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Pallas - The Sentinel CD (album) cover





3.51 | 234 ratings

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3 stars While PALLAS is considered one of the pioneers of neo prog, they have as much to do with the pre-neo groups of their day as with the typical Gabriel and Collins GENESIS. I hear RUSH, ASIA, STEVE HACKETT (not to be confused with GENESIS as it were), SAGA, ELOY, FM, TOTO, and arena rock in the mix. Somewhat like the lesser known HAZE, PALLAS' vision of progressive rock was more eclectic than the norm, which makes them more refreshing even to this day, in spite of also sounding raggedly dated.

The connection to ELOY can be discerned in the main theme of "Sentinel" which is very much a recalibration of that group's 1977 "Ocean Album", the theme of Atlantis as a cold war allegory still being topical in 1984. The voice over bass in "Cut and Run" and "Rise and Fall" seem lifted from that band's arsenal. But PALLAS isn't content to float in space to the same degree, and they are more vocal oriented and keener to write radio ready hooks. When these work, as in the aggressive "Shock Treatment", they are a joy. But as often they yield mix results like in "Cut and Run" and "Arrive Alive", which are best in their instrumental workouts. When speaking, the "out with it" philosophy seems appropriate, but not when communicating via song, and this is unfortunately a problem with PALLAS. They have a lot to say and sometimes all they do is say it.

The epics are also a mixed bag, with the aforementioned "Rise and Fall" parts being somewhat overextended and bogged down in narration, while "East West" and especially "Atlantis" are fully realized sci fi rock that recall the best of Canadians FM and SAGA, with a few MOODY BLUES harmonies whipped in. All of the longer pieces suffer from a certain disjointedness when several shorter cuts might have served the mood better.

For its time, this is an impressive enough album, but perhaps a bit raw. I daresay PALLAS themselves have influenced a few subsequent acts of their own, including themselves after a long absence thru the late 1980s and all of the 1990s. 2.5 stars rounded up for their willingness to stand guard over prog during a time when its proponents were vastly outnumbered and overmatched.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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