Hailing from the northern city of Tromsø, Norwegian combo Pristine fuse together blues and riffy hard rock with a vintage tone reminiscent of 1970s American Southern rock and classic psychedelia. Led by the powerful vocals of singer/songwriter Heidi Solheim, the award-winning group first established themselves on Europe's blues circuit with albums like 2011's Detoxing and 2016's Reboot. They later signed with the Nuclear Blast label, further expanding their global presence through hard touring and increasingly rock-oriented albums like 2019's Road Back to Ruin.
A native of Øverbygd, a small village north of the arctic circle, Solheim formed the first version of Pristine around 2006 in nearby Tromsø. After several years of gigging and performing in a handful of regional blues band competitions, a steady lineup including Solheim, guitarist Espen Jakobsen, organist Anders Oskal, bassist Åsmund Eriksson, and drummer Kim Karlson recorded the band's 2011 debut album, Detoxing. It was produced by Andreas Mjøs (Jaga Jazzist), who also worked with Solheim on her 2012 solo album, Found, as well as Pristine's 2013 follow-up, No Regret. Also during this period, the band trekked to the U.S. to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where they became the first Norwegian band to make the semi-finals. With the release of 2016's Reboot, Pristine began to embrace a more distinctly hard rock tone with forays into vintage psychedelia. This trend continued when they signed with German label Nuclear Blast to release 2017's Ninja, a mostly live-recorded set of heavy, riffy rock with blues elements. By the time of 2019's Road Back to Ruin, Solheim and Jakobsen were Pristine's sole original bandmembers. ~ Timothy Monger