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Pallas - The Dreams Of Men CD (album) cover





3.99 | 267 ratings

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5 stars Review Nš 188

"The Dreams Of Men" is the fifth studio album of the Scottish progressive rock group Pallas and was released in 2005. The line up on the album is Alan Reed, Niall Mathewson, Ronnie Brown, Graeme Murray and Colin Fraser.

Alongside with Marillion Pendragon and IQ, Pallas is one of the bands that belonged to neo-prog's first guards in the 80's. One of those bands who invented virtually, this time with Marillion, this kind of music. And even though personally I would ascribe the "invention" of the neo-prog to Marillion with their debut EP, Pallas certainly contributed with their part. One mustn't forget that with "The Sentinel", the boys, in 1984, have created an absolute neo-prog classic album.

What impresses most on Pallas is that "The Dreams Of Men" is only their fifth studio album in twenty-four years career of these Scotsmen. However, if you take in mind the band's 12 years hiatus, between 1986 and 1998, then, five albums in 12 years isn't all that scarce. After all, it's not less than their contemporaries Pendragon or IQ produce. Furthermore, there is a difference in album making where some artists chuck every note they play in the studio on their albums and other working on their music just a little while longer, perfecting the compositions as they go. And indeed, like their preceding album "The Cross And The Crucible" comes across very polished, very well thought out and very good too.

Again, Pallas has allowed an eternity to pass. Four years have gone into the world since this Scottish progressive rock institution with "The Cross And The Curcible" has delivered another album, which should be very hard to beat. Accordingly, the two band heads and perfectionists in personal union, Niall Mathewson and Graeme Murray, have also taken a lot of time again and could again offer an album that surpasses all expectations. "The Dreams Of Men" is definitely one of the strongest progressive rock albums of the new millennium and probably the best work in the history of Pallas. With excellent orchestral arrangements and a constant play with the loud and quiet dynamics, Pallas tackles the matter and hit the bull's eye precisely in the middle. The music on "The Dreams Of Men" is pure excitement and lives from the gripping changes between opulently sounded, operatic-like sounds and subtly orchestrated acoustic passages, in which Alan Reed can play the full spell of his voice. This is how the man sings through the album, past exciting compositions like "The Bringer Of Dreams" and "Too Close To The Sun", past a surprisingly direct song in the form of "Messiah" and passing by one of the most beautiful instrumental pieces I've ever heard "Northern Star".

About the tracks, "The Bringer Of Dreams" is grand, epic and majestic and shows how the things start on the album. Some violin light passages dominate the verses, building the atmosphere of the song, so that everything comes together as a great musical coordinated delivery. Understanding the mentality of the terrorist element and the suicide bombers seem to prevail over "Warriors", which unfortunately seems to be very actual in these days. The guitars are coarse, just like the message. The strange introduction of a dream violin precedes "Ghostdancers", but the entire Floydian style, as delivery borders, is really majestic. Rivalizing with this one, here it's another great moment of the album which is "Too Close To The Sun". Graeme Murray's bass lines are prominent as Geddy Lee, as a form, although the whole song reflects and flows, as Pallas's urgent musical delivery is displaced by passages besieged by melodic calm. "Messiah" is an unusual case, with strutting bass lines, exotic Asian like keyboard textures, and some wah-wah guitar released for good measure. Vocalist Alan Reed is trying to tell a story here, his vocals alternating between singing and spoken words. It's followed by the "Northern Star" instrumental that sounds through the speakers as a gentle breeze. The sonic dramatization kicks in "Mr Wolfe", the general air of the song swimming us in dark atmosphere. Pallas continues his epic-mode with "Invincible". The structure of the song is dotted with specific markers that are obvious as you navigate your way through the song. "The Last Angel" is also impressive. A slow and passionate accumulation is clear in this 11 minutes affair, where operatic voices permeate the music with a good effect.

Conclusion: Four years have passed since Pallas released their previous studio album "The Cross And the Crucible". Pallas is more genius than ever before and delivers one of my personal favourite progressive rock albums ever. Better, more sophisticated and more versatile you can hardly write progressive rock music, without losing the helm over your own performance from the hand. Pallas have mastered this balancing act perfectly this time and provide more than an hour of excellent entertainment. "The Dreams Of Men" is best to be found in the lavish double-CD version, which also contains a few isolated sound examples from the development phase of the album. Pallas is certainly among the better groups in the neo-prog genre, at least as good as IQ and Pendragon, and fans of those bands should find this one to their liking. Unfortunately, this was the last album with Alan Reed which is a pity. I always loved the range of his vocals.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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