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Pallas - The Blinding Darkness CD (album) cover





4.47 | 49 ratings

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"In the beginning there was Darkness. And in the Darkness there was Fear. And Fear gave birth to God. Whose rule was harsh but clear." - PALLAS "The Cross & The Crucible"

What do you expect from a live DVD of a prog band? Stage act? Musical performance? The extent of music quality compared to studio version? Set list selection? Picture and sound quality? Stage settings? Excellent music? Well, the list will add on and on ... I just want to tell you that you have it all here! Yeah man . I tell you! You may wonder why I'm so convinced about this. But, here is the fact: I purchased this DVD in March last year (2004) and until now (last night) I still had my pulse racing rapidly while watching this DVD while I could not stop myself from dancing along with the flow of wonderful music and performance offered by this DVD. I moved parts of my body while watching the band performed their show wonderfully. The sound quality is really awesome - especially the bass is really solid; it's probably the Rickenbaker or the Taurus bass pedals used throughout the show. I played it very loud and I got totally numb with the performance I saw on my screen.

The Performance

At first view, the stage is quite large with a giant backdrop using the band's artwork design on The Sentinel album. Alan Reed (vox and guitar) stands in the middle front of the stage, the big guy (as bis as Fish - Marillion) Graeme Murray with his Rickenbacker bass guitar stands in the right side of Alan; while Ronnie Brown with his keyboard is positioned behind him. Niall Mattewson (lead guitar) is on Alan's left side and Colin Fraser with his Mapex drum set sits in the middle at the rear. It's a good stage set-up.

The show starts off with the last album title track "The Cross & the Crucible" (9:05) with an atmospheric style, 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. The stage lighting helps accentuate the show. Alan Reed enters his thin voice line beautifully. While he sings, he also moves his body, dancing along with the music. 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. Alan Reed does rhythm guitar while performing his vocal. Fortunately, the track progresses into more complex arrangement with interesting melody and solos. Right after the interlude part, there is a nice percussive music by Colin Fraser 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 by Alan Reed and great vocal melody. With appropriate stage and lighting set this song became so elegant.

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. Gareme and Ronie do backing vocal work. A good view is when Alan and Graeme is touching head to head with Graeme while both of them sing together. It has jazzy piano solo and stunning guitar solo. 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.

When the track reaches number 6 "Beat the Drum" I can not let my mouth shut while watching the show 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 DVD worth- collecting!

"Blood and Roses" (5:54) is also a wonderful track. Right after this track Graeme and Alan communicate with the crowd, especially commenting on Alan's problems with his shoe. When "The Blinding Darkness" is performed 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!" - which concludes the main performance of the band.

The Encores

The Encores covers four songs with lead vocal performed by Alan Reed: "Rise and Fall Part 1", "East West", "March on Atlantis" and "Atlantis". Through this encore the band members energy has heated up and made the show much more dynamic. Alan Reed then introduced the special guest appearance by Pallas previous singer Euan Lowson. Euan sings excellently but when he performs the last track "The Ripper" where acts theatrically - I tend to skip it because I don't like seeing him brings a knife. It scares me, especially when I saw blood (even though man-made). I don't like this.


Overall, it's a highly recommended live DVD of neo progressive rock vein. If you love neo progressive, you must have this DVD. The song selection is excellent - all great tracks of the band's career. The performance is flawless. The sonic quality is top notch. I always turn my amplifier volume loud whenever I play this DVD. It's a masterpiece. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Notes: the above review applicable for DVD version only because that's the package that I have. But I have the CD set separately that I have reviewed under CD review yesterday.

Gatot | 5/5 |


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