By Michael Walsh / Asst. Entertainment Editor
Progressive rock isn’t an easy genre to love these days. It’s hard not to get too cynical about the state of music with the way the mainstream record business is run and handled. That’s why when I first heard British band Pure Reason Revolution’s debut album The Dark Third I was absolutely blown away by the band.
The Dark Third still ranks among my favorite albums of the last few years. It’s progressive rock the way it should be. It came as no surprise that the album was produced by Paul Northfield, a man who has worked with progressive rock giants such as Rush, Porcupine Tree and Gentle Giant.
Initial thoughts on Amor Vincit Omnia, the personally long-awaited release, consisted of the differences between this new album and the bands first effort. Still progressive but experimental as ever as the band fuses more electronic sounds into the mix. The Dark Third is an album that would be hard to live up to and while Amor Vincit Omnia doesn’t quite do that, it’s still an admirable sophomore album.
The band’s lack of fear to change sits high in my book. Its something I typically admire in artists. Those who aren’t afraid to change what their fans originally loved, show the music is as much for them as it is to make money. I personally think the band is at its best when utilizing its progressive rock background, but I can respect the change.
Amor Vincit Omnia is led by the track “Deus Ex Machina”. Funny thing is, I’ve had heard this track before, as it had been in work for awhile and was included on their 2007 live album. It’s a throttling and intense track complete with the bands unique vocal styling of soaring choruses and repeated lines from the bands two main singers, Chloë Alper and Jon Courtney.
The weakest song the album is aptly titled “Disconnect” as it comes as being a huge disconnect from the style of music that makes Pure Reason Revolution as good as they are. This is as electronic as their music gets on their album and it proves to be a bad thing. The song isn’t awful, but it feels out of place and unnatural for the group.
Change can be both good and bad. Amor Vincit Omnia is a good effort from this up and coming progressive rock band. Anyone looking for that next great progressive rock band shouldn’t look too much further past this group.