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Pallas - The Cross And The Crucible CD (album) cover





3.52 | 179 ratings

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3 stars The return of Pallas with ''Beat the drum'' was quite succesful, as the band signed a contract with Inside Out just after a year of its release.This was the needed push for the group to begin the proceedings to the recording of a brand new album.This would see the light just three years after Pallas' comeback under the title ''The Cross & The Crucible'', a concept album around the endless battle between religion and science.

Musically nothing seems to have changed regarding the new style the band established in late-90's.The first tracks retain the epic and heavily lyrical sound of Pallas, where there is plenty of room for orchestral keyboards, choirs, heavy bass lines and strong trippy guitars in a very atmospheric way.Alan Reeds' voice still is a trademark for the group with his over-sensitive chords, while the tracks have a slightly spacey approach at moments.By the middle of the album the quality drops significantly.''Who's to Blame?'', ''The Blinding Darkness'' and ''Generations'' are just mediocre Soft Rockers with an evident AOR touch, still the Neo Prog sensibilities are obvious, but the choruses are rather forgettable and the musicianship holds less interest compared to the opening tracks, which leave much to be desired.Fortunately the later material of the release offers accesible but highly cinematic and grandiose Neo Prog of good inspiration.The keyboard work of Ronnie Brown becomes the leading force and the musicianship is highlighted by his wash of dominant organs and flashy, virtuosic synthesizers.The symphonic influences become more apparent, Reed performs at his highest level and the early-80's bombastic Pallas style is back in the forefront in tracks such as ''Midas Touch'' and the fantastic ''Celebration!''.

''The Cross & The Crucible'' just confirms the new face of Pallas in the millenium, an easy-going mix of Neo Prog with light Orchestral Rock and Soft Rock touches, pretty grandiose and fairly accesible, whether the listener likes it or not.Some tracks do not do much, some others though show how talented this group of musicians is.Warmly recommended despite the black holes in the middle of the album.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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