Pristine - 'Road Back To Ruin'

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Pristine - 'Road Back To Ruin'

A truly stellar collection.

A Norwegian female-fronted Hard Rock act based around the talents of Heidi Solheim, Pristine play Classic Rock and first came onto the scene with their debut album 'Detoxing' in 2011. 'Road Back To Ruin' is their fifth release and it really comes out swinging as soon as you press play with the thunderous 'Sinnerman' hitting you right between the eyes. The powerful, accent-free vocals of Solheim are an immediate and obvious high point, and she proves her value on the following Led Zeppelin-influenced title-track which comes complete with John Bonham-esque drums.

Supplementing the band of Espen Elverum Jacobsen (guitars), Gustav Eidsvik (bass) and Ottar Tøllefsen (drums) are Anders Oskal and Hansi Enzensperger who contribute Hammond Organ work which naturally adds a Deep Purple influence to the proceedings that is most welcome.

'Landslide' is one of my favourites with its jangly guitar work adding a different dimension to the material on offer, but if it's variation you want you would do well to investigate the epic 'Blind Spot' which meshes a Middle Eastern flavour into the Hard Rock sound. Failing that, give 'Cause And Effect' a try which channels the feel of classic James Bond themes and employs an orchestra to subtle but impressive effect.

Pristine sound really at home when they are rocking out on driving efforts like 'The Sober', 'Dead End' or 'Pioneer' which reminded me a lot of Thin Lizzy's 'Are You Ready'. Fortunately, that's where the bulk of the material stays. The aforementioned variations from the theme work particularly well to break things up and the inclusion of the acoustic 'Your Song' shows a more gentle facet to the group.

Pristine's earlier albums were only available in their home country with their third effort 'Reboot' being the first available outside those borders. Following on from 2017's 'Ninja', this latest effort is a truly stellar collection and it has all the ingredients necessary to break the band wide open to a much wider audience.

James Gaden

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