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Pallas (UK)
Overall View

Discography:

1984 - "The Sentinel"
*****+

1986 - "The Wedge"
****+

1998 - "Beat the Drum"
******


Intro. "The Sentinel", the Pallas first studio album, seems to be their first official album despite there is another one dated 1981 in Pallas' discography in the Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock. The title of that earliest entirely instrumental (as I heard - sorry if I am just mistaken) album is "Arrive Alive", but I didn't find any references (let alone any reviews or opinions) to it in the GEPR. Just recently, reading a solid material of Pallas in Progression's (the Journal of the Genre, though) 36th issue I've found that this was the band's very first recording - a self-financed live cassette album featured 5 songs (EP actually). Both the bands first official albums "The Sentinel" and "The Wedge" (which also includes the few bonus tracks - the songs taken from Pallas' only EP of 1985) were originally released on the Major of all Majors (labels talk) "EMI" and reissued on CD by "Inside Out Music" in 2000. Although the last Pallas album "Beat the Drum" was released independently and, according to Alan Reed's interview he gave me exclusively last year, at least at that time the band was intended to continue its independent going under the banner of "Pallas" label, including even its further development. But actually it is turned to be that Pallas signed the same "Inside Out" label the same year. A new studio album by this legendary band from Scotland should be release and internationally distributed by "IOM" sometime in the second half of 2001. Oh, I've just remembered one of the Pallas' music descriptions in the GEPR. This "contribution" by some anonymous author is 'at the head' of all the other opinions in the GEPR's material of Pallas, but actually this is just the height of stupidity: "Pallas is another "Genesis-soundalike band... Have they been taking lessons from Marillion?" It would be interesting to me to know the name of that lover of comparisons, especially so stupid. His description of Pallas' stylistics reminds of noodles hanging on ears. Fred Trafton, who is the webmaster of newly edition of the GEPR, does really a great job there. He's now trying to correct anything wrong in the GEPR, but a 48-hours day is what he really needs to renew the GEPR wholly. (I myself am in search for a 48 hours day since 1999 - didn't still get it yet.) Back to Pallas, please don't be surprised by some as if abnormal phrases there. The point is that I've heard the "Beat the Drum" album (and still love it very much) before others.


1984 - "The Sentinel"
*****+

Tracklist: will be soon

Line-up: will be soon

The Pallas debut album is truly conceptual (to know more about conceptual, pseudo-conceptual, non-conceptual, etc albums please read "A Sense of Conception" Key Review. It is because compositionally and, that's the main concerning truly conceptual music works, lyrically, this album comes off under the 'banner' of unity. While musically "The Sentinel" as a whole has quite a monolithic sound since all the album's songs have practically the same structural schemes, thematically it looks even stronger as all lyrics revolve around the (only!) legend of the lost continent of Atlantis. Back to the music on "The Sentinel", actually this was the very first Neo Progressive album with a strongly pronounced Proto-metallic feel (hey, another term is invented now - in addition to Light, etc kinds of Neo Prog). Really, there is a solid quantity of 'heavy' elements at the 'structural table' of "The Sentinel", and such songs as Cut And Rain and Arrive Alive sound especially heavy, representing some average between Progressive Hard-Rock and Progressive Metal (as well as Leonardo DaVinci's Sfumato is not just a kind of colour perspective, but some average between Life and Death - to attention of the guys of Sfumato and of Progression's Larry Nai). Well, while on the whole "The Sentinel" is a very interesting, distinctly original (unique in some - Proto-metallic - ways) work of Neo Progressive, such tracks as Ark of Infinity and Atlantis (itself) are practically as complex as lots of the Classic Progressive songs created in the 1980s. And who is that who'd dare to argue against my definition of Pallas' music? Also, I don't find any apparent (in both meaning of the word, including 'seeming') influences in no one album of Pallas, including their debut. This is more than just excellent album - in all senses of the word 'excellent'.

VM. March 29, 2001


1986 - "The Wedge"
****+

Tracklist: will be soon

Line-up: will be soon

"The Wedge" album. The second Pallas album is even more heavier, but less progressive than "The Sentinel", though structurally "The Wedge", on the whole, follows the 'canons' of the band's original stylistics formed on the previous album. Unfortunately, being quite a heavy album, "The Wedge" hasn't that firm Proto-metallic backbone the band invented in the process of composing of "The Sentinel". Still very interesting in its own way, the second one is, however, quite accessible on the whole. Stylistically, most of the songs of this album can be described as Progressive Hard Rock and just the only song from the original edition of "The Wedge" album has pure progressive structures. Fortunately, the CD edition of "The Wedge" contains also all songs featured the band's only EP "Knightmoves" of 1985 and one of these newly added songs - Sanctuary - becomes the CD's second (and probably the most) progressive song with obvious epic tendencies. Back to "The Wedge" album as a whole, I like it almost as much as I like "The Sentinel". It is because I like any original proto-progressive bands (most of whose are the units of the Hard Rock genre - this is the fact, but not my own opinion) and consider their creation as an important stage for the beginners - potentially true Prog-lovers - to comprehend more complex progressive structures.

VM. March 30, 2001


1998 - "Beat the Drum"
******

Tracklist:

2.  Beat the Drum
3.  Hide'n'Seek
4.  Insomniac
5.  All of Nothing
6.  Spirits
7.  Man of Principle
8.  Ghosts
9.  Blood'n'Roses
10. Wilderness Years
11. Fragments of the Sun

Line-up:

Alan Reed - vocals
Graeme Murray - bass
Niall Mathewson - guitars;
Colin Fraser - drums;
Ronnie Brown - keyboards, percussion.

Produced by N.Mathewson & G.Murray.

Prologue. This is my first aquaintance with Pallas. Earlier, I've read about this band in Gibraltar, not to mention some progressive rock sites. Most critics consider Pallas as a mediocre, on the whole, Neo band... So, sad to think, I was deceived by that online Encyclopedia more than once, as well as by these (the same!) progressive rock sites. So, sad to learn that "thanks" to them all I avoided one of the most important (does it mean one of the best? I think so, though) progressive rock bands ever appeared in the "dark decade" (of the '80s, of course). Sad to say, I have avoided it up to now.

The Album. I don't even know how I can write about each song on this album separately - there are eleven songs here, each a real killer. Just recently I wrote that Yoke Shire's "Masque of Shadows" (such a special) album must be a stage, an impulse to the return of a really obvious interest in Progressive Music like it was in the good old years... Now I only can say the same words - with the only exception, though - the step forward towards the general public was done by Pallas, too, but it was done even a year before by Yoke Shire. The 72 minute album is full of excellent music that combines in itself beautiful melodies and quite profound arrangements, or better to say, the music of Pallas is full of catchy melodies. Whether it's Neo Prog or not, it absolutely doesn't matter, because this is the Music of Inspiration - very mature music. By the way, don't look here for any analogies (I don't mean stylistical analogies, of course) with other bands, all you'll find is exceptional originality. Remember how original were (and still are) Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull - Pallas' music is of the same kind of maturity, though more accessible. Their music is like a bridge between two coasts... Do you understand what I mean? I hope so. I am also amazed at a really "deep" proGfessionalism of the Pallas musicians. They well know what they do! Each of these five musicians shows really a highest level of professionalism. It is such a pleasure to listen how they play together (I mean "general" arrangements) and separately (I mean solos by the main soloists - guitarist and keyboardist) in the accompaniment of their friends playing! The rhythm-section works like a watch mechanism. It's a Kingdom of Harmony! As for the vocalist, I enjoyed Alan Reed's abilities no less than these of Jon Anderson or Steve Walsh. I'll even dare to say, there are by far not many singers on the current progressive scene with the level of Alan: his singing is a whole song, a whole "separate" story. Need I say more? Just listen more attentively to what he is able "to do" with his voice!

Summary. Well, I'm writing and enjoying: such a favorable review on "Beat the drum" I'm doing. But this album more than simply deserves it! So, it wasn't hard, listening to the Pallas, to find that this is a unique yet quite underrated from the direction of "progressive" reviewers band. I'm glad to make sure that these days we have bands like Pallas that can broaden the horizons of progressive rock, in the way Pink Floyd did it in the '70s. Therefore, Pallas has done enough to go into the history of rock music for all time.

VM. March 30, 2001 Oh, I did forget to tell you that I myself avoided purchasing the Pallas CDs (when I was in Moscow the few years ago), being misled (deceived!) by the same article of Pallas in the GEPR. That's what happens when some people stick their noses into other people's affairs. And the number of pseudo prog-reviewers is still as large as the number of Pseudo Prog-bands (I might have created a section "devoted" to them a long time ago, but a problem of getting a 48-hours day is still on my agenda).


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