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Road Back To Ruin is the fifth album from Norwegian rockers Pristine. Road Back To Ruin follows their solid 2017 release Ninja and indeed builds on the captivating formula of vintage-inspired rock with a strong shot of blues.
Most of the tracks on Road Back To Ruin are lyrically driven, building vibrant scenes with memorable and catchy lines. Vocalist Heidi Solheim’s vocals are tangibly passionate, infusing the fairly standard rock grooves of tracks such as opener Sinnerman, Pioneer, and The Sober with powerful layers of passion.
The vintage strains of blues rock in Bluebird and Landslide showcase the effectiveness of unashamedly sparse and well-constructed songs to draw out the sultry, low-slung grooves and inventive melodies that characterises Pristine’s general approach, and give Solheim’s bluesy grit plenty of space to resonate. The title track Road Back To Ruin really captures the tangible rawness of Solheim’s sound to create a seedy, sultry atmosphere as the track holds a steady rhythmic line towards some cool rustic leads from guitarist Espen Elverum Jacobson towards the end.
Road Back To Ruin is a memorable and unique blues rock album with laudable variety, instantly memorable lyrics and a powerhouse vocalist.
Road Back To Ruin features a few much slower, mellow numbers such as the hazy and lyrically intriguing track Cause And Effect in which Solheim delivers her strongest, most full-bodied vocal performance alongside the strings of The Arctic Philharmonic orchestra. The pared-back, wistful track Aurora Skies is possibly the darkest blues track on the album and while a fairly strong song overall, seemed to lack the texture that Solheim’s vocals normally provides and one is somewhat left waiting for a tear-jerking solo that never transpires. Pristine do demonstrate their ability to seduce with the intriguing Middle Eastern infusion and hypnotic grooves of Blind Spot, that undoubtedly invokes the kind of sleazy, rough-end red-light-esque degeneracy that is the theme of the album.
Closing with the catchy upbeat drum hooks and energetic guitars of pretty classic rock number Dead End, Road Back To Ruin is a memorable and unique blues rock album with laudable variety, instantly memorable lyrics and a powerhouse vocalist.
STANDOUT TRACK: Road Back To Ruin, Blind Spot, Cause And Effect
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Halestorm, Alabama Shakes, Graveyard.