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Pallas - The Sentinel CD (album) cover





3.49 | 228 ratings

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3 stars According to a British friend of mine who was present for the early 80's prog renaissance at the Marque in London, Pallas was the band everyone felt would be the biggest success. Marillion was considered second to them, but also a contender for success (in fact, in my friends clique.....the Marque crowd was comprised of a number of cliques..........Marillion were actually something of a joke). The band felt they were going to make a huge impact when they headed to America to produce this first album. Eddy Offord production, gatefold album sleeve with a great fantasy art work. But it took a while for the album to come out, and when it did the hurried nature of Offords production (he mixed it over a weekend) was painfully obvious to both fans and band. And worse, their tour de force, the Atlantis suite, had been butchered by the record company. Parts were excised from the album and the running order was seemingly arbitrarily rearranged. The bands momentum was lost, seemingly forever.

I only heard of Pallas in the late 90's, and only first listened to their music around 2004 or so, in preparation for their Nearfest 2005 performance. What I heard was a fairly bland neo prog, though with a bit more of a bite than typical neo bands. This first album, to my ears, is their finest work (though only in it's properly remastered and expanded format on CD............the way the band always intended it to be). I must say, it hasn't aged well though. Perhaps growing up in the 80's has helped me see past the fact that it is definitely a product of it's time. From the nuclear holocaust concept, to the 80's digital synths, people more familiar with 90's and beyond prog are going to have a hard time with this (even harder than with most 70's prog, a lot of which has aged far better).

For myself, the first 3 tracks are somewhat throwaway, poppier type numbers. Not terrible, but short and very much like early 80's MTV fodder, if a bit more interesting that most of what was popular on that channel back then. The real meat is tracks 4 - 10, which include the 20 + minute Atlantis suite. This is 80's prog at it's finest I think, neo done with suitable amounts of rock, new wave, and symphonic grandeur. In other works, it's okay. Historically, this was a pretty important album (recorded before Marillion's first, but not released until after it). When I pull this out to listen to it, it is quite enjoyable, at least the the last 7 tracks anyway. But I don't pull it out very often.

If you want a complete picture of the second wave of prog, and the gestation of neo prog, this album is really essential. But if you are looking for something different and a hidden gem, this probably isn't it. The album shows that Pallas were probably a perfect band for their time, but outside of it they don't hold up so well (though their more recent albums are pretty decent neo prog of the modern variety). It's really a factor of how much you can tolerate the sounds of the 80's (albeit, solid 80's prog) as to whether or not you will enjoy this. I'll give it 3 stars, but depending on what you like it could be 4 (fan of 80's neo) or 2 (fan of any other prog).

infandous | 3/5 |


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