detract from its complexity. The song undergoes a number of time signature changes, especially in its earlier stages, and makes up for them in the latter sections by becoming increasingly harmonically complex. Apprentice of the Universe is the next track on the album, and while not as interesting as the previous track, adding another high-energy frenzy would probably be a bit overkill on the ears.

The Bright Ambassadors of Morning is my least favorite track on the album. I'm not entirely sure what foul spirits invaded the minds of these musicians and convinced them that lifting a lyric out of context from Pink Floyd's Echoes and using it ad nauseum was a good idea, but it definitely makes for one of the least enjoyable moments on this album. Despite this, the song does get a bit more interesting when the vocals go away and almost redeems itself towards the end.

As my version of the album seems to be a slightly different version than what is listed on this web site (in regards to track listing, at least), I'm not sure if it's worth it to continue reviewing each song individually. Most of the songs are more or less similar to the first four tracks on the album, which are the same on both releases. Bullitt's Dominae is similar to Goshen's Remain in structure and is probably my favorite piece of music on this album. One peeve I have to mention: there is an extended silence on the last track of both releases. I've never understood why bands do this. It's not terribly difficult to modify audio files such that long, pointless silences are included in music if that's what I was shooting for.

The Dark Third is for the most part a seamless adventure, and unlike many pop albums, it's beneficial to listen to the album in its entirety in order to get the full effect.

The closest comparison I could draw to this band is Porcupine Tree, but that's a bit of an inadequate description. While many of the musical ideas used by Pure Reason Revolution have been tried before, their music is very much their own and has to be listened to in order to get an accurate description of what I'm failing to describe.

While it has its shortcomings and it may not appeal to some who cannot tolerate almost overwhelming levels of cheesy flamboyance, I would say this is certainly one of the top albums of 2006 and give my kudos to the collaborators who included it on that list.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys new prog bands and catchy music.

Report this review (#110401)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars An overhyped one

This is always some kind of a failure when album didn't meets your expectations when you hear SO MANY good things about it.This is definetely not a Masterpiece and quite boring album.It has almost NO other signatures except for 4/4!Not even a single 3/4 or 6/8!Also vocals are too much soft and personless.That's great when they sing alltogether different lines, but when vocal goes solo it gets BORING.

I've chanced to got a US version, so I'll start.No comparings or recommendations - I'll just share my thoughts on it.

1. Aeropause - Floydian opening instrumental,nothing special and a bit too long and repetitve

2. Goshen's Remains - the only song that has non-4/4 signature here (15/16 or something - they've just thrown one bar from usual 4/4).Hardly memorable, nevertheless it has good chorus

3. Apprentice Of The Universe - I heard this one before, and it's good.Not my favourite though

4. The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning - a 12-minute odyssey where only closing minutes are truly worthy (beginning from that a-capella vocals).I appreciate their attitude and their manner, but ...sorry,it could have been shorter. Much shorter

5. Nimos & Tambos - one of my favouritest from them, very good and even rocky track with catchy and enjoyable melodic basis.Recommended for all non-prog newbies to PRR

6. Voices In Winter / In The Realms Of The Divine - good one too despite this usual "spacy mood" thrown into every PRR track.Very melodic and mellow track

7. Bullits Dominae - not the best track...Good Lord,I've been repeating this phrase for too much, but this is true - there's nothing special, and up to this moment album becomes REALLY boring

8. Arrival / The Intention Craft - heard it before as well as Apprentice.Not bad...l

9. He Tried To Show The Magic / Ambassadors Return - THIS IS THE BEST SONG THEY EVER DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a shame that one can fall asleep before reaching this marvellous track!!! Excellent rocky song which shows the best PRR can do!

After all, I have mixed feelings towards this album.It's good but way too boring and repetitve sometimes.You should be at least Psych/Space fan to enjoy "THE DARK THIRD" fully.Some tracks are amazing, some ones are not - there's nothing extremely special,this is USUAL album (I avoid "PROG-album" formula because there's not much Prog in my opinion). It's nice and accessible but I'm not sure you'll listen to it daily.

Expecting for the new one.

Report this review (#110573)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Apparently "The Dark Third" is a concept album about dreams/sleep, but I was none the wiser for reading the CD cover notes, and the lyrics give Jon Anderson a run for his money in the poetic nonsense stakes. The album title and mellow, spaced-out feel of much of the music are pointers to the theme though, I suppose. Mind you, the music is not all laid-back: there are some heavier parts such as 'In The Realms Of The Divine' and sections of 'Bullitts Dominae', 'The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning' and 'Trembling Willows' (some of which is satisfyingly axe-chopping, head-nodding heavy). But, overall, the album has a comfortable, dreamy feel to it.

The New Prog of PURE REASON REVOLUTION is a real mixture of sounds, reminding me of PORCUPINE TREE, THE BEACH BOYS, NIRVANA, EVANESCENCE, THE DANDY WARHOLS and TIMOTHY PURE to name just a few. Sometimes I'm even reminded of ENYA (I kid you not). I recommend Prog Rock fans check out the tracks on the group's MySpace page, as they may be pleasantly surprised.

The overall feel of "The Dark Third" is mellower than the group's mini-album "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" and is, in my opinion, even better. Actually, the tracks 'The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning' (the title comes from the lyrics of the Floyd's 'Echoes') and 'He Tried to Show Them Magic!/Ambassadors Return' are also on "Cautionary Tales For The Brave".

The vocals and harmonies are very pleasing, as is the counterpoint between Chloe Alper and the male singers, particularly Jon Courtney. This accessible music seems quite simple, but there's more to it than first meets the ear. The tracks are lush, varied and full of melody, and this talented group make it sound easy, which it most certainly ain't. Quite poppy in places, quite heavy in others, the catchy tunes are still different and complex enough to warrant labelling as progressive music. I like the use of keyboards and violin, but then all the instruments and vocals impress me.

Despite having written in my review of "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" that I hear little of the Floyd in "The Dark Third", the instrumental 'Aeropause' does remind me of them, but when it segues into 'Goshen's Remains' and Chloe Alper's gorgeous voice wafts over a luscious mixture of guitar and bass, I forget the Floyd and just enjoy the here and now. James Dobson's violin adds some real interest and pleasure on this and the other tracks.

The accessible 'Apprentice Of The Universe' has delightful vocal harmonies and counterpoint between Alper's and Courtney's dulcet tones, which are better still on 'Voices In Winter' and 'He Tried to Show Them Magic!'. 'The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning' was good on "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" and fits perfectly on "The Dark Third". It's reprised at the end of both albums in 'Ambassadors Return', an upbeat and fitting end to an album that deserves to become a classic. If such a thing were possible I'd award "The Dark Third" 4.5 stars; as it isn't I'll settle for 4 stars (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection). Forget pigeonholes; forget complex time signatures and Prog Rock benchmarks: complexity is not essential in order for music to be good or pleasing; just take the music on its own merits, on its freshness and enjoyment factor alone. Wonderful stuff - makes me wish I were 21 again.

By the way, the US release replaces 'The Exact Colour' with 'Nimos And Tambos' from "Apprentice Of The Universe" (2004), and 'The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows' with 'Arrival/The Intention Craft' from "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" (2005).

Report this review (#110631)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars There have been plenty of in depth reviews of this album so I will not go too in depth and do a track by track listing. I'm quite pleased to see more new prog bands on ProgArchives, as I feel that they are rather underrepresented, and I think that they really should be getting their own category sooner rather than later. Back on topic:

i) Despite what some people have said, this IS actually a concept album, although the concept is actually not immediately obvious. Most of the songs segue into each other, and there is an underlying theme on which the music rests. ii) Comparisons can most easily be drawn between this and Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. iii) The appeal of this record is very dependent on vocal harmonies, keep that in mind before judging. iv) This is new prog. Which is to say, it is a fusion of indie/alternative and prog, which means that it may not perhaps be as full-blown as some traditionalists may want. Certainly there are many 1 star ratings of this album from those who didn't expect this to be the case. Incidentally, anyone who calls it "pop" is either being an elitist or hasn't actually heard what constitutes mainstream pop recently - could you imagine this in the Top 40?

Report this review (#110702)
Posted Sunday, February 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every time we listen to something completely new, we seem so lost that our only way is to compare with. Will you let anyone compare YOU? Pure reason revolution are wonderfully unique... and so is their music. This album is a jewel. Contains all the feelings, from sweetness to wilderness.. fantasy and reality: evil, kind, coloured. So human, so divine: soundtrack of dreams, that will keep coming to make all create (pure) reasons not to just live, but feel.
Report this review (#113910)
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Indie Neo-Psych

First things first, this is borderline progressive. Think of it as a more commercial sounding Porcupine Tree, especially given the heavy production nature of the record. If it wasn't for the many spacey moments, it might just be a pop record. That being said, it's still not half-bad. PRR has managed to take the spirit of the Indie scene and apply progressive tendencies to their music to create a very youthful record.

I don't imagine myself enjoying this years from now, simply because of the youth quality this record has. Especially at say, age 40 or so, not because the record is bad, but because it has many naive qualities, many youthful qualities that to a degree I can associate with now, but even so I have trouble placing myself in a category with others. I put this music and this band in the same category I put dredg, it's nice and all, but it's really not for me.

Younger members who are new to prog may find this record very enjoyable. It has many qualities of today's music and mixes in enough elements to keep things interesting, including the multiple vocal lines. However, on the whole, I can't help but see it as a second-rate Porcupine Tree.

Report this review (#113969)
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars If there´s ever a band which deserves the tag Art Rock nowadays, this band is Pure Reason Revolution. Their music is very hard to describe.. There are some prog elements here and there, but also are meny other styles in the mix, making PRR a very distictive sound without being too spaced out, weird or plain freaky. In fact their songs are very pleasant most of the time thanks to their fantastic vocal hamornies and melodic sense. No weak songs or fillers, making this record a very smooth and flowing tapestry of sounds. I really hope those guys keep this level of quality and bring us more CDs like The Dark Third.

If you´re looking for something new, original, yet accessible and ear pleasing, this is the record for you. Essential for any music fan with an open mind.

Report this review (#114758)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars PRR's music is a nice blend of brit pop and some prog elements, but overall I wouldn't rate this one as a prog rock album. Obvious Pink Floyd influences and some prog moments, but much more poppy and cheesy songs on this one. The music is often too repetitive to be prog, maybe can be considered of some kind of psychedelia (British style).

The Dark Third is actually a good album, but definitely not my cup of tea. I don't think this one will appeal to long-time prog music listeners, may be a nice first step to the prog world for starters though. My grade is 2 stars, given the context of this website.

Report this review (#115696)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album is just another soporific release of modern electrojazzpop prog. Just like Radiohead, Izz or the Tangent you're supposed to listen the top of new talented prog artists that once again fails to get muscial consistance, drown in a false complexity, a lack of melody, bad singers, no charisma. Spock's beard, Frost and Jadis appart, is there a prog band nowadays who can offer something great to listen to? or are we just condamned to suffer this electro s... forever? It's sad that in 2007 we still have to stand by bands like Saga to have something decent for our ears!
Report this review (#122885)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my new favorite bands! When I heard the album the first time, I was a little dissapointed by the opening song. At first I thought it would be too "Pink Floyd". And yes, it does have alot of similar sounds that pink floyd used, but after a minute or so, the song really starts to develop its own unique flavor.

The band is obviously influenced by many older bands, but they put together their songs in a very unique way. The 3 voice harmonies and counterpoint singing is really cool sounding. The vocals on the album are pretty good, and the synthesizers are incredibly well done and well placed for a dreamy feel. The guitars aren't bad and the bass is usually quite catchy. The violin parts really add to the album, as do the

The only song on the album that could have been done better is "Bright Ambassadors Of Morning" Its starts off well, but its a little repetative. It has alot of highpoints to it though, and that makes up for its repetative sequences in the song. I rate the song about a 7/10 while all the others are perfect 10's.

Overall, I would rate this album about a 4.9 because it just falls short of a masterpice because of Bright Ambassadors Of Morning.

I reccomend this to any fan of psychadelic music. Its a must have album for fans of bands like Pink Floyd

Report this review (#124773)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A different album indeed with the band showing they have potential, but have to work on various flaws here. I forgive them since this is just their beginning: a debut. The music is actually more in the heavy and modern brit-pop vein with hooks throughout and a constant use of harmonies. This sound is mixed the some space-rock and progressive rock elements. Production is good enough for the first album and the instrumentation is surprisingly crisp and clear, but i think the vocals are not recorded very well with some "s" sh"s all over the album which are distracting for me. The main issue I have with the album are really the vocal harmonies which take out some of the diversity of the album because they generally sound very similar and get old. I think they should be a more subtle and use them sparingly next time.

The first three songs are my favorite part of this album. Aeropause is an instrumental piece heavily influenced by Pink Floyd (but at the same time doesn't sound like it) with many variations and an outstanding spacey and trance-like riff at the end which leads to the highly melodic Goshen's Remains and Apprenticee of The Universe which introduce the sound of the album pretty well. The Bright Ambassadors of Morning also introduce the album, but the bad side of it. This is a highly repetitive and overlong piece with a huge vocal harmony hook that is more irritating than catchy and is repeated several times "The Bright Ambassadors of Boring?". The last song also uses that annoying melody and has a big void lasting several minutes in the middle. Pretty disappointing ending.

So overall, this album has its ups and downs and while I disagree it being voted #2 here (though the #1 is even more unusual as I found their myspace songs unlistenable), this is a strong debut from a band that may become as musically rich as Radiohead's Ok Computer/Kid A period if they mature, avoid mistakes and focus on their strengths.

Report this review (#124837)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
4 stars Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third

Every once in a while one comes across something that immediately knows to captivate you, no matter what that thing is; a car? A new house in some new town? Maybe even a person you've met somewhere? What's most important is to cherish these special moments. Like many other things, this whole metaphor also applies to this extended musical universe. Because it is so easy to obtain music digitally nowadays, people, myself included, tend to pay less attention to what they're actually listening to. So sometimes you listen to something that one of your many MSN Messenger contacts sends you, or a file you accidentally downloaded from the internet or even *and of course this is NOT the 'done thing'* play an album in a record store and you initial response is something along the lines of "Wow!" Well it happened to me on quite a few occasions before and on one of those occasions that specific artist had the pretentious yet promising name "Pure Reason Revolution".

I had heard of the name before, but back then this band was not as big as they are becoming right now (with "The Dark Third" being seen as one of the better albums of 2006) and it was hard to come by samples of their music. So I just 'forgot' all about them and focused my attention to other things instead. But what I did remember of those first mentions of this band was that people seemed to describe their music as a sort of mainstream Pink Floyd and being someone who likes being spaced AND rocked out by music this description sounded very promising!

And then, better late than never, it happened. I received a copy of the "Cautionary Tales for the Brave" mini-album and right from the beginning I knew that I was listening to music of high quality. And the aforementioned description of the music I found most correct. This surely did its job when it came down to spacing as well as rocking me out! And I did not mind that the overtones were more 'rock music' than 'space rock'. it just sounded nice!

So I decided that it was about time for me to discover what secrets the band's full-length debut held in store for this chap. So I tracked down a copy and gave it a go.

Could it live up to the expectations created by the EP? - It surely did, even though this one took a bit more time for me to warm up to its beauty.

The biggest difference between this album, compared to the EP, is that it is less in-your-face from the start. Sure this one most definitely rocks -at times it is even heavier than the songs available on the EP! - but songs like the opening track Aeropause balance that rock aspect out with some typically Floydesque sections. At first I thought it sounded a bit too much like Gilmour's crew, which was not really a good thing, but the further the album progressed and the more I listened to it, the better and seemingly more unique the music began to sound!

I've seen PRR supporting Porcupine Tree on their most recent tour and I couldn't help but noticing a few things. Firstly, they are as good live as they are on CD, but secondly. they tend to lose that atmospheric aspect of their music when they perform live. Mainly because there was no fixed keyboardist present on stage. Once could say that PRR has two different faces: the ethereal, dreamy world of studio and that energetic live body. This album is a good starter, I'm curious what this talented group of young musicians present us next time around.

Report this review (#127164)
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The opening track of this album is both interesting as well as intriguing. It has the charms and sonic character of Pink Floyd and The Alan Parson's Project. The lack of vocals on this first track of 'The Dark Third', Aeropause, really an effective bait for us to wanting more of the music of Pure Reason Revolution. And indeed we are in for an astral ride throughout of the album (no wonder some classify this group as 'astral prog' .. Whatever that means).

Call whatever you like, but PRR serves progressive rock that would intoxicated you. Right doses of Pink Floyd, (vocal harmony of) The Alan Parson's Project or The Beach Boys, (complex composition of) Yes, (modern spacey twist of) Porcupine Tree or even at times hard-edged rock n' roll, this is imaginative, daring yet beautiful. It is safe, however, to say that this group has defined its own unique sound. Apprentice of the Universe, Nimos and Tambos and The Bright Ambassadors of Morning (the title owes to Pingk Floyd's Echoes) are the highlights of the album, but it will not be over exaggerating to say that this is something that you will want to listen to as a whole.

Report this review (#128384)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This seems like one of those classic love/hate albums, and as usual with this scenario, the truth lies somewhere in between. On the one hand, you have the obvious strengths of The Dark Third: very pleasant vocal harmonies, spacey and well-produced atmospheres, and overall catchy melodies. On the other hand, there are notable limitations: little variation in time signatures and rhythms, a certain similar quality (and lack of diversity) for the songs, little to no virtuosic playing, and of course a bit too much repetition. My take is that all this adds up to a decent, yet flawed, album.

Aeropause, Goshen's Remains, Apprentice of the Universe. This trio plays out as one very nice song, and is the highlight of the album for me. Nothing seems forced or contrived, and I commend them for establishing a dreamy yet captivating (read: not boring) soundscape. Aeropause, the spacey instrumental opener, is an excellent way to start things out, and sets up the following tunes quite well. Catchy and ages well.

The Bright Ambassadors of Morning. An obvious reference to Floyd, but not the only one (for example, I find it hard to believe that use of the phrase "lime and limpid" in Apprentice of the Universe is a coincidence). Here is where some flaws emerge. I see what they were trying to do: established a chorus and build back up to a variation on that tune for the climax (certainly a good strategy). Unfortunately, when that chorus is repetitive and even a bit irritating, it falls short: there is over five minutes of vocal rounds simply repeating "the million bright ambassadors of morning/are dawning" on this album, and it took months before this hook didn't contaminate my enjoyment of the rest of the album.

Nimos and Tambos, Bullets Dominae. Two single-type songs that are catchy and well-done.

Voices in Winter, The Intention Craft. Two mini-epics that continue the pattern of pleasant melodies with alternation between faster and mellow sections. By this time, the lack of diversity in music becomes very apparent: it's nice, but I feel I've heard it before (and in my opinion, better in the opening few tracks).

I don't have much exposure to the indie scene, but this album makes a unique and important contribution to my collection. The album art looks a bit amateurish, though it probably enhances the dream theme. The lyrics are almost Anderson-like in nonsensical quality: singing about octopus rides, sun suicides and hearing light neither add nor detract from my enjoyment. All in all, a respectable, yet flawed, effort.

Report this review (#137426)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well that's kinda refreshing! New prog at his best! All killer, no filler... It has a great ambiance, a nice space rock sound mixed with some more heavier parts. It looks like a one-song album, almost.

"The Twyncyn" reminds me of "When The Levee Breaks" by Led Zep with his beat and it ends with a typical Dream Theater feel. "Goshen's Remains" is, IMO, really inspired by "The Turn Of A Friendly Card" by Alan Parsons. It has the same vocal feel and the chorus is very effective. All tracks are pretty good and well done.

It's really a must for Pink Floyd /Dream Theater / Led Zeppelin / Alan Parsons Project / Muse /etc. fans. 5 out of 5

Report this review (#140878)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
4 stars Pure Reason Revolution is a group I have been hearing about constantly for the last year or so. They seem to have been getting a great deal of acclaim from Porcupine Tree fans everywhere. For some reason I never bothered to give them a shot though until recently I thought "isn't it about time?" I started the first track in iTunes through hoping all the talk would be justified (also considering my brand new awesome Creative Soundblaster sound card!) I have to say I was immediately impressed! The sound these guys managed to forge felt like a breath of fresh air and I was not disappointed.

The style of this music left an immediate impression me. Creative, atmospheric, epic, and beautiful, it was everything I hoped it would be. I see clearly now why so many Porcupine Tree fans fell in love with this band, as there is clearly a strong resemblance. Pure Reason Revolution draws a great deal of influence from Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd, but I wouldn't say they're a ripoff band. They hold all the rich textures and harmonies, but blend it with something different. Maybe more of an alternative rock approach? I can't really tell, but it's definately unique.

One of the things I think seperates Pure Reason Revolution from other groups such as PT and PF, are their vocal harmonies. I can never quite tell who the lead singer is as everyone is always working together. There are often 3 vocalists (one female) harmonizing together, or at times switching off. I can't say it's nearly as complex as Gentle Giant's approach to vocals, but it's still a great sound in the modern/alternative prog world. The only problem with this is it is sometimes hard to tell what they are singing about. In my opinion it's never good for a band to sing without making sure they are understood.

Now, there is plenty of positive on this album. Wonderful orchestration and powerful crescendos everywhere you could possibly need one. It sort of feels like a combination of Porcupine Tree and Explosions in the Sky to me. Take the atmospheres and songwriting of PT and give it an extra flavor of EITS's guitar harmonies and intense, dramatic, ear blowing riffs. The production is about as good as anyone could hope for in this digital age. There's plenty of rocking, headbanging moments, haunting atmospheres, and psychedelic passages - indeed a lot to keep me entertained.

So what's negative?

Honestly even though all the songs connect together like they are the same piece the album doesn't feel very cohesive. The first half the album (like the song Aeropause) is very relaxed and spacey. It moves very fluently and makes me feel like I'm sleeping in some nice waves, which is of course a good thing, but on the other hand the second half of the album is the complete opposite. It moves from this calm passive to state to chaotic and climactic progressive metal. This would work a lot better in my opinion if they balanced it more. Include some of the heavy sections in the beginning of the CD and more ambient pieces in the end. If they did this, I don't think the album would feel nearly as exausting as it does by its finish.

Even though the album has a balance problem, it is by no means a dissapointment. There is so much to enjoy here that I can't say this album deserves anything lower than a solid 8/10. The musicianship is just as good as anything PT has had to offer and the song structures are excellently conceived. All in all I have to say this is one of my favorite releases of 2006. The opinion of the PT fans is in fact justified. Definately recommended.

My rating: 8.5/10

Report this review (#146159)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nothing revolutionary, actually ...

What I like most about music is its ability to create something in the air - a fantasy - put some notes, chords, melody and lyrics and interpret the fantasy into stream of music that would flow into listeners' mind. This is what I find with Pure Reason Revolution's "The Dark Third" album. As far as story line, it seems quite bombastic, I would say. But when it comes with the music, I can sense that there is a big gap between what that has been created as fantasy into reality: delivering a great music that supports the fantasy. This is what Pure Reason Revolution (PRR) fails to do, I think. But it's okay if you just try to digest the music as it is and try to label whatever flows into your mind with those kinds of music that you have been familiar so far. Then, what would you get? A bit of Pink Floyd? Radiohead? U2? Porcupine Tree? Well, you can name them. A lot of bands have shared the same style with PRR, I think. Say: RPWL, Sylvan, Carptree, The Later Marillion, etc.

At first spin of the album, I was not quite impressed with the music because there were basically no catchy segments that I could draw as reference point. The music offered by PRR is basically revolving around psychedelic soundscapes with some spacey / ambient nuance. Keyboard is the main instrument to create such ambient as well as psychedelic nuance. Listening to this music, you should turn your amplifier in loud valume in order to get the subtleties of soundscapes. As a mater of comparison, the soundscape created by PRR is somewhat less attractive to Steve Wilson's work in Porcupine Tree. However, this album is quite accessible and enjoyable for most people. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#148672)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars While the band's dreamy soundscapes, heavy melodies, and somewhat formulaic songwriting may not be very groundbreaking-- they are remarkably fun to listen to.

The Dark Third wears its influences on its sleeve and delivers its derivative goods with an exuberance and excitement that rivals their inspirations'. Songs are a mix of epic space-pop, usually with delicate, spacey strings/synth and a few tender vocals which gradually build to powerful, riff-based shout choruses which are immediately catchy and sometimes memorable. Instrumental virtuosity is understated, with no guitar or keyboard solos to speak of, but all members play powerfully during the dramatic stuff, which is mixed into the swirling nebula of textures and tinkling atmosphere effectively. Vocals are somewhat bland, but since there are four different voices in the mix (including the feminine), variety makes up for quality.

While Third Dark will probably not impress fans of hard progressive rock, it will more than likely please younger and crossover fans, maybe even being a progressive gateway band... we all had one after all.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#156824)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Strange animal, this progressive beast! While there are times prog mad fans await the next offering of their favorites with singular trepidation bordering on reverence and immediately put their feelings into a written tribute a la Prog Archives, there are instances when odd events seemingly skew the logic especially when dealing with new unknown talents. Such is the case for Pure Reason Revolution's "The Dark Third", a six month old purchase (mostly due to the nagging influence of fellow PA reviewers) still being mulled and pondered over, still unsure of its position in the Prog pantheon. Having the 2-CD version in my hands only complicates the torment of having to put in words the emanating feelings from this extravagant offering. Is this Prog's future? Is this Pure? Is this Reason? Or is this Revolution? None of the above but it must be said that if the universe is infinite then so is its supreme musical manifestation! Hence, the borders that end here blur with those that begin there, just like good Space-Prog! There are palpable psychedelic Pink Floyd influences exuding from the lyrics, artwork, song titles and some of the more sweeping arrangements, all mixed in with some seriously innovative vocal harmony elements (a still sadly lacking trait in Prog), powerful wall-of-sound rhythm guitars that mesh wondrously with slick electronics and a slight alternative rawness that is most appealing (almost like a proggier Blue Öyster Cult). From the gliding opener "Aeropause" that would stand proud on any Floyd recording, the PRR eloquently conspire to take the listener into a perplexing journey that alternates between bold charm and bewildering musical landscapes that sound both familiar and exalting. The startling "Goshen's Remains" keeps the path steady, with slight hints of a silent lucidity rationalized by some wonderful female vocals, programmed string bridges and interlocking harmonies leading through the colorful "Apprentice of the Universe" and arriving inexorably to the rather radiant piece de resistance and outright classic "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning", where all the seminal characteristics and strengths of this strange group coalesce with utter genius, a 12-minute journey into sheer musical exaltation. This is where it becomes quite apparent that this is a highly collective effort with no musician really standing out solo wise, nevertheless quite obviously led by the classically trained multi-instrumentalist James Dobson on keys, violin, electronics, bass and vocals. The next shimmering nugget is the "Voices in the Air/ In the Realms of the Divine" melancholic mini-suite where once again the vocal work is outright stunning. "Arrival/The Intention Craft" is another powerful tonal envelope that stretches between booming rock parts and smoother vocal partitions. The 13 minute reprise of "He Tried to Show Them Magic/ Ambassadors Return" sweeps the listener back into the spiraling vocal pirouettes that make this band so unique. The second CD offers up some oddly more dissonant pieces that prefer to delve into some darker, more experimental themes bordering on the schizophrenic ("Aurelia" is based on Gerard de Nerval's mid -1800's book of the same name, about the uncertainty of sanity), breezy gothic nonchalance ("Borgens Vor"), jazzy and fragile minimalism ("The Exact Colour") and a mystical, manic contrast laden dirge expressed by "The Twyncyn/ Trembling Willows". The irresistible finale "Golden Clothes" adds a quirky finishing touch to this rather complex maelstrom of modern prog. We are still far from a masterpiece but this is highly impressionistic symphonic space folk group with massively ingenious vocal work that has a very definite future as long as they have continued Pure Reasons to Revolutionize! Their next one will clearly define their position in Progland, once and for all. 4 pink reptiles
Report this review (#157457)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars An interesting alt-rock space rock album that tends more towards the vacuous than the virtuous.

'Aerospace' begins the album with a piece of space-rock fluff, the sort of material STEVEN WILSON would cull from a PORCUPINE TREE album long before the final track selection. There is no hook here, no virtuosity, no impetus, and no point. 'Goshen's Remains' at least has some lyrics, but you're hard pressed to pick them out - and you're certain as you listen that they don't really matter. And you're right: this album is about sound rather than meaning, style rather than substance. The vocal arrangements are perhaps the one consistent highlight of the album, though as other reviewers have noted, they are startlingly repetitive. Annoyingly, the singers deliberately strip any vestige of emotion from their voices, adding to the generic feel of the music. PINK FLOYD worked using emotionless singing because their lyrics were so vitriolic and their music so powerful: sadly, PURE REASON REVOLUTION cannot match FLOYD in either category.

Another song passes by, and we arrive at 'The Bright Ambassadors of Morning' - a title borrowed from a PINK FLOYD lyric ('Echoes'). The band is certainly not hiding their influences! This is the album's centerpiece, and sadly it doesn't have the strength to hold the album together. It so very nearly gets there: the first four minutes suggest something special, but then comes that infamous repetitive lyric. I hate it. The complex vocals can't mask the inanity of the main lyric. I counted once: I think the lyric is repeated something like 140 times on the record. For me this is an album-breaker, something to make me spit the CD out of the player, and I have a high tolerance. Such a shame, given the excellent riffage at the eight minute mark. I could fall in love with this - if only ...

And so it continues. Smooth, so smooth, rarely rising above the level of syrup. 'In the Realms of the Divine' manages to get the listener's attention with its dramatic chords, but why it's grafted on to the banal 'Voices in Winter' is a mystery. On the US version, however, there is a sting in the tail: the last track, 'He Tried to Show them Magic!/Ambassadors Return', is outstanding and worth an extra star. Except, guess what. The dreaded lyric returns ...

There's definitely potential here, if only the band can be persuaded to let go of their formula and inject some passion into their music. I've been listening to their music from the time of their early EPs, and they are becoming more sophisticated, but I find myself still searching unsuccessfully for a point to it all.

Report this review (#162768)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pure Reason Revolution - 'The Dark Third' 4.2 stars

Sit back and relax.

This is a highly controversial band in prog circles and for one, I cannot understand. Possibly controversial to be considered prog or not, but regardless, I think this is great music. Not really a new sound but a unique band through nice samples, production and most importantly, wonderful vocals. While on the subject there are typically three different singers, featuring plenty of vocal harmonies that really makes this band stand out. Included in the vocal pool is Chloe Alper who has a wonderful voice and is a very good bassist. It is pretty rare to find a female vocalist in prog.

These musicians are no virtuosos. They make very simple music driven by deep layers, lush samples and unique vocals. The production job from Paul Northfield is nothing short of amazing, someone who I admire for that field of work. The overall sound is very atmospheric and calm, there is no loud sections or periods of anger in the music with the exception of 'In the Realms of the Divine', just very relaxing and simplistic.

Very few flaws in this work. Not epic by any means but a unique album with a strong sense of flow and consistency is a 4-star rating in my book. I added a little extra because the flaws are all too little. I highly recommended to somebody that wants something different and to relax with.

Report this review (#171682)
Posted Monday, May 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Layers. Building blocks. Textures. A musical melting pot where all the instruments meld into one another to the point that each one can barely be picked out from the others by the discerning listener. And a pretty divisive album/band among critics so do your homework before jumping in.

The Dark Third was one of "those" albums. You know the ones where they are the hot new thing and get a lot of buzz and some early glowing reviews. The one where any self respecting prog-head has to rush to acquire it, lest they be shut out from this new found glory. I got swept up in the buzz and am now the proud owner of a three star album.

This is under crossover here on PA, but I think more space rock or psychedelic. People talk about Porcupine Tree and you do get some of that, but the vocals really differentiate this album form PT. Because on top of the amalgam of melodic noise that the instruments create, PRR goes about the business of vocal harmonization very seriously. Four of the six members are credited with singing and they all get their licks in. But again, it is hard to pick out who is who except the difference between male and female. The instruments all kind of blend together and out pops a melodic stream and then the vocals go on top and create a harmonic stream of their own. It can be quite enjoyable but there isn't a lot of variety so the songs start to all blend together as well. There is precious little in the way of guitar solos or keyboard leads and the production on the drums is weak. It will be interesting to see if the band decides to ride the positive feedback from this album and do more of the same in the future or take some of the constructive criticism and restructure how they go about making music. If there is not a conscientious move to something at least somewhat different, they are going to make the same album over and over.

After reading my review, you would think a three star rating is generous. While dissecting the album leaves it open to many potshots, the end product isn't half bad. Many of the melodies will get stuck in your head and there is talent on display here. They also offer something different from a lot of what I listen to. There is a lot of potential here to move on to greater things and I would think a two star rating is too low, so three it is.

Report this review (#173082)
Posted Thursday, June 5, 2008 | Review Permalink

This relatively new band finally released an album after several singles and EP's. It took them quite a while to achieve it, but here there are!

The music you will discover ranges from Floyd during the opening track "Aeropause" to PT while you listen to "The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning". This is one of the central pieces of the album and it was already available on their good EP "Cautionary Tales for the Brave". Ambient parts are combined with heavier breaks: it is a pretty good combination and should really please any PT fan.

Melodic and atmospheric tracks are not forgotten. "The Exact Colour" is probably not my fave from this album: mellowish and childish are the major characteristics. This tranquil mood is also conveyed during the next track: "Voices In The Winter/In The Realms Of The Divine", but only during the first part. The rhythm seriously catches up during "The Realms". It was necessary.

The comparison with PT is at times somewhat disturbing. "Bullits Dominae" is another track that is too close from their model IMO. At this time, I would say that their work is turning derivative. These songs are fine but I would have expected some more personality. The closing part could have been featured on a "Mostly Autumn" album as well. Fine music indeed.

Vocal harmonies are particularly crafted throughout this album. The band goes on with another dual song. I'm not really enthusiast about their habit though. These parts are usually not working with one another. It is again experienced with "The Twyncyn - Trembling Willows" which is half melodic - half metal (the latter part reminds me "Garbage" an awful lot).

This is an encouraging debut but I wonder why they are consider as the next jewel of prog music. They don't sound very much original as far as I am concerned. Their second album (which should come out soon) will be a serious challenge. Either they remain a clone band or they move ahead. Let's hope they opt for the best option.

Three stars.

Report this review (#183069)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even though this album seems to draw in a lot of hype, I really only find it to be an average record.

If you look through the reviews on this site, you'll see two names very frequently: Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. While I hate to namedrop in a review, there is no denying the truth here. This album sounds like something written to sound like Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. I also find the music rather reminiscent of Riverside, though that is less obvious as an inspiration. But if you really like all of those bands, chances are you'll enjoy this one, too.

Pure Reason Revolution toys with a lot of psychedelic feel, as seen in the opening track Aeropause, but throughout most of the album, we have progressive rock with thick keyboards, a few long songs, some moments of exciting, fast-paced music, some slow bits, and some odd noises thrown in there. The lyrics (those not based off Pink Floyd lyrics) contain the usual prog rock sort of high-handed pretense, though I am not at all against that sort of thing. The production sounds pretty nice, I must admit, and some of the keyboard samples really do cut it as far as keyboard samples go.

The vocals, both the male and the female, are somewhere at par or above. The real upside to this band--in truth the reason I enjoy them very much at all--is the quality of the vocal harmonies. Taking a page from Porcupine Tree, Pure Reason Revolution combines mildly progressive rock with a wall of voices. This is the band's true strength, and the reason that while I do not consider them a great band, I recommend that you check out some of their stuff. The melodies themselves aren't bad, either.

In all, fun, but not very special.

Report this review (#184215)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars As many other reviews have already mentioned, this is a band with a sound comparable to Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. I don't really want to spend a whole lot of time on that though, so I'll let each person who listens to PRR be the judge of how much of an influence both have in this record.

Overall I was surprised to find this an enjoyable listen. I'd heard mentions of the band's name before I discovered them on this site and always thought of them as another quasi-psychedelic indie rock band. I was half right. They do have some indie leanings, but they also have plenty of progressive leanings that should delight listeners of both areas of music. Of course, there is the obvious Floyd influence found in the use of very atmospheric and dreamy keyboards and Porcupine Tree mixed with some Beach Boys in the use of vocal harmonies. The keyboards are noticeable almost immediately in the opening track, Aeropause. For anyone who questions the prog credentials of this band, the fact that the band is on an indie label means nothing to me other than them wanting more creative control of their music, and how often would an indie band bother to release an almost 12 minute single? Speaking of which, that song, The Bright Ambassadors of Morning, is a line taken from Pink Floyd's Echoes, which also happens to be the track I'm listening to as I write this review. It's a good mix of the type of soundscape one would expect from a longer Pink Floyd song mixed with some heavier rocking. I like the contrast between the male vocals and Chloe's voice. I also enjoy the way the last track makes a reprise back to this song.

All in all, I would rank this album as 4 stars for myself, but for this site, I unfortunately have to give it 3 stars. Although I feel I can add an extra half a star because I see a band with great potential in this album. Strong yet contrasting vocal harmonies are one of this band's strongest points. If the thought of that and dreamy psychedelia intrigues you, get this album. However this probably isn't something every prog fan will enjoy.

Report this review (#198358)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Despite what several critics have said, I don't see many elements of Pink Floyd (or psychedelic / space rock, for that matter) in this music at all. The sound is more or less a blend of contemporary rock and elegant blankets of vocals, with generous dashes of electronic music. It is rare that I find a band so full of grace in their music, and I am pleased every time I listen to it. The showmanship is kept tastefully minimal, as the band prefers to blend rather than exhibit the talents of the individual musicians, which is to say, one will not find much in the way of guitar or keyboard solos here. The tone spans from quiet and drowsy to hard-hitting. The title of the album refers to the third of our lives we spend sleeping. The music is deliberately repetitive in places, incorporating elements of trance music. The vocals are the strongest aspect of this album, with an abundance of counterpoint melodies and unforgettable tunes. Perhaps the only negative thing about this album is that by the time the sixth or seventh track rolls around, the listener may be bored with the same sound; it is true that this album retains virtually no variety whatsoever. That, in my opinion, is made up for by the stellar sound that makes this album stand out as a wonder of contemporary music. This review is with respect to the US release.

"Aeropause" Urbane rock music with a driving beat, clean guitars that echo in the background (calling forth the melody of the next piece), and slide guitar that sings like a siren make up the introductory instrumental.

"Goshen's Remains" The preceding instrumental flows directly into the first vocal track. Chloe Alper has a mesmerizing voice, and the vocal melody here is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the sophisticated layers of vocals and counterpoint Pure Reason Revolution brings. Electronic percussion is an important aspect of the song, and a sweet violin makes a brief appearance.

"Apprentice of the Universe" An electronic passage from the previous song brings the listener to the third track. This time, Jon Courtney handles the lead vocals. As with before, the melody is memorable after only one listen, and this is a highly satisfying track.

"The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" From the previous song flows this extended masterpiece. The hauntingly delicate voice of Alper calls out, and the instrumentation is evocative of Celtic music, most notably that Loreena McKennitt ("The Mummer's Dance" comes to mind). After the introductory music comes to a close, the song proper begins, and is the heaviest moment so far, but still embellishes the sound (again, with layers of voices) with electronic sounds. A repeated pair of lines serves as the basis for the rest of the musicians and vocalists to build over. The repetitive instrumental section in the middle is similar in flavor to the "Wurm" section of Yes's "Starship Trooper." The band returns to heavy rock for the finale of the song, but does not end it without returning to the refrain or bringing the listener back to the haunting voice from before.

"Nimos and Tambos" Over a steady beat, guitar and vocals work with each other to give the impression that the listener is in for a pop track; this is not so. While the music is somewhat more accessible, it is no less sophisticated than anything that has come before.

"Voices in Winter / In The Realms of the Divine" Similar to the first track, clean electric guitar and slide guitar perform in tandem to introduce the soft vocals, the male voice more prominent than the female. As always, the vocal melody ingrains itself on the hearer's memory after only one listen. While the songs are merged together on one track, there is a clear distinction between them. This is by far the heaviest thing on this album, with raging guitar and screeching violin.

"Bullitts Dominć" Tasteful guitar and organ, and soon electronic drums, serve as the basis for the verses. The chorus (again displaying Alper's glorious vocals) is decidedly heavier.

"Arrival / The Intention Craft" Another compound track features droning guitar and melodic electronic sounds. The growling bass works well on this heavy track. Again, the vocal harmonies are phenomenal, and there is some call-and-response business that serves as the chorus. The last minute offers some refreshing variety, with some sedated piano and voices.

"He Tried to Show Them Magic! / Ambassadors Return" Immediate vocals kick off the final and longest song. Gritty guitar dominates the music, and the vocal refrain from "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" makes a reappearance. The almost metallic aspect departs for a while, leaving the listener with a drifting violin and piano segment, which fade away to usher in the final, hidden song (that appears after five minutes of silence).

"Asleep Under Eiderdown" The hidden song, while displaying little variance from all that came before, does mildly incorporate some mellow jazz elements. Otherwise, it's a simple song, but nothing so special as to require a five minute prelude of silence.

Report this review (#203741)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars For those of you hearing about this band for the first time, *this* is the album to buy to preview their music. In fact, I must suggest that this is the *only* Pure Reason Revolution album to buy as you will likely be disappointed with their album Amor Vincit Omnia. After listening to The Dark Third a couple times, you might think, I would like more PRR. I will go out and buy their latest album! As of March 25th 2009 when I am writing this, that is a bad idea.

Q. IS THIS ALBUM PROGRESSIVE? A. Absolutely. There are some naysayers who don't classify this album as Prog because there is a lack of odd time signatures in all but one song. Is that what Progressive music comes down to? Odd time signatures? Yes, Prog often makes usage of odd time signatures; but by no means is that how it is defined. The composition of The Dark Third screams Progressive. I even have trouble listening to just one song. This is a start-at-track-one album, much like Dream Theater's Scenes From A Memory. It will take you on a journey in more than one way, as you drive out of your way in order to hear the entire album in your car.

Q. WHAT DO I DO IF I LIKED THIS ALBUM AND WANT MORE? A. Pure Reason Revolution has a myspace account. You might want to go there and tell them how much you loved The Dark Third and ask them to return to this genre. I'm not suggesting spamming, just be sure to let the band know what it's fans like and what they don't like.

Q. WHY SHOULD I BUY THIS ALBUM? A. Well, I cannot recommend this album to everyone, naturally. There are some who do not enjoy Progressive music... then again, why would they be on This is a good album for those who love the composition of albums like Dream Theater's Scenes From A Memory, Porcupine Tree's In Absentia or Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness. Gapless playback, spacey instrumentals mixed with electronics and heavenly harmonization are likely to be key parts of this album that will help you to get lost in the music. The vocals at the beginning of The Bright Ambassadors of Morning will have you shamelessly singing at the top of your lungs. Pink Floyd fans might even recognize the phrase the bright ambassadors of morning from the song Echoes.

So, why buy this album? Because you will be doing a huge disservice to yourself if you miss this album. It is an absolute essential.

Report this review (#208705)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars This was one of my first reviews and I remember that I was impressed and excited about this album and expressed that I had a lot of hope for this band. I have become quite familiar with this album since then and still enjoy it and hold with my 4 star rating. Unfortunately, their other albums did not hold up as well because of the bands attempt to approach a more electronic pop sound which was a real shame. But, these things happen. At least we got one great album from them.

Impressive band that continues to show a lot of promise. They are definately inspired by Pink Floyd and they are not afraid to make that known as they use Floydian elements and even lyrics (A Million Bright Ambassadors of Morning repeated several times throughout which comes from Pink Floyd's masterwork "Echoes"). I love the very full vocal sound here which sounds like a chorus of all of their members, both male and female, singing together and it works nicely. The instrumentals shine, especially in the opening track, and I must say the first time I put this CD and heard the opening track, I was very excited! By the second track, this excitement did wane somewhat, but there are plently of highlights abundantly scattered throughout this album. This band is not a total rip-off of Pink Floyd because they do have a sound of their own. But the music has that tone and feeling that you get with Floyd music from Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. The best way to listen to this album is by giving it a lot of attention and sitting back and letting it take you away. There are some weaknesses here throughout the vocals and the music and it does tend to the cheesy side from time to time, but not enough to be annoying. Definately a band that shows a lot of promise. I have not listened to their latest album all the way through, but I have heard some of the songs from the album and it sounds like their sound may have been tightened somewhat which is what was needed. Hopefully I will be able to listen to the new album soon and really concentrate on it, but until then, I must say that overall, I do like this album and would recommend it to anyone looking for more music on the mellow side of prog. But don't worry, there are plenty of nice and impressive instrumentals here. Give it a try. Not essential, but there should be more proggers listening to this band for sure.

Report this review (#275902)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The story of how I got this album is actually quite funny.

I was in HMV, and saw this album; the cover art looked really interesting so I picked it up. There was one of those promotional stickers on it, saying they were the next Pink Floyd.

I wasn't too indulgent with that whole promotion, but I liked the look of it. They obviously were going to be progressively influenced or at least be a progressive band. The only problem was that they could have been one of those stupid indie bands that say they are progressive in order to make them sell more albums. So I took a gamble, a gamble I will never regret.

I think that this album was one of those albums that was found on an rock and thrown down at humanity as a gift from the Gods. Yes it is that good.

This album has to be one of the greatest albums I have ever heard (if not in the top 5, then definitely in the top 10). It's just perfect in so many ways, with some of the greatest layered vocals I have ever heard.

The lyrics of the album are quite weird, but I think that there is a more interpretational concept based around it.

The song writing and the song presentation is just amazing, with every song having it's own catchy hooks or personal features. This band I hope will make music like this for a very long time.

And this was their first album!!!

1. Aeropause - A very atmospheric Pink Floyd like instrumental. All the albums themes are present and presented very well.

2. Goshen's Remains - An amazing song with some amazing layered vocals. The chorus is also very amazing. What a song to introduce the album.

3. Apprentice Of The Universe - Quite slow and calm. The chorus is quite catchy. One of the weaker songs (if this was on any other album it would have been the highlight)

4. The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning - What a mammoth. The introduction is very Pink Floyd, with what I believe to be some samples of noise from Echoes. When the vocals come in, the song comes into fruition with some of the best examples of counterpoint I have ever heard. The chorus, which is made very interesting with the use of counterpoint, has an amazing build up. The main riff at about 8 minutes is probably one of the most kick ass riffs ever and the violin really adds to the impact. The end section again has some amazing counterpoint moments. This song basically envisions counterpoint. One of the best pieces of music I have ever heard.

5. The Exact Colour - A very lovely ballad song with some amazing piano parts and some great vocals.

6. Voices In Winter/In The Realms Of The Divine - An amazing split song. Voices In Winter is quite slow and The Realms Of The Divine has more of a rock like tone. Amazing.

7. Bullitts Dominć - One of the most perfect songs I have ever heard. The vocals in this song, counterpoint obviously, are some of the best I have ever heard, the chorus is amazing and the song just has a beautiful following tone.

8. The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows - The Twyncyn is the more slow prog like song and the end section is amazing. Trembling Willows is the most kick ass part of the album. This song has the most fast sung vocals ever. The chorus is also amazing.

9. He Tried To Show Them Magic!/Ambassadors Return - The first section is more of an introduction but I was pleased to hear the ambassadors theme repeated and verified. What a way to end the album.

CONCLUSION: Left on a rock by Gods, how can you not love it. If you haven't heard this band, you really need to check them out, pure wizadry.

Report this review (#277751)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Dark Third took me by complete surprise. The second "new" progressive rock CD I purchased based on prog reviews/ratings, it immediately won me over and continues to grow on me almost a year later. I know I'm going to rate it even higher today than I would have done when I first got it. The vocal harmonies, unexpected song twists, melodic compositions, and kind of "concept album" feel to it make it a total winner.

I. "Aeropause." An absolutely stunning opening song (instrumental). It is quite obviously reminiscent of early Floyd, but who couldn't use a little more of that classic pedal steel? Drums are a bit murky (as they are throughout the CD). My only real complaint about this song: I wish it would go on longer! (10/10)

II. "Goshen's Remains." Begins with Chloe Alper's pleasant vocals and as a rather straightforward rock song before dropping into a pretty string interlude before then ending with the exceptionally constructed and mixed multi-voiced harmonies that make this group and album unlike anything I've heard in the 21st Century. (8/10)

III. "Apprentice of the Universe." Is filled with those amazing four or five-part harmonies. I don't know or care what they're saying, it's just extraordinary--adds so much more to the music (which has some "light" electric guitar power chords and dancing synthesizers bouncing around behind the voices). (10/10)

IV. "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" spans 12 minutes with some wonderful sections: slow and spacey, lots of instrumental, soaring five-part harmonies, a very catchy chorus repeat woven into a very well-crafted (a la "Close to the Edge") current of four other verbal streams before settling into a very catchy instrumental section (bass-led!). These guys know how to weave fairly simple melody lines with both their voices and their instruments to create some very engaging, pleasing, and commendable music! The sections with "heavy" guitar-bass-drum rhythms are so watered down, never really abrasive or over the top--not even up to Porcupine Tree levels of "heavy" symphonic prog. I love the way certain themes--melodic, verbal, or harmonic--crop up in unexpected places throughout the album--truly giving this album a "concept" feel. (9/10)

V. "Nimos & Tambos." A great three-section song with driving music behind the harmonized chorus parts. Again, too short! (8/10)

VI. Is actually two songs in one: I. "Voices in the Winter," II. "In the Realms of the Divine." The first has a very familiar sound/feel but I haven't been able to place it. Filled, of course, with the wonderful vocal weaves--this time mostly male dominated, Chloe mostly backing with "ooo's." It really is dominated by the vocals, the instrumentals almost being incidental though they are very present. The second song, about two minutes long, starts out kind of Kronos Quartet meets Black Sabbath before the voices start singing to each other, repeating each other's message, then bag! It's over. Strange. Never quite lets you get to engage. (8/10)

VII. "Bullits Dominae." Is probably the least engaging song, almost Beatles Eleanor Rigby" or Abbey Road for the first two minutes, until Chloe takes the lead over the metal rhythm section. (6/10)

VIII. Is actually two songs in one: I. "Arrival," II. "The Intention Craft." Has a very Floydian feel to the instrumental intro before turning heavy, with some accompanying strings and great synths dancing around in the background (sometimes too far back there). Some of the album's best bass and lead guitar work coupled with a great reprise of the conversation harmonies and melodies from "The Bright Ambassadors." This is definitely the peak performance of the album--they put it all out there with their most energy, best timing, best precision, great vocal work--it all mixes so well. IT REALLY WORKS!! Floyd meets meets Art of Noise meets PT, meets and yet it's all so new, so unusual, so fresh, so unpredictable, so intriguing. (9/10)

IX. Is actually two songs in one: 1. "He Tried to Show them Magic," and II. "Ambassadors Return." Rush: it opens with an intricate vocal weave (harmonied and multi-voiced, of course), which slows into an even more intricate weave of at least five layers of harmonied lines. Who compared these guys to Beach Boys, The Reasoning or Mostly Autumn? Those groups can't hold a candle to Pure Reason Revolution! Love the "get the Led out" riffs 3:30 into the song. Just before they reveal the meaning of The Dark Third in the "he showed them magic" lyric. And then, 5:15 into the song: fade and BLANK. There's a bizarre five minute gap of absolute silence (!!) before some bells and harmonized "Ahh's" bring us back to the 60s. (Is this the Beach Boys? Where's Chloe? How did they get the Wilson boys to do this!?) Bizarre! Mysterious! Off the wall! What the heck! Let's play it again!! (8/10)

Overall 76/90 = 86% but one weak song will not a modern prog classic ruin! Especially one that offers such a fresh and unusual gift: unparalleled vocal harmonies. The Dark Third is firmly established in my Top 20 Favorite Albums of the Naughties.

Five Stars: Essential for the education, edification and collection of any prog lover!

Report this review (#284719)
Posted Thursday, June 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was recommended this album by a friend of mine based on my interest in Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Pink Floyd and the likes. The immediate first impression as soon as the first song starts is good, but also heavily influenced. Expect a lot of familiar parts and sounds. But this is not a criticism, I have always been fine with showing your influences as long as you use them to develop your sound and have solid music to show for it. The melodies are strong in this album, while some guitar parts are quite derivative and tend to recur a bit too many times, its not hard to understand why they do so once you listen to the album.

My only problem is as some other reviewers mentioned, how some songs seem to go nowhere, and tend to be overly repetitive with a single line being repeated several times without really building up to anything else, this is where this band should take some lessons from other succesful prog bands. Immediately drawing a connection to say Fear of a Blank Planet by Porcupine Tree, the way a song like Anesthetize evolves into several sections and sub-sections while maintaining the overall theme and still allowing PT to play the middle section of the song alone in a show without sounding out of place is where genius lies, these guys arent quite there yet, but they certainly have potential.

Definitely a good album, but it can get tiring pretty quickly. If you are the type who can ignore lines being repeated over and over again and some really good music in between, you will enjoy it quite a bit, I for one cannot listen to The Bright ambassadors of Morning anymore even though it has some redeemable qualities in between. Four stars for a commendable effort and for executing music with heavy influence without sounding like a complete rip off, dropped one star for lack of "progression".

Report this review (#285773)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The Dark Third was one of my favourite albums from 2007. PRR is a young British band evoking the lush spacey sound of PF's Dark Side and Meddle, but they didn't content themselves with just quoting PF. No, they like the Beach Boys as well, and the partly male, partly female vocal harmonies gave them a very unique and instantly recognizable sound.

The opening instrumental Aeropause simply screams Pink Floyd, but it is done so well and inspired that it brings back the greatness of early Porcupine Tree. It flows into Goshen's Remains which immediately shows the band has more on offer then cloning Pink Floyd. Not only can they write memorable hooks, with their rich vocals they have an undeniable quality on offer.

PRR amply integrate indie rock into their sound. The pleasant dreamy vocals and bubble-gum melodies of Apprentice of the Universe fit in nicely in the Britpop traditions of the 90's. A first real progressive attempt is made on The Bright Ambassadors of Morning, a quote from PF that is repeated a bit too much really. The song is rather disjointed but still pleases me a lot.

To make things confusing, there are two very different versions of this album. The US version substitutes the average ballad The Exact Colour for a nice upbeat rocker Nimos and Tambos, but sacrifices the sublime Twyncyn for the rather forgettable Intention Craft. A weird choice, especially given how the Zeppelin-esque epic Twyncyn is the album's highlight and worth getting the album for just by itself.

The Dark Third is an excellent album that could serve as a good introduction to progressive rock for anyone with a Britpop affection. But to reach masterpiece standing, the band still needs to learn more restraint and avoid showing off all of their abilities and harmonic tricks in each and every song. 3.5 stars for the US version, 4 for the UK version.

Report this review (#287420)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Listening this album again reminded me why I was so disappointed with PURE REASON REVOLUTION a couple of years later with their next albums.

The Dark Third shows a band that can build gorgeous vocal harmonies with hypnotic music in a Space Rock enviroment and that they could blend Alternative Rock and Progressive Rock with no difficult at all. This album is just fantastic, beginning to end, and makes me feel ecstasy and joy.

It was so frustrating to listen to their later albums Amor Vincit Omnia and Hammer and Anvil and their Pop/Electronic/Electro Rock approach. I guess they knew that as well and ended the band right after the last mentioned album.

Report this review (#288226)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a real treat. THE DARK THIRD might not be the most upbeat thing, but there's a certain charm to it. It kind of answers the question, ''What if Nirvana and Pink Floyd mated and gave birth?'' Add in some good production, a few trip-hop elements and Jon Anderson lyrical nonsense and you've essentially achieved Pure Reason Revolution.

The music at the beginning can be rather sedated. The two opening numbers plus the big epic in ''The Bright Ambassadors of Morning'' never really spike it on the volume, but all are delicately crafted pieces of alt/psych/prog. The heavier moments are more of my interests such as ''Nimbos and Tambos'', but all of those types of songs have more subdued, luscious moments like the volume contrasts between the verses and choruses of ''The Masters Apprentices''.

It's all fun prog n roll, but THE DARK THIRD gets old even before the album ends. ''He Tried to Show Them Magic'' suffers in quality simply because it lies at the end of the album, and I tend to suffer exhaustion at that point. Strange because the best track, ''The Intention Craft'' comes immediately before this and has the best of everything the album has to offer with a great, airy ending. It's a unique form of prog that will turn off any detractors of alternative rock or those that want more technical solo stuffs. This is purely melody and atmosphere driven, and it works well because of it.

Report this review (#288894)
Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Considering the seemingly endless wave of lamentably unoriginal bands emanating from the UK, Pure Reason Revolution represent a musical salvation of sorts.

Here we have what many broadly pigeonhole as 'New Prog', yet PRR's influences noticeably branch out beyond Pink Floyd and other space rock luminaries. The band's masterfully arranged vocal harmonics draw perceptible inspiration from The Beach Boys; whilst their powerful use of the mellow verse/abrasive chorus dynamic is clearly influenced by the likes of Pixies and Nirvana.

On paper, this does appear to be a curious mix, however on 'The Dark Third', PRR have arranged their songs so meticulously, it's impossible not to be impressed by their ability to coalesce so many different styles with efficacy.

The most immediate songs here are 'Goshen's Remains', with its beautiful intertwining vocals and addictively spacey ambience. Then there's 'Bullitts Dominć', displaying the Pixies/Nirvana dynamics, whilst brilliantly imbuing them with a slightly précised incarnation of Prog pomp, as can be extrapolated from the song's title! The immediacy of these tracks is largely ascribable to their musically laconic nature, especially by Prog standards. Conversely, this also serves as their Achilles heel, as this lack of musical depth cripples tracks like 'Goshen's Remains' and 'Aeropause' with a lack of longevity, summarily rendering them drab and prosaic.

Contrastingly, some of the real gems here lurk inconspicuously upon initial listens. Personally, the 12-minute astral epic, 'The Bright Ambassadors of Morning' was originally underwhelming; however, with persistent listening, it has probably become my favourite PRR track. Similarly, 'He Tried to Show Them Magic! / Ambassadors Return', is another grower, but one that merits the effort.

Overall, there are one or two tracks which perhaps meander without a discernible purpose ('Voices in Winter / In the Realms of the Divine', for instance), however 'The Dark Third' is never completely laborious - there's always something to keep you interested. Some of the album's detractors have pointed to the band's lack of musical virtuosity, and this is accurate to a certain extent, though not necessarily a disappointment, especially as the song arrangements are generally very tight. In terms of musical proficiency, I'd place PRR closer to Hawkwind than Pink Floyd, though in terms of enjoyment, 'The Dark Third' is satisfyingly analogous to the latter, even if it struggles to muster the long-term viability Floyd albums seem to provide with contemptuous ease.

Report this review (#421022)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Some albums grow on you over time, despite not impressing you at first; Pure Reason Revolution's The Dark Third is an album which has shrunk on me. I quite enjoyed it when it first came out and considered it a highlight of the New Prog trend that was causing a number of highly original and novel acts to come out of the woodwork. Pure Reason Revolution's musical approach on this album seems to consist of working in sly Pink Floyd references to otherwise uninteresting and underdeveloped songs. The nadir of the album is probably the tedious and repetitive The Bright Ambassadors of Morning, on which Pure Reason Revolution reveal that their idea of "prog" is loudly repeating a distinctive snippet from the lyrics of Pink Floyd's Echoes over and over again until the listener is sick of it. A bit of a shambles, truth be told.
Report this review (#707494)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars With so many bands in this sixth decade of progressive rock choosing to rework the classic approach of the great bands of the seventies, it's often not easy to imagine how a modern progressive band should sound. The neo-prog movement was noted for generally more pop infused songs that still left room for the complexities of prog rock compositions. The revival in the nineties was a look back to the seventies mostly, and most bands assembled components of Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, ELP, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd in varying degrees depending on their preferences.

Certainly the new player for the nineties would have been electronic music, which by this time had come a long way both in scope of sound and ease of reproducibility. Along with that, many artists became associated with the prog label not because they were trying to write difficult, classical and jazz influenced compositions but rather because they were attempting to do something new with popular music, even if that meant simplifying the playing style.

Pure Reason Revolution's debut fits the bill as one of the modern approaches to popular music that goes beyond the standard radio format without attempting challenging and overly complex songs. The strength of their music here lies in four aspects: the effective use of male and female vocalists; the use of electronica to create atmosphere and at times haunting melodies; the Pink Floyd derivative guitar playing with additional reverb and delay; the tendency to rock out with heavy guitars when necessary.

As the music on the album is very cohesive and consistent, there's little point in breaking it down song by song. What you can expect are slow, post rock jangley guitar melodies that suggest Radio Head / Porcupine Tree moments; electronic music that might remind you of Ozric Tentacles without the eastern influences; choir vocals for aethereal effect or one vocalist repeating a line or two as the rhythm melody while others sing different lyrics over top as lead melodies, or vice versa; drums that sometimes hold a steady beat, introduce rhythm changes with sudden bursts, and drums that abruptly stop and leave you hanging with a melancholy jangley guitar melody; and sections of beautiful vocal melodies sung over an all-out heavy rock guitar riff.

I don't mean to say that each song combines all these elements and simply the permutations provide distinction between songs. And the band are keen enough to add piano, strings, cello, and other guest instruments on individual tracks. But you are quite likely to feel that the whole album is a kind of dreamy voyage with moments of near white- knuckle intensity like a trip across the clouds with roller coaster drops along the way. That the songs mostly segue one into the next only enhances this impression of continuity.

The Inside Out reissue I bought includes all the songs from the original American release, plus a second disc of material that appeared on the original UK release. There's a slight difference I feel between the material on the two discs, perhaps similar to how there's a difference between the material on IQ's "Road of Bones" disc one and disc two. It's the same band and the same instrumentation but somehow different. In any case, I am glad to have this second disc because I enjoy it as much as the first.

It's difficult to pull just a couple of tracks out to highlight since I can listen to the album from start to finish; however "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" has some terrific moments, and "Bullits Dominae" has a wonderful vocal melody and concludes with a powerful delivery of rock guitar and strings.

This may not be what everyone thinks of as progressive rock as it lacks the musical complexity of the symphonic bands and no one comes across as a virtuoso. But I find PRR's combination of pop, rock, atmospheric rock, and electronica an well balanced blend.

Report this review (#1254439)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
The Crow
5 stars This review is about the double CD edition of The Dark Third, which includes a lot of material from other EP's of the band in addition to the nine tracks that the album originally had on its British launch!

But on its first years of life, Pure Reason Revolution released some EP's before making their first full length called The Dark Third. And this EP's were much in the vein of their debut, so it makes sense that some of these tracks are included in the double CD edition, because the original was some kind of EP's compilation anyway back then.

And what can we find here? In my opinion The Dark Third is one of the best British prog-rock albums of the last decade, with tremendously catchy space-psychedelic-heavy prog songs which deserve to be enjoyed multiple times. The voice of Jon Courtney is perfectly intertwined with the Chloe Alper one, making the vocals of the album really attractive and immediately enjoyable, just like the marvelous guitars and fine rhythmic base.

The songwriting is also outstanding, mixing wisely strong riffs with pure atmospheric prog, much in the vein of Porcupine Tree, that's true, but with enough original elements to give the music of Pure Reason Revolution a unique personality. And the Lyrics? Pure beautiful craziness!

Best Tracks: I really enjoy every song included here! But maybe In Aurelia is my favorite one.

Conclusion: The Dark Third was some kind of compilation of previous EP's of the band along a pair of new songs, and the double CD edition of the album is more of the same. But that's marvelous, because the quality of this first stage of the band was just outstanding and even in the form of a double CD it never gets boring.

Maybe is not the most original band on earth, because they clearly take elements of acts like Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. But I find The Dark Third so awesome that I muss rate it with five solid stars!

My rating: *****

Report this review (#2077291)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Review Permalink

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