Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pallas - The Wedge CD (album) cover




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars To follow up "The Sentinel", PALLAS debut album on a major label and a classic album in the neo-progressive genre must have been quite a hard task. However they almost succeeded in the follow-up called "The Wedge" in 1985. Now this album has been re-released on the InsideOut label, including additional CD-ROM track and three tracks from the 1985 EP "The Knightmoves". The CD-ROM track is a live version of "Win or Lose".

- The sound is very 80's with similarities to MAGNUM, MARILLION, IQ and YES, with memorable choruses, good melodies and harmonies. "The Wedge" is rockier than its successor; sometimes almost poppy or AOR oriented in tracks such as "The Executioner". Therefore this album is the least interesting of PALLAS releases to date. There's however some really good tracks on this album, for example: "Dance Through The Fire", "Rat Dancing", "Just A Memory" and "Sanctuary".

- "The Wedge" has a better production than "The Sentinel" does, but the sound is much more outdated, and the compositions aren't as complex either. All in all this is, despite some negative thoughts, a really good album, but I suggest that you buy "The Sentinel" first!

Report this review (#11960)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is neo progressive rock. Their best album, "The Sentinel", is one of the best neo progressive album for floating and melodic keyboards and guitar solos, but here, the keyboards are miscellaneous clinical sounds, rarely melodic and floating. "The Wedge" is not very progressive. The drums are rather repetitive and not very elaborated. The bass is less sophisticated too, and the guitar is more bland; there are less those melodic solos as on "The Sentinel". If you want to appreciate the real progressive PALLAS, get "The Sentinel".
Report this review (#11961)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I might be considered too conservative if I say that the best works of prog rock basically ended with 70s. Then in the 80s appeared so-called neo-prog whose best exponents were definitely MARILLION, even if they often sounded as a second-hand, recycled version of the Gabriel-era GENESIS. Now, what to say about this absolutely poor album by PALLAS? They obviously try to sound like MARILLION who tries to sound like GENESIS and in that attempt they delivered a rare instant of dull, boring, uninspired and unfocused piece of music. Instruments are mechanical, cold and heartless while the vocal is totally unexpressive. In my opinion this is not prog at all, but a bad example of pop/AOR sound which never comes close to the American developers of that genre, such as STYX. I was really tempted to give zero mark, but following the review guidelines, I am forced to find some good moments. OK, let us say that the closing track, "Just a Memory" (on LP issue) has some moments and the band are at least trying to develop a song structure. Also the cover design is not that bad. So, "The Wedge" should be absolutely avoided unless you are a neo-prog completionist, which I am definitely not!
Report this review (#11962)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Market Square heroes with mullets?

"The Wedge" finds Pallas treading water a bit, fortunately only temporarily. Vocalist Euan Lowson has been replaced by Alan Reed, who sounds uncannily like Lowson, in much the same way as Phil Collins did when he took over from Peter Gabriel.

The opening track, "Dance through the fire", has more than a hint of Fish era Marillion, and in particular "Market Square Heroes". Only by the time we reach the third track, "Win or Lose" do the band find their step. It's little more than a simple ballad, but it is filled with emotion, allowing Reed to demonstrate his vocal ability. "The Executioner" tries to be prog, fitting several time changes and ELP type instrumental breaks into its 5 minutes, but the song itself is not strong enough.

"Imagination" is an out and out AOR track, Journey or Styx (or even perhaps Howard Jones!) would have been proud of this, mullets ahoy. The track is almost saved by an all to brief Wakeman like synth solo. "Rat racing" finally finds the band in full prog mode. It features some inspired guitar work, lovely keyboards, and great vocals. The final track on the original album, "Just a memory" is also a fine melodic piece, more of the same and the album could have been so much better.

The final three tracks on the CD were originally released on the "Knightmoves" EP. "Stranger", is more of a basic AOR pop rock track, a bit of early Asia included perhaps. "Sanctuary" once again has some good guitar work, and is actually too fine a track to have been hidden away for so long on an EP. "Nightmare" too is excellent, with a Keith Emerson style screaming synthesiser to round things off.

In all, a good album, enhanced by the inclusion of the "Knightmoves" EP tracks. "The Sentinel" was however better, as were the albums which were to come. (The CD also features an added CD-Rom section.)

Report this review (#11963)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Wedge was the second and final album to be released during the band's tenure with EMI and saw the arrival of singer Alan Reed. Reed took over the front man mantle from the previous incumbent Euwan Lowson, who although enjoyed a well deserved reputation as a showman, possessed a less than impressive recording voice. The band's previous album (The Sentinel) had been a much anticipated release in the progressive community but sadly failed to scale the commercial heights that Marillion's 'Script For A Jester's Tear' had achieved a year previously.

The album bore all the hallmarks of a band intent on streamlining its sound and jettisoning the theatrics of the past. Gone were the odes to lost civilisations and in came sanguine observations on the inhabitants and mechanisms of modern society.

'Dancing Through The Fire' pummels along on the back of a frenzied 6/8 beat which pauses briefly midway only to hammer the tune home again before giving way to the albums first single 'Throwing Stones At The Wind'. It is here that most of the band's commercial edge becomes apparent with its staccato guitar riff and (now somewhat ironic) hookline. 'Win or Lose' power ballad's it's way into forgetfulness but is quickly replaced by one of the album's finer moments 'Executioner', a dark foreboding tale of a vigilante's mission to rid his neighbourhood of street scum. A fine track which exudes a tangible menace despite the 80's production sound that plagues much of UK prog from this era (i.e. the ubiquitous Phil Collins drum sound).

'Imagination' is a surprisingly coherent and catchy number that sees bassist Graham Murray taking up the vocal spotlight with considerable aplomb. 'Ratracing' is certainly the most progressive song on the entire album and probably embodies all that this era of Pallas were trying to achieve with their music. With its brooding opening, icy power chords, odd time sequences and effective use of loud and quiet passages, the band explore the oppression and wonder of the big city experience. 'Just A Memory' (which was originally the last track on the LP version of the album) broils quietly and effectively as Reed sings of how memory can transform even the most significant things and people into phantoms.

The final three tracks were originally released in a 3-track e.p. (The Knightmoves) and added to the recently re-issued CD. 'Strangers' is not a million miles away from 'Imagination' but sounds a little less focused and nowhere near as much fun. 'Sanctuary' opens in a swirl of keyboards and slow guitar arpeggios which backs a heartrending commentary upon the Jewish genocide. Finally 'Nightmare' completes the trinity with a dark, macabre ride through the outer limits of a disturbed mind.

EMI and Pallas parted company soon after 'The Wedge' was released and perhaps if the company had not pushed so hard for commercial success, we might have seen a more complete record which might have ultimately sold better to the band's core following. That said, there are few neo-prog bands that have produced a finer slice of mainstream prog and although it is not a masterpiece, it is a successful body of work.

Report this review (#11964)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is Pallas's second (and last) album for EMI, and as it turned out their last for thirteen years. The CD re-release contains the original album consisting of seven tracks and an additional three which were on the Knightmoves EP (Stranger, Sanctuary and Nightmare).

The album is less progressive than others in their catalogue and has a distinct 80s feel to it. The highlights are Dance Through the Fire, The Executioner (inspired by the true tale of a vigilante stalking the New York underground) and the epic Rat Racing. Of the additional tracks, Sanctuary is the best. The liner notes are also very good giving an insight to the creative process of the tracks. All in all not up to the standard of Beat the Drum but a worthy addition to any collection

Report this review (#11965)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "I got no money--I got no faith. I got no interest in the human race,-- But I don't mind" - PALLAS "Throwing Stones at The Wind"

When it was first released in 1986, this album received little attention to my ears as I was at the time fully loaded with Marillion early albums and EP from "Market Square Heroes" until "Misplaced Childhood". I only played the cassette version of "The Wedge" occasionally because I considered Marillion was the only excellent prog band in the mid eighties. Of course, I also knew IQ "The Wake" but again, Marillion was my main menu of daily music life. Whenever I played this cassette usually I took mostly track 9 "Sanctuary" that pleased my neo prog ears at the time. Alan Reed was the new lead singer replacing Euan Lowson.

"Dance Through The Fire" (4:46) opens the album through percussive work combined with keyboard punch in fast tempo music. It's a rocking track that is suitable to open the show, actually. It has also tempo change into slower one when guitar solo enters in the middle. The music reminds me to the work of Steve Hackett solo album. " Throwing Stones At The Wind" (5:15) still continues with rock music spirit with excellent guitar riffs combined with drumming. The music is energetic and simple to follow. "Pull the string, make him sing, He'll do anything that you want him to, They tell him he's free, Between you and me, He's throwing stones at the wind" is lyrical part that is very usual to emulate. Beautifully composed song. "Win Or Lose" (4:32) is a slow track with keyboard-based structure that reminds me to the music of Saga. It's a nice music.

"The Executioner" (5:36) caught into my specific attention after I watched the live version through "The Blinding Darkness" DVD set. It's another rocking track with neat arrangement especially the combination between keyboard, bass guitar and vocal during opening part. The song has a very strong symphonic nuance. "Imagination" (4:35) might confuse you with Saga because the music is in the same style. You must try it; especially for those of you who are familiar with Canadian Saga. "Rat Racing" (8:09) is an interesting track with symphonic style, many tempo changes, great keyboard work. When guitar solo enters the music it really represents the neo progressiveness of this album. Excellent song. "Just A Memory" (5:29) is an enjoyable track using music loop / programming reminiscent of Genesis "Tonight, Tonight". I really enjoy this track as the melody and the composition are really good.

"Stranger" (3:50) is for me a mediocre track and still reminds me to Saga. But "Sanctuary" (9:34) is really an excellent composition. It starts with beautiful combination of keyboard, guitar, Taurus bass pedal and vocal. The acoustic guitar work is in Eastern tuning and characterizes the melody in the same style. The howling guitar at the back reminds me to Steve Hackett. When percussive enters the music it even makes the song sounds better. The music increases into faster tempo with percussive as driver of musical nuance. Really great! The best track of this album! "Nightmare" (4:24) is another excellent track that combines great guitar solo, keyboard and bass to make this track a cohesive one. It concludes the album.

Overall, this album is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Report this review (#39110)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars My God, this must have been a huge disappointment back in 1986. After two promising albums (arrive Alive in 1981 and The Sentinel, 1984) scotish band Pallas decided to (maybe under pressure) go pop. Actually, this is very much a new wave, technopop album much in the vein of likes of Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, etc. Yes, that means a lot of electronic drums and that eras cheesy keyboards and production. Small wonder the band ended up calling it quits after releasing this turkey. It would took more than a decade for their comeback, with a string of excellent albums, I must say.

However, releasing The Wedge was not the first time a neo prog band tried to change its style looking for success after Marillion made it big with Misplaced Childhood. Their biggest mistake was to take that album and the single Kayleigh as pure pop. While more melodic and accessible, Marillion at the time was unmistakably a progressive band, so they kept their base of fans while reaching a bigger crowd at the same time.

Unfortunately that was not the case with Pallas (and others). Although not a total disaster in terms of songwriting (The Executioner and Rat Race are good tunes), the production really sucks all the life from it. Even if you like techno pop you´ll find hard to endure a full listening of this album. A pity, for Pallas were a promising band up until then. It would take another 13 years for the faithful to see they were right.

I can not recommend this album to anyone but hardcore fans and completists. Thanks to some good tunes I rate this album a little above one star. But it is by far Pallas worst effort ever.1,5 star.

Report this review (#119086)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This second Pallas album is quite a disappointment.

The band belonged to the early neo-prog movement, but this album which is just a P.I.T.A. There are actually not a single great song featured: some are passing the test of a crappy stuff, but just by an inch.

It is a pity to listen to this album: Pallas sounded better during their debut The Sentinel even if it was not a masterpiece. But one will be able to measure the difference between a good album (The Sentinel) and a poor one like this Wedge.

Most of the tracks are frankly best avoided (Win Or Lose). AOR or sub-par tracks are the usual stuff available. The drop in creative music is incredible. Even if the band doesn't hold the same musicians, it is quite unbelievable to discover these new sounds.

IMHHO, this album is quite uninteresting, and dull. This is poor AOR, hence inconsistent prog music. Even if the band is willing (trying) to impress with some more popish tunes (The Executioner), the listener is faced with below average tracks.

In these middle eighties, there were quite a few bands that developed better and more original ideas. Palllas had the good idea to turn up with some easy listening prog pop music. I have to admit that most of the songs featured on this album aren't thrilling. On the contrary: they are pretty straight- forward and feeling less.

The new vocalist is OK, the band shows obvious skills (mainly Ronnie Brown on the keys - but not only). But the song writing is quite average and this is the major disappointment of this work.

At times, there are bombastic moments which at last show another facet of the work from Pallas. Unfortunately, these moments are too short to be significant. But at least, they have the merit to exist.

This album is not essential at all. I would say that it is even boring because it sounds almost the same throughout the whole length. This release doesn't hold enough great moments to hold your interest even if Sanctuary is the best song that you can expect form this album. Thr closing number is called Nightmare...

Two stars for this effort.

Report this review (#184535)
Posted Friday, October 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars The arrival of Alan Reed

I may be in a minority, but I actually think that The Wedge was a step up from The Sentinel. This second studio album by the Scottish band Pallas is usually regarded as their weakest, but for me The Wedge was actually an improvement over their previous two full length releases and an important step towards the greatness they had yet to achieve. Not only was The Wedge the first Pallas album to be properly recorded and produced, but it was also the first album to feature Alan Reed on vocals. Reed's voice is much more distinctive than that of Euan Lowson, who sang on the band's previous releases, and Reed is, after all, the voice of Pallas. As such, The Wedge was actually the first real glimpse of the greatness they would achieve later on with Beat The Drum, The Cross And The Crucible and The Dreams Of Men. While comparing The Sentinel or Arrive Alive with those 90's and 00's albums it is not at all obvious that it is at all the same band, but on The Wedge it is indeed very clear.

While sonically The Wedge is more similar to the recent albums, the quality of the material is, however, not up to par with the great trio of recent Pallas albums mentioned above. Still, this is a good album and keeping that in mind that this was released in 1986 it is even notable. The last three tracks of the CD were originally released separately on an EP, but tagged onto the album on later releases. It is great that these tracks are included as particularly the nearly ten minute long Sanctuary and also Nightmare are better than most of the songs that actually made it onto the original album. Other standout tracks include Rat Racing and The Executioner.

The Wedge was a step in the right direction for Pallas, but they still had a long way to go before they reached their musical peak. It would be 12 years (!) until their next album, Beat The Drum, and the band would reach altogether new heights in the new millennium.

Report this review (#258665)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Excellent album!!! I don't know the reason why this is so low rating! Maybe people hate the '80 era or the plastic keyboards...but here these are fantastic, i think Tony banks should learn how play the keys in the eighties from Ronnie Brown!

Pallas in this album try to be much mainstream oriented from the old one, in this album u can hear much pop and new wave elements, but despite this poppish mood, the prog rock is still presents in 2 long and epic tracks in Pallas style. Rat racing has a very strong energy, with a fantastic and fantasy intro...full of new age and orchestral keyboars riff that sounds very innovative for that period, after 2 minutes start a crescendo and the pulsing bass line...explode creating a funkadelic nuance and with symphonic and spacey keyboards; here alan reed sing with a teatrical manner...different from Peter Gabriel or other singer from the past, and all is very enjoable. This track continues with an intricate passage between guitar and keys, with several drum breaks and time signatures to end in a pompous and epic style. The 2 long track Sanctuary is a much reflexive track, with a melancholic and pop/soul feeling for the first 2 and half minutes, but after that the music become much interesting...with dark and tribal passages with the evocative style of Alan Reed, and after other 2 minutes the music change again to become electro/industrial...for 1 minutes full of xilophone and digital percussions, but soon start a guitar solo that drive the listener in another dimension, and this will the entrance for the final coda that end the epic track full of symphonic chorus, double layers guitar solos, cathy keyboards riff and other arrangements...that fade out slowly, fantastic!!!!!! Another good track is "Just a memory", that is a really touching ballad in the vein of synth pop and new wave style, with cathing melodies, with a nice guitar solo.

The other songs are good too, especially "immagination", that despite it's a bit poppish, it contains good keyboards ideas and boombastic chorus!

Recomend to fans of keyboards driven or neoprog fans, 4 stars!

Report this review (#898020)
Posted Thursday, January 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars The second studio release from Pallas. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the first album (The Sentinel). The vocal duties here went to Alan Reed although I don't find him to be much of an improvement here.

"Dance through the Fire" - Almost a "World Music" start that quickly turns into a standard fast tempo neo prog rock track.

"Throwing Stones at the Wind" - Nothing worth writing home about here - almost a standard rock number with a touch of quirkiness up until halfway through when it changes direction for a while pointlessly before returning to the humdrum standard beginning again.

"Win or Lose" - More standard formula fare. Nothing to bring me out of my seat at all.

"The Executioner" - Some warped guitar and other sounds to start seguing into a "world music" section thing interspersed with some up-tempo rock music. They obviously picked up on some of Peter Gabriel's musical sound. After the halfway mark a dramatic flare is introduced to the track followed by some decent lead guitar and interesting keyboard work - then the whole thing just returns to rock mediocrity.

"Imagination" - Styx like keyboard to start spoiled by the kick in of the main body of the track which is really just useless rock fare. Way too playful for me. This isn't even standard rock - it's techno pop music.

"Rat Racing" - More of a progressive fare with tempo changes but it's a case of too little too late. Totally uninteresting. Somewhere somebody will like it but I don't.

"Just a Memory" - Holy Moly! I sat up and paid attention! A diamond in the rough, this one. Also a kind of world music meets neo prog thing but it works for me. I now know that these guys had been paying attention to Peter Gabriel's music - I only need to listen to some of this track as well as "The Executioner" to ascertain that (it's perhaps a pity that they didn't pay more attention).

"Stranger" - Do I hear some of Van Halen's "Jump in there? Yes I do - and I'm not impressed.

"Sanctuary" - This kind of track needs a vocalist that can put a little angst into his voice. One of the better tracks on the album though. I really like this one. Some very nice lead work and some interesting percussion as well.

"Nightmare" - Eerie keyboard sounds to start the track that actually go nowhere interesting with the main body of the track.

I don't like this album at all barring for two tracks. Thankfully this was to be the bands last album with EMI. I am not a techno-pop fan at all and this album carries that banner a lot of the way through. I apologise to any who do love this album out there in music-land but I find very little merit here. A 2 star rating from me saved from a 1 due to two tracks and some good lead guitar work.

Report this review (#1021466)
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pallas has become a favorite prog group of mine and in my search for vinyls I stumbled on a nice copy of their second album 'The Wedge', of which I like the artwork by the way. On this album the band basically sounds like a perfect blend of eighties Marillion and the Top Gun Original Movie Soundtrack. This is the type of eighties music that has aged terribly and requires repeated listening for getting beyond its initial muddy and roomy sonic impact. Perhaps hardcore fans of Saga could dig it on the first spin though, especially 'A Million Miles Away' sounds a lot like that band. Pallas introduces Alan Reed whose otherwise strong vocals suffer from the poppy Toto-like mix on most songs. The band has a crossover neo-prog style on this record, but does manage to pull of some great instrumental sections in most songs. The keyboards don't sound that bad at all and the guitars of Niall Matthewson are always pleasant. The poppy second track 'Throwing Stones at the Wind' - for instance - has a beautiful symphonic middle section. The second side is more progressive and has the longest track 'Ratracing' which combines some fine neo-prog moments with eighties stadion rock pastiche. The verses are quite strong here. The final track 'Just a Memory' has a nice reflective mood to it and could have been a strong Marillion track of that era. My favorite of this record. Pallas would make much better albums later on in their career, but I can imagine this being a nice relic from a depraved decade for those who witnessed it. The second side is quite good actually. Three stars it is then.
Report this review (#2542369)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2021 | Review Permalink
A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars A good album! Just not necessarily a progressive rock one. Pallas' second release came in 1986, after a strong live album and an even stronger debut album. Unfortunately, the Scottish band replaced singer Euan Lowson for this album, with a guy named Alan Reed, about whom I can say that does a great job for what the record is. And this record is essentially a solid 80s rock album, with the British neo-proggers dropping the epic edge of their music that was so prevalent in the preceding album 'The Sentinel', for a more arena rock-oriented sound, and focusing on writing catchier hooks - another aspect of their music that could be attributed as a strength of theirs.

And so, this 'commercialization', in a way, resulted in the band producing a compact 7-song album containing pretty strong, in my opinion, "jumpy", energetic 80s rock numbers, most of which will certainly get stuck in your head after a listen or two. This album is begins with the heaviest track one can find here - 'Dance Through the Fire'; it sounds like it came right off 'The Sentinel' sessions. 'Throwing Stones at the Wind' has this aforementioned poppier touch, but is nonetheless enjoyable. Maybe the band tried to add a tint of Marillion as well, but managed to do it in a way that does not make them sound like their clones. 'Win or Lose' has a simpler chorus and falls into the category of the more forgettable songs, followed by the great 'The Executioner' ? electrifying fast-paced 80s rocker, which could be appreciated by the unprejudiced listener. 'Rat Racing' features some interesting keyboard sounds and is a bit more adventurous in nature, while 'Just A Memory' shows that Pallas were good at writing slower songs, too. The re-release features some pretty decent bonus tracks, too.

As much as 'The Wedge' is enjoyable and fun, and definitely more lightweight than its predecessor, it lacks the epic touch on 'The Sentinel' and seems to be a more forgettable record. It is really just a good 80s rock album by a band that was obviously pursuing a wider audience.

Report this review (#2542580)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2021 | Review Permalink

PALLAS The Wedge ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of PALLAS The Wedge

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.