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THE SENTINEL

Pallas

Neo-Prog


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Pallas The Sentinel album cover
3.50 | 174 ratings | 40 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Shock Treatment (4:29)
2. Cut + Run (4:59)
3. Arrive Alive (4.05)
4. Rise And Fall (6:05) (part 1)
5. East West (4:58)
6. March On Atlantis (5:23)
7. Rise And Fall (part 2) (4:08)
8. Heart Attack (7:59)
9. Atlantis (7:59)
10. Ark of Infinity (7:05)

Total Time: 57:26

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ronnie Brown / synthesizers, piano
- Derek Forman / drums, percussion
- Euan Lowson / lead vocals
- Niall Mathewson / electric, acoustic & e-bow guitars, guitar-synthesizer
- Graeme Murray / bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar, backing & additional lead vocals

Releases information

CD Centaur Discs Ltd. CENCD 001 (1992)

CD Inside Out IOMCD058
Features CD-Rom track with rare video footage of the band

CD Inside Out TACS 002 SPV 087-31998 'The Artwork Collector?s Serie' (2004)
All CD?s in this series coming in a special 7" sized
cover and include a poster and postcards.
This CD is strictly limited and numbered to
only 3000 copies worldwide. A true collectors item.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Cesar Inca for the last updates
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PALLAS The Sentinel ratings distribution


3.50
(174 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
23%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (34%)
34%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

PALLAS The Sentinel reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars I will be careful not to hurt any feelings as I recognize this album's historical importance but it never did much to me but apparently a lot to a lot of people. As Scotland's main export in the world of prog ( Along with Fish - not the smoked salmon , you wise arse , the artist) , I was always more into Scotch wiskhey ( MacAllan 21 years of age) , but I must say I only discovered this in the mid 90's so that would make it 12 years old. I'll have to pull it out again in twelve years to see what it gives then.

One of the "neo-prog classic" that are so highly rated from the rather baren 80's, but not my style of music, hence the low rating.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#11945) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 01, 2004

Review by Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is one of the most talked about neo-progressive rock albums in the '80's. It has a reputation of being a masterpiece and a classic album in this genre. Despite all that, I hadn't heard it until InsideOut re-released it in the CD format this year, so it was with high expectations I started listen to it.

- This is a concept album with a war theme. The music is a mix between 70's bands such as EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, GENESIS, PINK FLOYD, RUSH and YES, and eighties and nineties bands such as ARENA, IQ, MARILLION and PENDRAGON. The high-quality compositions have great melody lines, intelligent lyrics, many instrumental passages, great musicianship, bombastic keyboards and intricate rhythm and mood changes. In a retrospective view the sound is very eighties, much due to the keyboard sound.

- Besides the tracks that were on the original release there's also some tracks that never made it onto the vinyl version. The CD also includes a Multimedia section with pictures and a video of the band performing "Atlantis" live on stage. The highlights on the album are "Cut and Run", "Eastwest", "March on Atlantis", "Heart Attack" and the closing "Ark of Infinity", but every track is a masterpiece in itself.

- The gatefold cover artwork by Patrick Woodroffe is very beautiful. It's very reminiscent to Roger Dean's works, and it illustrates the music very well. If I have some negative critic it would be that I might have had too big expectations on this album, because it didn't really fulfil my dreams. I even doubt that "The Sentinel" were such an innovative album when it was released. Despite my few negative words, this is without doubt an album that deserves its place as a classic album in the progressive genre. The compositions are top-notch, and all in all this are a highly recommended album that you ought to buy.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#11946) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Neo prog pioneers who released several albums and mini albums over the years with "The Sentinel" clearly remaining in my opinion their most aggressive and memorable album. I bought this album back in the early 90's and remember although having really enjoyed it reading articles trashing it. In fact to this day it seems to still be criticized in unfair light. "The Sentinel" is sort of a mix of early RUSH will elements of MARILLION and IQ, yet still reflective of their original musicianship. Combined with gorgeous art work (Patrick Woodroffe), excellent science fiction oriented lyrics and a highly thematic storyline, this wonderful concept album explores the lost world of Atlantis. PALLAS create heavy and dark atmospheres lead by the strong vocals of Euan Lowson, the accentuated Richenbacher bass jabs of Graeme Murray and the highly pompous keyboard runs of Ronnie Brown. Guitars (Niall Mathewson) are excellent with some superb playing and sound perfect against the aggressive drumming of Derek Forman. "The Sentinel" covers a wide spectrum of themes from highly symphonic moments to more aggressive rock derived structures. Several moments on this album are simply breathtaking and makes the hair stick up on my arm to this day when ever I hear the parts. A great little concept album which unlike many out there I do really enjoy (sorry gang it is my opinion).

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#11947) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is neo prog music from the mid 80's. The main strength is the keyboards: WOW! There are superb digital symphonic arrangements, floating atmospheric textures often reminding the second part of Genesis' Entangled; the melodic keyboards evoke anthemic moods: the music definitely sounds like Asia, Saga and Emerson Lake & POWELL. The keyboards are also very varied, modern, and they are seconded by very melodic guitar solos. The bass is very punchy, noisy, catchy, rhythmic and never monotonous. The drums are powerful and the lead vocals are very good. The songs are epic and very progressive, full of changing moods. All the songs are delightful, except "Arrive alive" and "Shock treatment", which are not bad despite not progressive: they rather have an slightly irritating pop beat. Because of that, I "only" give 4.5 stars!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#11958) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
2 stars I am very much afraid I must go against popular opinion on this album; I bought this on the strength of having seen them at the Reading Festival in 1983, and whilst I initially enjoyed it hugely, on further listenings, and most recently having dug out the vinyl album after reading the reviews on the site, I have to say I find the album a triumph of ideas over talent. This is a scathing comment, I know, but I find that apart from tracks such as Arrive Alive (a much earlier song of the band's, re-recorded for the album session) and Shock Treatment, they display a raft of good ideas without the ability to commit them to tape. They were not helped in this task by the choice of Eddie Offord as producer (picked specifically due to his earlier work with Yes - a band Pallas worshiped from afar) - the album was recorded at Offords studio, but the results were distinctly muddy.

Don't get me wrong, I wanted to like this album, but the more I listen to it, the less I hear - Brown & Mathewson on Keyboards/Guitar do their best, and have a lot of talent between them, but the writing is very average, shown especially on the Atlantis epic and Ark Of Infinity - they knew what they wanted to do, but in my humble opinion, were unable at the time to pull it off

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Send comments to Jim Garten (BETA) | Report this review (#11953) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Getting better all the time

Pallas' first studio album finds them refining their sound quickly from their debut live "Arrive alive" release, helped in no small part by Eddie Offord assuming production duties. Only the live album's title track survives as a studio track, and is something of a weak link here.

Euan Lowson's distinctive vocals help to give the album something of a unique quality. The band are often compared to Yes, Genesis, Rush, and even Arena, but any influences those bands had on the music of Pallas is well disguised. The quality of the tracks improves as the album goes on, "Rise and fall part 1" introducing a linked suite of tracks in the best prog style.

The final three tracks are the best. Each clocks in at 7-8 minutes and features majestic instrumentation. The finale to the penultimate track "Atlantis" sounds very much like the conclusion of the album, such is the build up and the all hands to the pumps structure. At the start of the actual last track, "Ark of infinity" Lowson does a deadringer for Greg Lake, the track rounding off things with the hope that more of the same was to come on future albums.

An excellent first studio album. The remastered CD includes and interesting CD-ROM section.

(Thanks to my friend Tommy for introducing me to Pallas.)

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#11954) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Review by Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Sentinal has a good idea at the heart of it. An idea, which upon execution falls over more than it stands up, unfortunatly. This concept album, about the rise and fall of Atlantis, was the second effort by the Scotts proggers. The album is produced by Eddie Offord - of Yes production fame - and is adorned in splendid, albeit rather Yessy artwork. I first purchased this on vinyl back in 1984, and I have to say that although I was blown away by it at the time, I had not heard much of the bands that had clearly inspired Pallas. Bands who were, without a doubt much better than them! Nevertheless, The Sentinal gave me enormous pleasure at the time. I loved the idea of concept albums, and long epic tracks full of emotion, and intricate musicianship. Pallas hit the spot on these accounts, but my re-appraisal of this potentially brilliant album, is that there is just a little too much cheese and overblown gospel emotion for me to take it seriously these days. I was dissapointed, also by the re-mastering of the CD. It sounds like the drums are being played in an empty subway; all reverb, and biggness, none of the dry bite that they had on the vinyl. I also hate it when the running order is changed. Arrive Alive used to open the vinyl album - probably the best track on the album for me. On this CD the opener is 'Shock treatment' which reaks of eurovision pop/rock, but does have some good dramtic moments in between the verses and choruses. There is no doubting the skill of Pallas as musicians, and this album holds some great memories for me of a good time for music. Hi-lights are 'Arrive Alive' 'Cut and Run' 'Ark of Infinity' Low points are 'Shock treatment' and the closing section of 'Atlantis' which leaves one not knowing whether to laugh or cry, with its gospel wailings, calling for the world to join hands as one. Nice sentiment, but if I'd wanted this I would have probably gone out and brought something diabolical by some American 80's soul diva.

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Send comments to Blacksword (BETA) | Report this review (#11955) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Review by chessman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This was one of the few albums to interest me in the notoriously dull and boring eighties music scene. Along with "Script" by Marillion, this kept the prog scene somewhat alive, although things were to get worse before they got better in the succeeding years. I now own the remastered cd of "The Sentinel", which has three extra tracks. These tracks are in no way fillers however. They are all part of the "Sentinel" concept, although they were omitted from the original vinyl. The running order is also different from the original, as that opened with "Arrive Alive", then called "Eyes In The Night". "Shock Treatment" opened side two of the old disc. Anyway, the music is rather fine on this cd. There are strong vocal performances from Euan Lowson; sadly he left the band after this. There are also some nice backing vocals here, especially on "Shock Treatment". The first three tracks are not related to the "Sentinel" concept, but stand alone, and are all fine prog tracks. "Cut And Run" especially has some nice prog elements. What stands out on this album is the dominance of the keyboards. Although eighties influenced, they sound clear and warm, and haven't really dated. The guitar work is more to the background, with the occasional flourish bought to the fore. This works far better for me than the droves of pseudo heavy metal guitar driven tracks that blight a lot of modern prog albums. The rest of the album, after the first three pieces, all belong to the "Sentinel" concept. The three bonus songs, "Eastwest", "March On Atlantis" and "Heart Attack", all fit in well with the original tracks and the whole suite provides a nice landscape of sound, with the instruments nicely balanced. The drums at times sound a bit dated, and the lyrics are predictable, along the lines of "East fights west but peace must win out". (Never heard that one before!) Over all though, this is a fine album. I can't really compare them to any other band. They are different to their contemporaries, eg: Marillion, Pendragon and IQ, and don't sound like the great old bands either. Nevertheless, this is an excellent debut and should be heard. Unfortunately, the band went rather downhill after this (judging from the awful "Beat The Drum". See my review for that. Not prog at all, or at least not original.) but this is worth more than a listen. A nice cover too, which could almost have come off a Yes album!

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#11957) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is one of the highlights from the neo-progressive movement, what a compelling blend of hardrock and symphonic rock! The first two tracks "Shock treatment" and "Cut and run" features harder-edged guitarwork, bombastic keyboards, a strong Chris Squire-like (Rickenbacker) bass sound and great vocals, this band has such a power and energy! The song "East west" is a very moving piece featuring powerful and emotional vocals ("the politicians lie before my eyes", nothing changed since 1986..!), wonderful pianoplay, Moog Taurus bass pedals, sensitive electric guitar and majectic choir-Mellotron, GOOSE BUMPS!! These goose bumps return even more .. in the next composition "March on Atlantis" because of one of the most breathtaking choir-Mellotron eruptions I've ever heard and it delivers such a contrast with the tender piano and warm vocals in the mellow parts. OK, not every track on this album is at the level of the aforementioned songs but THIS CD IS VERY MEMORABLE NEO-PROG!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#41345) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars At time this album was released in 1984, prog music was considered dead by many music critics especially those who focus on early prog wave in the seventies with sorts of symphonic or space psychedelic music. Marillion just released their second full fledge album "Fugazi" after their successful debut "Script for A Jester's Tear" with major label EMI behind them. So when this album came out I paid a very little attention to "The Sentinel" because I was totally immersed with the music of Marillion and I had no time exploring others, really, until I got everything I know with the first two full albums of Marillion. Consequently, I did not spin the Sentinel album quite enough to formulate my view. When the digital era arrived to us, I purchased the Inside Out edition (enhanced CD) released in 2001.

The music of "The Sentinel" sounded too rough for my personal taste (then and now) as their composition seemed like being forced that way not following a natural flow. This especially happen in the first three tracks "Shock Treatment", "Cut and Run" as well as "Arrive Alive". Keyboard seems like the main instrument that dominates the music; supported by solid bass lines by the mastermind and founder Graeme Murray. This does not mean that guitar does not contribute a lot. Indeed, stunning guitar solo in the opening track has helped enrich the arrangement. "Shock Treatment" reminds me clearly to the emerging neo prog era. "Cut and Run" (4:59) is composed using a pop beat packaged in a bit symphonic style. "Arrive Alive" (4.05) reminds me to the music of Saga. Well, actually there are influences from Saga throughout this album, not only limited to this track.

I don't know what is the particular reason to split "Rise and Fall" part 1 and two with quite distance as there are two tracks in between. These two parts combined together form an epic. The opening keyboard work of part 1 is really symphonic in nature. The music combines medium tempo upbeat music and some quieter passages which features vocals accentuated with keyboard and symphonic music. "East West" (4:58) is a mellow track with keyboard textures that remind me to the music of Symphonic Slam. Melodic and nice composition. "March On Atlantis" (5:23) continues the mellow style, continued with "Rise And Fall" (part 2) (4:08) with a kind like haunting intro inserted with piano touches. Euan Lowson singing style is a kind of theatrical in nature and it suits with the overall flow of the music that emphasizes the symphonic style. The guitar playing style reminds me to neo prog guitar solo work augmented with mellow and floating rhythm.

Through "Heart Attack" (7:59) Euan demonsrates his theatrical capability excellently. It's one of the best songs Pallas has ever created, even though it tends getting bored due to the slow tempo. But the song is awesome. When you listen to this song during night time with all lights go off, you may hear the subtleties this song offers. The music turns to high points as the passages of time, giving a full blown neo prog music. At the ending part I can see a similar style of Van der Graaf Generator's "La Rossa" especially on the drumbeats. Not a rip off, definitely! "Atlantis" (7:59) is another symphonic music with medium-fast tempo combining good keyboard and guitar works. The album concludes beautifully with "Ark of Infinity" (7:05) which is melodic and nicely composed - featuring stunning guitar solo and long sustain keyboard work. The music turns into faster tempo with solid bass lines by Graeme and stunning keyboard solo.

On musicianship, I think Pallas has all talented musicians here. Graeme Murray is excellent with his Rickenbecker bass guitar, Niall Mathewson is an excellent guitar player with full touch of neo progressive music, Ronnie Brown also does stunning keyboard; augmented with good drumming by Derek Forman. Euan Lowson is a good neo prog vocalist. Overall, this is a recommended album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#46306) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005

Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Euon Lowson had charisma. I saw Pallas play live in a small sweaty Scottish venue with 200 or so people in the palm of his hands. The Heathery Bar in Wishaw had small tables seating 5-6 to a table,and a well stocked and very busy bar. A small dance floor was to the front of the stage. No one danced. Pallas played The Heathery twice,and on the second visit Euon had been replaced. Something was definitely missing the second time. Euon was a showman,he put his soul into the songs. I remember he put on some kind of mask/helmet with lots of mirrors on it during one song. The prop was held in his hands and moved slowly towards his head during the song,being placed fully on at the climax of the track. The meagre lighting offered by the venue was still sufficient to cast a dazzling array of light and reflections,in turn blinding and illuminating. The effect,along with the stunning music, was almost hypnotic. This album is Pallas at their best. Rise and Fall parts one and two, and Ark of Infinity are pure class,theatrical prog reminiscent of Gabriel and Genesis. Play this album and imagine Euon grabbing the attention of an 18 year old,who was yet to be enthralled by a band called Marillion,at the same venue,later that year.What a treat.

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Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#54671) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 04, 2005

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It still DOES for me - this poppy cheesy Neo-Prog!!! ;-) A Classical One from the Golden Neo Era.Pretty poppish in the beginning (but East West is bloody good anyway!),but certainly great in the end - the last 3 epics(especially "Ark of Infinity" with its DARK opening tune) always work OK for me."Join hands as one"(c) and enjoy one of the best Neo releases ever!!!Highly recommended!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#89851) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pallas first official release by a major company is kind of a mixed bag. It has some prog numbers, but also some rockier stuff. They certainly were quite unique at the time, being very different from other neo prog acts pioneers like Marillion and IQ. Instead of Pink Floyd and Genensis overtones, they sound heavier, a bit Yes influenced, specially in terms of lyrics, but still their had an edge, and this made them stand out.

Composition wise, The Sentinel does not fulfill its objective. The rockier numbers (Shock Treatment, Cut And Run, Arrive Alive) are very good ones, with great chorus and nice guitar and keyboards work. They rock, and still they are unmistakingly progressive in both structure and arrangement. Nice work. The prog concept suite (Atlantis) on the other hand has its good moments, but is far less effetive, lacking focus and better structure. Maybe they were not mature enough to handle such an ambitious task. And there is East West, a song that reeks of Eloy in every aspect (except the vocal). It could be on Inside or Might Cries. Very interesting

So The Sentinel has this uneven feel, not helped by the production. Although credited to Eddie Offord (of Yes fame) it could be a lot better. Still, they show some promise and you can only be sorry for Euan Lowson not staying longer with the band. It would be nice to see how they would handle the band if he was around. Unfortunatly their next move would be the near disaster The Wedge. It would take them more than a decade to prove they could mature to become what The Sentinel promises. Long time, but they did.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#119151) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Pallas arrived as one of the bands amongst the early eighties British Neo Prog movement. Hailing from Scotland they were one of the major players in the scene alongside the likes of Marillion and IQ. Obviously influenced by the seventies giants like Yes and Genesis but also displaying Popier sensibilities on their shorter tracks giving their sound a commercial edge at least some of the time. They were lucky enough to secure the services of Yes Producer Eddie Offord and the sound overall is pretty good.

It would appear the album has grown in size somewhat since I bought my original vinyl version (from which I do my review) which had six tracks in total. The cd version has added a few tracks and the running order has been changed too.

The first two tracks on my version are Eyes in the Night (Arrive Alive) and Cut and Run and both display the more commercial side of the band. Both are solid enough though not spectacular. In fact it's the longer tracks that work best giving the band chance to stretch out a bit. Rise and Fall is an excellent example and the band go through lots of changes from the military style drum driven intro into melodic vocal parts and well constructed instrumental sections with a nice slow build finale with a tastefully played Guitar solo to fade. This track has now been divided into two parts for the cd version!

Shock Treatment is perhaps the best of the shorter tracks, an up tempo song with a strong vocal melody. Ark of Infinity and Atlantis are both over seven minutes. Atlantis was the album closer on the original version but Ark of Infinity closes the cd version and not such a good way to end in my opinion. Atlantis is much the stronger of the two having an epic feel with some lovely keyboard textures with a very grandiose finish.

As for the quality of the additional tracks on the cd version I am unable to comment having not heard them. What I can say though is that The Sentinel was a good album from Pallas, if not up to the quality of their predecessors and in the eighties helped give us hope that Progressive Rock still had a life.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#151641) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For the first time since I do my ratings and reviews on this site I will have to change my initial rating (three instead of two stars). The reason is that I listened to this album once or twice a few years ago and was pretty disappointed by what I heard and decided for two stars. I did the rating only because I was put off and didnt feel like the review.

Recently I decided to go for the review after all and went for several listenings because of that. Right now Im quite surprised of what I heard. This is not the less than mediocre effort I had stuck in my memory, its simply a pretty good album although miles away for anything near a masterpiece. But two stars is selling it short too much I feel right now. The reason I didnt feel anything positive at first was that I expected way more of one of the earlier more famous neo albums in history. To some people this is even the magnum opus of Pallas but listening to it in that kind of expectation it can only leave you behind pretty disappointed. Now I heard the album more thoroughly while expecting nothing good at all I suddenly feel less negative.

The disappointing thing about Pallas and The Sentinel is the lack of great instrumental passages in almost all songs. Its just in the last two songs that they show something in that department but apart from those two highlights the rest album is somewhere between average and good. Almost all songs score somewhere between 3 and 3,5 stars for me. I guess the worst song (third track) is the reason I gave it a two star rating at first. But in the end I feel three stars is the only correct score I can think of.

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Posted Monday, February 04, 2008

Review by The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A good debut from Pallas, this still remains as a development of Pallas's sound, as with most debut albums. This is still a neo-prog gem, but Pallas have yet to reach higher levels with Beat The Drum and CATC. The highlights of the album have to be Shock Treatment, Rise and Fall (part 1), Heart Attack (crediting The Who and Yes) and Ark of Infinite. Atlantis and East West are OK, but the remnant tracks are really quite lame IMHO, especially Arrive Alive. Cut + Run is basically an attempt to create strange a time signature, and equally a failure.

Despite its obvious flaws, it is a good album, nowhere near the leagues of a masterpiece. 3 stars - Good, but non-essential.

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Posted Friday, February 22, 2008

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For the Lowson years, "The Sentinel" was the definitive reference of what Pallas stood for as part of the British 80s new wave of prog rock. Unlike most of Pallas' companions, their basic sound didn't receive a massive influence from Genesis and Camel, but from late 70s Rush, "Drama"-era Yes and "Animals"- era PF, plus some hard rock undertones inherited from Deep Purple as well as standard AOR, and some new-wave infections, too. You can tell from the prevalent keyboard inputs provided by Ronnie Brown and the featured bass interventions by Graeme Murray that there is more influence from Wakeman and Squire/Geddy Lee in Pallas' global style than the "mandatory" Hackett-Banks element; there are also some Lifeson leanings in a host of Matthewsons' leads. A concept-album about Atlantis regarding the dangers of war and the need for a new worldwide pacifist conscience (remember that this was a time when the atom bomb was a permanent concern in society, consciously or subconsciously), "The Sentinel" had its first public appearance as a "castrated" vinyl that even included a remaining track from the "Arrive Alive" years. Yes, it was actually the title track, serving a catchy yet irrelevant opener for the concept to be developed. Now, with the CD edition, we have the concept as it was originally conceived without thinking about vinyl constraints and stuff like that. 'Shock Treatment' kicks off the CD's repertoire with effective catchiness and appealing power, a power that is immediately enhanced with a much proggier sophistication in 'Cut and Run' (a perpetual Pallas staple). 'Arrive Alive (Eyes in the Night)' keeps the punchy momentum, but by now I wish I had some art-rock predominance instead of an insistence on the potential catchiness of neo-prog. So here comes a welcome 'Rise and Fall (Part 1)', harboring artsy structures that bear that typically Rushed-up Yessian sound that Pallas took as a main model. Since I had gotten used to my vinyl edition, I felt and still feel a bit weird about this epic being divided in two separate parts, but luckily, the tracks set in between are awesome. There is the majestic power ballad 'East West' (here's a manifesto from a young generation concerned about the atomic menace destroying their lives before their time): a special mention goes to Matthewson's solo, arguably his best in the entire CD. There is also the eerie 'March on Atlantis', which alternates ethereal moods and martial mid-tempo deliveries that stand somewhere between somberness and light. The soliloquy at the end of 'Rise and Fall (Part 2)' culminates the solemnity built up by 'East West' and 'March on Atlantis'. I like the whole suite in itself but. why did the final guitar lead have to be diminished by a fade-out that comes in too soon? Anyway, a good concept, like I said. 'Heart Attack' delivers a perfect, complete set of moods: unjustly underrated after the passing of time, this gem should be recued for the band's live setlists more often. 'Atlantis' and 'Ark of Infinity' fulfill the concept with ideas of human unity and new starts: 'Atlantis' is the most bombastic piece in the album (its melodic development picks up some melodies from 'Cut and Run'), including a pacifist anthem right before the Wagnerian coda; 'Ark of Infinity' is a slow epic with a fast interlude (brilliant bass lines in there - cheers, Graeme!). Perhaps the fact that this track's grandeur is les pronounced than the previous track's coda may shock the listener (especially after you got used to the vinyl's tracklist), but all in all, the sequence feels right, generally speaking. So many years after the first listen and 2-3 years after listening for the last time, I remain convinced that "The Sentinel" deserves its status as a neo-prog classic. Pallas took real advantage of their creative juices back then for this monster concept: in perspective, the old vinyl edition was just an extended sampler.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#182416) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is one of the pre-historical neo-prog album. But there was an even more prehistoric one (Script of course). And this album sometimes borrow some ideas from the genuine Marillion gang (Rise & Fall).

There are also some post new-wave music featured in here (Cut & Run) some AOR-ish pop song (Arrive Alive) as if the band was hesitating on which direction to give to their career.

Unlike the superb debut of the genuine Marillion, there are no such great anthems available here. It is also true to say that both bands didn't play into the same division. Most songs are pleasant but few are jewels. You know the story, right?

I quite like the nice rock ballad Eastwest: the melody is moving, it features fine vocals and keys are outstanding. I just hope there would be more of this type in this debut album.

Actually, the album improves while advancing: Heart Attack is a very good song and instead of saying that this band sounds as this one or that one, I would rather tell about their influence upon bands such as Grey Lady Down.

Of course there are some passages which sounds as dj vu, like the instrumental intro of Atlantis (fully Genesis oriented), but let's not forget that this was the essence of this young style back then (85). The closing instrumental section is yet another fine moment of this good album.

The most symphonic and bombastic of all tracks is Ark Of Infinity as if the band was a bit embarrassed to sound differently and wanted to get back to more traditional prog sounds.

In all, I would point out the good vocals from Euan Lowson and the very good guitar work form Niall Mathewson. A good album indeed.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#183676) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Shock treatment

The Sentinel was Pallas' studio debut, but it wasn't their first release as three years earlier they had released the rather weak live album Arrive Alive. Much had happened in the meantime, we may assume, as only a single track from that album survived for this one, namely the title track Arrive Alive, which is probably the weakest track on The Sentinel. The sound had changed significantly from three years previous, but we will never know what the older songs featured on Arrive Alive might have sounded like, had they been given the studio treatment. The two versions of Arrive Alive (the song) are, after all, quite different from each other. Anyway, The Sentinel is an altogether different beast compared to Arrive Alive (the album) even if, in my opinion, the band had still yet to find their own musical identity at this point. Euan Lowson, who still was the vocalist on this album, has a much less distinctive voice compared to Alan Reed who would take over vocal duties for the next album.

It was not easy to be a Rock musician with progressive ambitions in the early 80's and the record company did indeed pressure Pallas into including their shorter, more commercial tracks on this album and thus shatter the band's initial plans to devote the entire album to the Atlantis suite. The 2004 reissue (which is the only one I've heard) remedies this to a degree where the shorter tracks are put up front followed by the complete Atlantis suite, in the form the band originally intended. It is a good one for sure, but it does not hold up well compared to the band's recent works such as the equally conceptual The Cross And The Crucible from 2001 which is a true masterpiece. The Sentinel sounds a bit dated today and it is not very well recorded. Personally, I prefer the recent live recording of the Atlantis suite from the great concert DVD The Blinding Darkness featuring Alan Reed on vocals.

The Sentinel is good, but not the classic it is often claimed to be

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#224146) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars An interesting acquaintance

Thinking of neo-prog, I was expecting something relatively different than what PALLAS deliver in their studio debut, and especially in the first part of the record. THE SENTINEL, as it is presented in CD format (different order from LP), can be separated in three parts with imaginable lines after tracks 3 and 7 respectively. From the band's first live release in 1981, only Arrive Alive remains here, giving an idea of that album's musical approach.

The first three tracks have in common a somewhat sophisticated pop-rock approach from Britain's mid-80's. The sound of these compositions personally remind me of the goth/punk pop-rock wave that was dominant at that time; lots of keyboards, strange vocals and a well-created darkish atmosphere. From these tracks (which all sound at least pleasant and interesting), Arrive Alive sounds as the most mainstream track with obvious AOR references (a reviewer has successfully referred to SAGA).

As their predecessors, tracks 4-7 range from 4-6 minutes but this is where the similarities stop. Rise and Fall pt.1 starts off with a well-known bombastic intro and falls in a sophisticated mid-tempo with odd vocals, slowing down in the refrain and producing the proggiest moments in the album so far with exciting eclectic keyboards. The ''Atlantis'' theme seems to be revealed in this track and continues in the rest of the record, along with an ELOY feeling that seems to flow through the lyrics and the way the vocals are sung. East West is a ballad that continues in the same thematic vein and atmosphere with the previous track but with much mellower parts and melodic pianos.

March on Atlantis picks up with Vangelis-like intros and epic heavy rhythm-sections which are accompanied by operatic keyboards. After the first half the track turns in a mellow vocal-piano section to conclude the track as it commenced. Rise and Fall pt.2 flows in a similar slow tempo, but this time the vocals are spoken (rather than sung) in the vein of the lyrical theme and only towards the end of the track do the guitars pick up in soloing.

The last part of the album consists of 3 relatively longer (7-8 minute) tracks. Heart Attack is a brilliant example of theatrical vocals and strong melodies. The track flows in slow tempo again with beautiful pianos and livens up slightly half way through to a more mid-tempo approach. The closest reference to describe the music is IQ, especially in the mid-tempo sections and the melodies. Atlantis is a generally more dynamic track with an epic opening part and a vivid, full-of-vocals middle part. Lots of experimental parts here interchange with electronic vocals and spacey keyboards. The second part of the song is dominated by Lowson's vocals and a pompous outro. Similarly Ark of Infinity continues the same thematic approach with lots of adventurous bass playing and bombastic keyboards. The main experimental theme gives its place to a dreamy section that concludes the album.

I am not sure how differently the LP version sounds, but in this format, the tracks 4-10 seem to follow a common pattern, and especially the last three. The neo-prog that PALLAS are presenting makes only few references to YES (Ark of Infinity) and reminds me strongly of an ELOY atmosphere in albums like OCEAN, primarily in the lyrical/theatrical approach. The bombastic operatic parts resemble slightly to VANGELIS and other prog-electronic musicians (TIM BLAKE) and the neo-prog music elements themselves can be found in IQ and maybe ARENA albums (could not see a resemblance to MARILLION). This is a somewhat strange neo release that takes some time to digest. Excluding the first three decent pop-rock tracks, the rest of the album has an interesting cohesion that prog fans are urged to explore.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#256320) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pallas - The Sentinal (1984)

To start all over again

Since I discovered the seventies progressive movements I'm not that interested in neo-prog anymore. I used to like Arena and IQ a lot, but it's all RPI, Canterbury and Symphoprog these days. As we all know the eighties weren't a highlight for our beloved progressive genre and so we are used to embrace those who at least tried to make good prog during the eighties. Marillion is a good example, but Pallas is also one of the bands that re-started the genre.

The influence this album had isn't to be underestimated though. Those who know modern neo-prog bands will recognize it's sound directly when listening to this early offering of the genre. The keyboards sound modern, the guitars have that eighties dryness and the drums and bass are an acquired taste. The music lacks in interesting concepts and good (or even reasonable) lyrics are not to be found here.

The Sentinal is a man with two faces. The original vinyl record (which I own) has some difference in how the songs are placed on the album. Side one: Arrive Alive, Cut and Run, Rise and Fall. Side two: Shock Treatment, Ark of Infinity, Atlantis. This cut of side one and two is symbolical for the cut in the quality of the music.

On side one the first two songs Arive Alive and Cut and Run are horrible eighties tracks with all clichs and horrible recording techniques. The last song of side one is the first progressive track.

Side two is different. The up-tempo Shock Treatment shows some Arena like progressions and ideas. The magic begins with Ark of Infinity which can be seen as a good neo-prog track. The main theme sounds inspired and it seems like the band has found some great atmospheres to get their compositional qualities active. The best track is however the impressive symphonic Atlantis, which is a full-grown bombastic neo-prog epic.

Conclusion. As a whole this album isn't that good, but the second side of this record is worthwhile and I can recommend Ark of Infinity and Atlantis for those who embrace the digital age. This is only for neo-proggers and people who want to know about the development of the progressive genre. Three stars.

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Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The story of Pallas' debut album is one filled with intrigue, deceit, arguments and missed opportunities that perfectly illuminates the big record companies complete fear of progressive rock. Released in 1984, two years after Marillion's breakthrough debut 'A Script For Jester's Tear' and featuring legendary Yes producer Eddie Offord, 'The Sentinel' was meant to be EMI's next big hit, following in the footsteps of Fish and company. Sadly, and due to EMI's chicken- livered stance, 'The Sentinel' failed to live up to those lofty expectations. The Scottish group had spent months piecing together an ambitious concept album based on the cold war and were given the time, money and resources to realize their lofty ideas. Offord was installed to add his prog expertise to the mix(this was, after all, the guy who produced 'Close To The Edge' amongst others) and the band wrote a series of interlocking pieces designed to be heard in a set order. So far, so good. But then EMI stepped in. Unhappy with the overall tone and style of 'The Sentinel' an over-zealous record company rejected many of the band's more overtly- progressive pieces, tampered with the all-important running order and re-mixed several tracks to give them a more 'pop' sheen. To add insult to injury Offord seemed completely un- interested in the project and the release date was set back more than six months. So, despite featuring some of the finest cover-art to ever grace a rock album thanks to noted fantasy artist Patrick Lyons-Campbell, 'The Sentinel' was a commercial disappointment and Pallas would soon fragment. Lead-singer Euan Lowson left the fold to be eventually replaced by Alan Reed and Pallas' once burgeoning career disappeared into the night, their original promise frittered away by a record company scared of failure. The album itself is by no means dreadful but it's pretty obvious that the group were press-ganged into creating music that was much more radio-friendly than what they were used to doing. The overall style of 'The Sentinel' is synth- heavy pop-rock, and although it features at least one blistering rack in the shape of 'Arrive Alive', there is actually very little to recommend to died-in-the-wool prog fans. Check out their excellent 1982 release based on that one great song from 'The Sentinel', called 'Arrive Alive' as well, which is a live album showcasing the band's original progressive style and showing just what the world missed when EMI ruthlessly decimated this once promising group's debut album. Shame, shame, shame. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#293233) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is certainly one of the earlier Neo-Prog albums as it was released in 1984 by these Scottish progsters.They had already released a live album and an EP up to this point, in fact "Arrive Alive" and "Heart Attack" that are on here were taken from the live LP released a year earlier.This is a concept album about the Russia / USA cold war set in Atlantis. Or so i'm told. The band signed with EMI for this their first studio album and wanted to make it a double album but the record label refused. I must admit PALLAS is a band i've had a hard time getting into for some reason and judging by the reviews here there are a lot of fans but also many like myself who are quite indifferent to this album. On a positive note they do use mellotron on all but one track.

"Shock Treatment" has this epic intro then it picks up with vocals. Guitar leads the way after 3 minutes then the vocals return to lead once again. "Cut And Run" is uptempo with drums out front.Vocals join in. It settles before 2 1/2 minutes with bass, drums and spoken words before kicking back in instrumentally to end it. "Arrive Alive" is one I just can't get into at all with it's uptempo beat and vocals leading the way. "Rise And Fall (Part 1)" has an epic intro like the first tune then it settles in around a minute. Nice bass as the vocals join in. It settles with spoken words after 4 1/2 minutes then kicks back in with guitar leading then vocals. "Eastwest" opens with the wind blowing. A beat with vocals before a minute takes over. It settles with spoken vocals 3 minutes in then it kicks back in. We get a brief guitar solo around 4 minutes.

"March In Atlantis" opens with piano only then reserved vocals come in. It picks up 2 minutes in and it's heavier too before returning to that earlier sound 3 1/2 minutes in. "Rise And Fall (Part 2)" opens with piano and atmosphere. Spoken words come in. Drums and bass before 2 minutes as words are spoken.The guitar cries out before 3 1/2 minutes. "Heart Attack" gets fuller around a minute with vocals. It settles back as contrasts continue. "Atlantis" has a powerful intro with chunky bass. It settles some 1 1/2 minutes in then the vocals come in as the tempo picks up. Spoken words come and go in this one. "Ark Of Infinity" is mellow early on then the vocals come in with drums. It sounds better after 3 minutes then it settles back as reserved vocals join in before kicking back in at 6 minutes.

3 stars at the very most, in fact a low 3 star rating.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#356128) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
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.

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Posted Monday, December 20, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars The Sentinel is a bonafide classic Neo prog album

I was drawn to this for the sole reason that I had recently acquired the latest 2011 Pallas "XXV" album which is the sequel to "The Sentinel" and, although the original was released on vinyl in 1984 it really stands the test of time. Song after song of absolute classic neo prog is the result on this debut. It is a stunning achievement for a debut album as everything seems to fit into place perfectly. Graeme Murray keeps perfect time on Rickenbacker bass, Niall Mathewson is an accomplished guitarist, and the percussion work of Derek Forman is appropriate for the marches and crescendos. The main drawcard for me though is Ronnie Brown who is a revelation on keyboard, one of the best I have heard. The massive wall of sound generated by multi layered keyboards and guitars is quite astounding. The high register vocals of Euan Lowson lifts the music to a majestic level, especially on the powerful brilliant EastWest".

The concept is heavy handed but is based around a search for Atlantis that will bring peace to the East and the West that are at war, the politicians are liars who can do nothing to quell the disputes. 1000 years of peace will be destroyed is something is not done, so the answer must be found by reaching a higher level of existence, a higher level of thinking. The joining together of one mind on the battlefield seems to be the answer for the nations to join hands as one and be at peace. Well, it worked for the 80s with the atomic scare of the bomb and other nuclear threats looming.

"Shock Treatment you won't feel the pain, shock treatment you'll cry out in vain, hold out your heart be ready to take all that's coming" "Shock Treatment"really grew on me over time and it is quite an infectious rocker.

"Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, run from the gun, plead for your life" "Cut and Run" has a killer riff that drives it along, and the proggy time shifts are wonderful, especially that extra beat that doesn't belong. It is one of the best songs on the album, very heavy and ominous, especially the layered keyboards and atmospherics. The keyboard solo is effective, and I love the way the lead guitar chimes in with upsweeps and warm reverberation.

There are symphonic passages of music such as the intro to "Rise and fall 1", and there are heavier songs such as "Arrive Alive", the single on the album, and it sounds like it too; a retro 80s catchy track with an emphasis on harmonies and melodies with a sing-a-long chorus, "Arrive Alive, we're heading for home before the dawn comes, Arrive Alive, eyes in the night, keeping me right, and guiding me ". This song has a fantastic lead guitar solo and ELP like keyboards. It is very cliched with 80s sounds and is reminiscent of early Saga.

"A quest for knowledge, the people of the East grew tired of peace, the storm clouds gathered, confrontation one could forsee, a thousand years of peace destroyed, people of the West had nowhere to run so the killing begun." The tracks "Rise and Fall" part 1 and 2 are separated between a few others and it is difficult to understand as to what is the purpose of this separation, however Pallas are not afraid to create lengthy songs; the 3 last songs are over 7 minutes long. The first part of the epic has some great musical breaks, it sounds like 80s Rush; the bassline pulsates nicely like Geddy Lee and the guitars have that Alex Lifeson reverb sound. Underneath the music is a foundation of strong sustained keyboards, swathes of synths upon synths. The second part of the song has more wind howls that build a sense of dread with oriental piano chords and gongs resounding over whispered phrases. It builds to the spoken monologue about Atlantis that "sank slowly to the depths of the ocean".

"East West" alone is a masterpiece, uplifting, epic and unforgettable. It is perhaps the best track on the album, and I found myself listening to it more than any part of the album, it really stays in the conscious, and is so well sung and accompanied by keyboards that it would be difficult to emulate on the live stage one would imagine. It begins with howling wind and a very nice violined guitar sound. The lyrics are emotive and affecting; "the man in the street, there's fear on his face, takes what he wants, he doesn't lead from the other man's place, now the creed is consuming the whole human race, the politicians lie before my eyes." It continues to build tension and release till the epic uplifting instrumental finale.

"March On Atlantis" is melancholy and melodic, with huge keyboard washes cascading over a steady beat. There are some minimalist piano sections, and keyboard swells that are ethereal and foreboding. There is a genuine mystical quality to the sound that transports one to another place. There is a dark beauty, and It is even spacey and psychedelic in the last section of the song, the piano keeping a steady rhythm.

"Heart Attack" is a theatrical showpiece for Euan reminiscent of early Gabriel injected Genesis. It is a definitive highlight, that crawls along patiently but has some absolutely beautiful instrumentation lulling one into a dream. The guitar figure in the intro is gentle and the vocals are softer for a time; "in this manufactured heart attack they have done their politicians, 10, 000 years on they'll be lying still". The keyboard swells are excellent creating tension, and Euan sounds more like Fish in this song. When he sings "Beam me up" it is perhaps too cliched for its own good, but we have to remind ourselves that this was the 80s so it is going to date in some places. It is a great song by any standards with a complex structure and multi-faceted compositional directions.

"Atlantis" is worthy of mentioning too with all its subtle textures, monologues, and some really strange lyrics; "all the world have joined hands as one, the first time since the world has begun". It gets into some corny territory when Euan implores the nations to join hands and be at peace, but that is the thematic content of the album. The theme of peace is strong or the search for an ultimate answer to all the wars; a new age dawn of civilization. The music is reminiscent of 80s Rush in places and has a strong beat on drums and bass. The twin lead guitar break is terrific. It is one of the highlights on the album despite it's anthemic bombastic content, the ominous pounding keyboard motif is unforgettable. It is better than Donovan's quirky version that's for certain.

"Ark of Infinity" is driven by a strong melody and massive keyboards and guitar chords that build to a full crescendo. It begins with a flute sound, kind of oceanic, like a sea shanty, then it builds to the strong drum beat. The lyrics finish the strange tale with a wonderful melodic vocal; "all we leave behind is tainted by tears, our tomorrows lie ahead there in the stars, reaching for the stars in seven heavens, into the haven of the night, formations lying like peace, we are free." The guitars are spacey and trade off beautifully with keyboard washes. A Tarkus like keyboard sound follows with an undulating bassline, and it builds to a new time sig change, the mood is positive with bright rays of keyboard splashes and dynamic guitars. It settles into a chime rhythm and guitar swells, a gorgeous warmth in the lead playing, and the atmosphere is more a science fiction feel with Euan soft and reflective, "planet earth is shrinking, onwards through the night, our hearts beat as one, our journey's begun." The main theme returns delightfully carried by powerful vocals and the sensational guitar reverbs. The finale is a huge instrumental that is dynamic and powerful. It sounds like Pink Floyd in some ways. What a classic way to finish this innovative album.

So this album is well deserved of its classic status. I admire the way that the time signatures are varied and unexpectant in places, missing a beat or generating polyrhythms and atonal dissonance. Yet beyond the bombastic majesty of the music the album is accessible for sensitive ears. Indeed some songs sound quite commercial while retaining an edginess worthy of the neo prog genre. The music is reminiscent of Marilion or ELP for the most part with Saga, Pink Floyd and Rush musical moments. The melodies are so memorable and powerful, the singing is so amazing it is a real shame this was Euan's last album with Pallas. It is a classic and one of the shining lights during the dark mid 80s when prog struggled to retain any semblance of respect. You have to give credit to bands like Pallas who succeeded in keeping the dream alive.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#419056) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 21, 2011

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The first studio album from this Scottish Neo-Prog band, they had previously released a live album called Arrive Alive. This album was produced by Eddie Offord and there was some controversy about his involvement. Being big fans of Yes and ELP, the members of Pallas were grateful for the oppurtunity to work with Offord. Apparently, they did not like his results and had the album remixed. The lyrics make allusions to the then current Cold War, but also make references to Atlantis; a large part of the album is made up of the 'Atlantis Suite.' These guys formed in 1976 and, at least on this album, they have a far more original sound than other Neo-Prog bands of the time.

This is the only Pallas album I have yet heard but I am impressed. The songs here are much more enjoyable to me than anything I have yet heard from Marillion or IQ. There is not a huge 1970s influence on this album. Instead of a big Genesis influence, I hear Saga. The more commercial and mainstream sounding songs are near the start. The proggiest moments are actually quite proggy sounding. Theoretically, Pallas should be considered 1980s Symphonic Prog. At least on The Sentinel.

"Shock Treatment" is a good opener. Reminds me of Saga. Nice bass tone and synth sounds. Very '80s guitar solo. "Cut + Run" has a New Wave/post-punk feel to it with more of a 'proggy' chorus and instrumental parts. In the middle is a spoken word part followed by cool synth playing that reminds me of old 8-bit Nintendo games. Ends on a symphonic prog note. "Arrive Alive" is the most commercial (and dated) song on the album. Sounds like something the record company forced the band to put on here.

You can listen to "Rise And Fall (Part One)" here on PA. This is the first great moment on the album. This song also reminds me of Saga. I like the flute-like synth sound. Another spoken word part near the end. This song segues into "East West" which is more of a ballad. Nice synthetic choirs and guitar solo at the end. "March On Atlantis" begins segued from "East West." Starts off atmospheric with a little military drumming. Around 2 minutes things pick up and we hear some great synthetic choirs. Sounds like some bass pedals too. This instrumental section is one of the best parts of The Sentinel. Later goes into piano ballad mode.

"Rise And Fall (Part Two)" starts off with some random piano, atmospheric sounds and synthetic bells. Later some chorused guitar sets the mood for another spoken word part. Ends more symphonic prog and fades out. "Heart Attack" is one of the longest songs here but it doesn't get too interesting until the end when it starts to sound like '70s Genesis. "Atlantis" has a great bass tone and synthetic choir vocals. The drumming at the beginning is good. Very Genesis sounding lead synth playing. Reminds me of Saga yet again. More spoken word. Some good harmony vocals near the end.

I love the slow-paced main groove they get into during "Ark Of Infinity," with the vocals mimicing the music. Goes into a faster paced section with Rutherford like bass playing. Gets more atmospheric later. Ends with the unison vocal/music groove. Overall, I'm surprised how much I liked this album. I knew there had to be a Neo album out there I could give at least 4 stars too. This is it.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#450768) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Buyer beware: not all editions of The Sentinel are equal. The best versions are the ones with the track listing outlined above, in which the three songs the band cut as commercially accessible standalone singles to support the album are placed at the start and the following seven tracks comprise the famed Atlantis Suite that was a staple of early Sentinel live shows. The group originally planned to release the album consisting solely of the Atlantis Suite from start to finish, with the commercial songs released as singles to placate EMI; however, record company politics resulted in the running order of the album being tampered with to remove some of the Suite tracks and adding in some of the singles, almost completely obscuring the concept. Though most versions available these days present the suite in the form it was originally intended, it's worth checking to make sure you aren't getting a version with a botched running order.

But enough of that - what of the music itself? Well, those three mainstream tracks leading off the album are almost completely skippable - I never listen to them when I put the album on these days - but the Atlantis Suite itself is great fun. Eddie Offord's presence as producer may make you tempted to make Yes comparisons, but personally I'm more reminded of a cross between the spacey majesty of Eloy and the drama and intricacy of classic Genesis. Either way, it's a treat for neo-prog fans - it's just a shame so many people just heard the single tracks and passed this one over.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#579016) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Sentinel is the debut studio album by neo alumni Pallas, released in 1984, although the release date had been put back by EMI, who, apparently, did not think that the initial press contained enough "hits". Many commentators have cited record company "interference" for the relatively poor sales of this work, moving it away from its original state to something altogether more "accessible" in parts. Comparisons have been made, of course, with Marillion's Script released the previous year, with many saying that this could have outshone it. Actually, the truth is rather more simple than all of this. The Sentinel simply ain't as good as Script, end of.

Conceptually, it as certainly very bold, telling the story of a search for Atlantis as the cure for east v west wars, and this theme would, of course, be taken up again with the 2011 follow up, XXV. The latter has the advantage of benefitting from 21st century production standards, because this, with the legendary Eddie Offord at the helm, sounds, well, dreadful, with huge chunks lost in the mix. Offord, of course, had ceased to be a "relevant" producer some years before. Presumably, EMI thought he would provide a magic touch and give them another monster prog hit.

Musically, it was certainly accomplished, and it is fair to say that Pallas took their chief influences from a wider range than Marillion or IQ. In here, you can hear the obvious Yes, ELP references, alongside sci-fi era Rush and others. Highlight for me here is the fine keyboard work undertaken by Ronnie Brown, and the album is, in truth, better when it is instrumental, because the vocals of Euan Lowson always grated. The arrival of Alan Reed would, IMO, take the band far further forward.

So, how to rate this? It is difficult rating an album you were familiar with in 1984 in 2013, and especially judging it by today's digital production standards. So, I think the best thing to say is that this is an important album in the context of progressive music history, was very enjoyable when I first got it, but less so now, and (in whatever decade) nothing near as good as some of its "competitors".

So, three stars for this, a good album, but newcomers to Pallas might be better off starting with the sequel, because that is a heavy belter.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#903080) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013

Latest members reviews

4 stars Even though this is not a masterpiece of progressive rock, it is still a must in a serious collection. Not only considering it is a very important release in the dark musical landscape of the 80's, the music can stand on it's own. Pallas plays an agressive progressive rock with a lot of melody, t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1262476) | Posted by Andis | Friday, August 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Just got hold of this along with the full Pallas studio discography aside from the latest studio release which I already had in my possession and enjoy a great deal. Relating to Neo Prog I love a great deal of it and it is probably my favourite niche relating to Prog music. Fish era Marillion is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1021451) | Posted by sukmytoe | Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well the original vonyl release may have suffered from some of the issues well detailed in the previous release, but the CD release at least restores the missing tracks and in the right running order, to provide an essential album for any prog collection. Shock Treatment is a decent opener, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#293390) | Posted by gingernut | Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The debut album from these Scottish proggers are regarded as a classic album in this genre. Maybe so... This album is almost divided into two parts. The pop like songs and the serious symphonic like stuff. The album opens with some pretty lighthearted (music wise) pop like songs like Arrive A ... (read more)

Report this review (#201437) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, February 02, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Pallas! Wow, I met these wonderful chaps at the 'Baja prog' festival they played a few years back; really good people. I was very happy to have them sign my cpy of this CD!! OK, first off the bad news (from me anyway) here: The remastered/remixed/track added/ track re- ordered version here do ... (read more)

Report this review (#172924) | Posted by transend | Tuesday, June 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I ve just discovered Pallas and especially The Sentinel, so 25 years after its release. It's clearly neoprog in the same vein of Marillion or IQ but less inspired from Genesis. The main influences here are clearly ELP with typical synthesizer sound you can find on Emerson LAke and Powell. Some so ... (read more)

Report this review (#168703) | Posted by fairyliar | Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars According to a British friend of mine who was present for the early 80's prog renaissance at the Marque in London, Pallas was the band everyone felt would be the biggest success. Marillion was considered second to them, but also a contender for success (in fact, in my friends clique.....the Marqu ... (read more)

Report this review (#151719) | Posted by infandous | Monday, November 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not a big Neo Prog fan but after read the reviews about Pallas album I decided to listen at least one of their albums so I choose The Sentinel... and I've got no regret... The album was made in the mid 80's. My biggest fear was to listen another band which use and abuse of synthesizers but (luc ... (read more)

Report this review (#135396) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Sentinel" was my first exposure to the music of Pallas ten years ago. After some listenings I became a huge fan of the band. Pallas is another "so called neo-prog" band, a label that the band itself has always disliked as they showcase not only the obvious symphonic-progressive influence ... (read more)

Report this review (#118462) | Posted by Prosciutto | Sunday, April 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I suppose there are two ways of looking at Pallas's masterpiece, which in many ways defines the Neo-Progressive genre. If you're less of a Neo-Prog fan, you might just see The Sentinel as the cheesiest, most ridiculous prog album ever encountered. I believe, however, that The Sentinel is a cle ... (read more)

Report this review (#70954) | Posted by stonebeard | Thursday, March 02, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Pallas is a very good group of neoprogressive. " The sentinel " is an excellent disk of progressive. A very "rock" sound. Well-kept melodies. "Shock Treatment" is the title which I prefer (more "pop" than "prog"). Less symphonic than Marillion (same period). More purified than IQ (same period) ... (read more)

Report this review (#46016) | Posted by miedj | Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Having seen this line-up live back in the early eighties in The Odeon, Birmingham. I can truly say that the stage show overshadowed the album by miles, but that pales into insignificance when compared with their contemporaries of the time. I don't think the album deserves the bad press it re ... (read more)

Report this review (#11948) | Posted by | Sunday, May 09, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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