Hailing from Reading, Hammer And Anvil is the third album from Pure Reason Revolution. Starting out as a predominantly guitar-based prog band, a few line-up changes later and the different influences have predominantly crept into the band's sound. The second album saw them not so much dip their toes, as much as dive in head first, to more electronic surroundings. Now, what does the band have in store for us this time around?

'Blitzkrieg' is a very industrial start to the album, with its synth-heavy 65dos vibe and the surprisingly aggressive vocal tones of Chloe Alper demanding that we tell her: "What makes you think that you are right?" and "What makes you think you are better?". A brutal start to the album, it demands your attention. The last couple of minutes are like an air raid coming down on an illegal rave. Former member of The Cooper Temple Clause, Tom Bellamy, both co-wrote and co-produced the album and you can hear his influence shining through already. You're told in no uncertain terms to 'fight fire with fire', with the band neatly pre-referencing a song that will come on later. 'Black Mourning' has a calmer start, but this doesn't last long - it is still dance-orientated but there is melody with the keys much more prominent. As on the opener, the lyrics are direct: 'You sell the vision', and the harmonies at the end are just sumptuous. 'Patriarch' has dual vocals throughout and is a song that could cause an outbreak of dancing or moshing at any venue, with its Primal Scream-like fusing of dance and rock. It also has that hint of prog that the band used to excel in, and is kind of Kraftwerk-like in its progression.

The aforementioned 'Fight Fire' would also be perfect soundtracking a club with its brand of electronica-led hard rock, but PRR lose sight of an actual song, something lesser bands sometimes do. 'Over The Top' samples the introduction of a story about a woman and a man, and starts off with an experimental Gold Panda fee, and does sound more like a DJ than a full band. Not an easy listen, but a worthwhile one, especially when halfway through it takes a surprisingly straightforward piano-led turn, with Jon Courtney and Chloe's vocals accompanying it in sinister fashion. The sample than comes back, and for all intents it sounds like the track is ready to explode into a dancefloor classic. But they pull the plug just as things start to get going. It works so well. Especially as immediately after it is the penultimate, seven-minute centrepiece track of the album, 'Open Insurrection'. All post-rock and swirling guitar work at first, distorted vocals enter the fray and the experimentation comes out in force. The song sounds huge, with intense noise whirring away under low singing. A gentle piano closes it in great contrast to the anarchy that has come before.

'Armistice' finishes the album in dreamy pop style, and is the most "pop" sounding song on the album, a song that would fit in as well alongside your Crystal Castles CD as it would old Pink Floyd albums. The piano breakdown is particularly heart-warming. In the final 2 minutes they go all out for a big prog ending, followed by a closing interlude of just vocals and keys. A band with grand ideas and a lot of influences, they manage to merge these together to create something quite inimitable.

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