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Pallas - XXV CD (album) cover





3.26 | 141 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well, the return of a band who, alongside Marillion and IQ, were the archetypal neo-prog band in the UK prog revival of the 1980's. This is, of course, the follow up to the acclaimed concept album, The Sentinel, released in 1984, and is a story which the band have threatened/promised (delete according to your tastes) to return to for years now. The album has received some critical acclaim in the music press, but, surprisingly, little notice really on this site. The question, of course, is whether it deserves the praise heaped upon it.

I think that the answer is yes. This is a brave album, one that holds the listener's attention throughout, and also is absolutely nothing like any of the stereotypical neo prog that the band and others in the sub genre are so often accused of. If anything, much of this is a glorious heavy prog album, with some thunderous and pulsating riffs, interspersed with some delicate passages. The playing is excellent throughout.

The opener, Falling Down, spends seven and a half minutes grabbing you by the balls, and squeezing extremely tightly. It features some exceptional rhythm work, and new vocalist, Paul Mackie, at once, renders all memories of his illustrious predecessors into the distant past. His is a fantastic debut.

As with all of the best concept albums, it is pointless entering into a discussion of individual tracks, because this album needs to be appreciated as a coherent whole. I'll get around to reviewing the original story soon, but I really do think that this, released 25 years later (hence the title), forms far more of a seamless work of music and story. The original was basically an album of two halves, with much of the first side attempting to gain commercial success. In 2011, no such constraints hold the band back. In addition, the advent of digital technology certainly improves the effects essential to such a story.

Amongst the heavy, pounding tracks, there are some moments of quite beautiful contemplation. Something In The Deep is the first such moment, and is a very understated piece of music, with a great symphonic passage, that grows upon you with each listen. In fact, that could be a good summary for the album as a whole.

This is an album of contrasting moods. At turns very heavy, symphonic, classic neo, and, at times, almost post indie, I really like this album. Certainly people who downloaded the excellent Monster, which is a great commercial track that deserves hit single status, for free at the end of last year should, in my opinion, now go the full hog and go to their usual music supplier and get the full work. This is a truly progressive album, in that Pallas have made a conscious effort to move their sound and ideas forward, rather than taking the easy option of remaining stuck in the past. The two part XXV title track is as good an example of pomp prog I have heard in many a year.

Four stars for this. There will probably better contenders for album of 2011 as the year progresses, but I would be staggered if this wasn't in my personal top five.

lazland | 4/5 |


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