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Pallas - The Dreams Of Men CD (album) cover





3.99 | 279 ratings

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4 stars I came close to awarding 5 stars to this superb, outstanding work of art, but after reflecting on those albums I think are deserving 5 stars, I finally had to settle, with regret, for 4 stars for The Dreams of Men.

First, this is almost entirely a neo-prog album, yet one that I think will be remembered as a milestone in the sense that it elevated the genre to a new standard in many regards.

On the first listening, I immediately loved tracks 1 (The Bringer of Dreams), 3 (Ghostdancers) and 8 (Invincible). The Bringer of Dreams opens with the most beautiful intro that I can remember of on any album - a full two minutes of keyboard solo reminiscent of a cathedral organ greeting you into a mysterious place to which you owe the utmost respect.

The delicious Ghostdancers track cannot, I sincerely think, let anyone indifferent, prog lover or not. Mixing celtic and primitive elements, it needs no further comment as I think this song makes its case in and of itself on the very first listening, even for someone who usually needs more time before getting into an album or a song.

At this point, it is perhaps necessary for me to explain that my 4 stars rating is based on my assessment that this album features 4 songs that I rank as remarkable (tracks 1, 3, 8 and 9) as well as another that I happen to like very much but might not be progressive enough to some (track 7, Mr. Wolfe). So technically, an album with virtually no weak point and featuring as many as 4 songs worthy of 5 stars seems to me very close to being an essential. But whereas the album does not really have really weak points, it does have 4 songs that leave me more or less indifferent. Thus, obviously, this album is an excellent addition to any prog lover's collection, but perhaps not a masterpiece of the genre. But then again, I am to give 5 stars ratings quite sparingly.

So track 2, Warriors, provides energy to the early stages of the album and showcases Pallas musical proficiency, but the song lacks on the melodical side and its verse-chorus structure is not very original.

After Ghostdancers, the album continues with the more complex Too Close to the Sun, which in my opinion has some interesting moments, especially right before the song ends, but lacks a clear purpose or cohesion. No interesting melody here either.

Tracks 5 and 6, to me, are good enough to be listened to, like tracks 2 and 4, but still not enough to leave a lasting impression. They mostly seem like an interlude before what is to come, and the waiting is well worth it.

Mr. Wolfe is a somewhat simple song, and short, but I just happen to like everything about it, from its up tempo feeling to the voices and lyrics, and then to the chorus lines.

Invincible actually reminds me of Forgotten Sons on Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear, although with different melodies and a more modern sound. The powerful finale, especially the "Break my will, steal my pride, as long as you are by my side - I'm invincible..." got totally into me.

The Dreams of Men closes with the peaceful, operaesque and delicious The Last Angel, slowly building up into something very different than what it started but without the listener even noticing it.

Overall, The Dreams of Men was one of my latest best surprises. I simply did not expect to get something that good out of a new Pallas album. Moreover, unlike many progressive works, it does not require many listenings before one can enjoy its many virtues. If you enjoy neo-prog and do not require from your albums that the whole running time be of 5 stars quality and can settle for, say, 70%, then you must seriously consider this classic in the becoming.

Also worthy of note, nice booklet, cover and disc design...

SentimentalMercenary | 4/5 |


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