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Pallas - The Blinding Darkness CD (album) cover

THE BLINDING DARKNESS

Pallas

 

Neo-Prog

4.17 | 55 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A MASTERPIECE NEO PROG LIVE PERFORMANCE

If you love neo progressive rock and live set, you should not miss this double CD. It has all components of typical neo prog music: melodic, some-time mellow and poppy, simple structure and compositions but it has changing tempos as well. I knew the band long time when Marillion was born, and I did not pay attention to the band with its album "Sentinel". At that time I was so amazed with Marillion so that I did not really follow the band. What I ever knew was that the band had a long vacuum period of more than 10 years. And this live set features the band's coverage of its history with two different lead singers performing their own era. The later era with Alan Reed while the earlier one with Euan Lowson.

All tracks were performed excellently in lively atmosphere. The live set starts off with the last album title track "The Cross & the Crucible" (9:05) with an atmospheric, followed with inventive and thick bass lines by Graeme Murray (band leader). Combined with keyboard in symphonic style and guitar work, it creates unique and atmospheric sound of Pallas. Alan Reed enters his thin voice line beautifully. The music is accessible to majority of listeners as it flows smoothly with nice melody. There is a choir break in the middle of the song that helps uplift the mood. Guitar solo by Niall Mathewson is also stunning. It's my all-time favorite Pallas track. It continues to second track "For the Greater Glory" (7:44) which has a poppy opening in symphonic nuance. Fortunately, the track progresses into more complex arrangement with interesting melody and solos. Right after the interlude part, there is a nice percussive music that enriches the song. Still with the same album, the live set continues with a nice "Who's to Blame?" (4:48) song with excellent acoustic guitar and great vocal melody.

The band also performs songs from older album like "The Executioner / Rat Racing" (11:05) from The Wedge album. This two-in-one track is performed excellently by the band. It then continues with even older album Arrive Alive with "Crown of Thorns" (10:14). Am amazed with the fact that Alan Reed who is not the original lead vocalist (Euan Lowson) can bring his performance much better than the original version.

Oh man .. when the track reaches number 6 "Beat the Drum" I can not let my mouth shut while listening to this CD and sing along with this wonderfully composed song. "There is a place that has no name. No sound of laughter - no children playing. It's not on a map, but it's there just the same. The place that built the toys for the nuclear game" .. oh man . what a killing melody! So melodic opening with soft keyboard work and simple piano touch. I cannot bear it anymore . the melody really qualifies to make a human cry! I'm not joking my friend ., seriously .. the intro part of this track is amazingly great!! Well, it's just the music, but if you listen to the lyrics .. it makes the situation even worse .so sad .. it's about change. Nothing constant but the change itself. I'm so sad with the lyrics of this track that tells us "He spent his life making weapons of war. Times have changed - they don't need him no more. Beat the drum." Feel so sorry for him, but war serves no good at all for humankind. Let's stop the war. Beat the drum! Yeah . After melodic intro then the music comes into play where all instruments play together and it flows naturally in an upbeat tempo. It has a very atmospheric nuance with dazzling bass guitar work by Graeme Murray with his Rickenbecker 4001. I really love Murray's bass playing, so dynamic and wonderful! The keyboard part by Ronnie Brown is also excellent. The inclusion of percussion / drum as an accentuation of "Beat the Drum" credo has enriched the track. All in all, this track really makes this live album worth- collecting!

"Blood and Roses" (5:54) is also a wonderful track. When it reaches "The Blinding Darkness" (6:14) my pulse is running very rapidly. The opening part is truly very uplifting especially on the combination of solid bass lines, keyboard and drum beats has created wonderful music harmony. Alan Reed's voice enters beautifully with first verse: "Geometric mountains rise in a biblical sky. They measure the miles to the moon. The Dogon chart invisible stars in the African night. A beacon flashes on .". Yeah, it's another great track of this live set - and no wonder that it has been named after this song title. The main attraction point of this track is its simplicity - in terms of structure - great musical harmony and powerful melody. "Towers of Babble" (9:38) is another great track performed flawlessly.

Other tracks are also performed excellently: "Midas Touch", "Celebration!", "Atlantis Suite" (from The Sentinel), and guest appearance of the band's previous lead vocalist Euan Lowson performing "Cut and Run" and "The Ripper".

Overall, it's a highly recommended live album of neo progressive rock vein. If you love neo progressive, you must have this CD set or the DVD. It's a masterpiece. The sonic quality of the CD is top notch! Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Gatot | 5/5 |

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