Click here for home page

Click here

Contact Us | Customer Information | Privacy Policy | Audio Help

Main Menu
Submit a review
Album Reviews
Book Reviews
DVD Reviews
Sign up for newsletter
Gig reviews
Get Your EMail Address
Submit your website
PALLAS XXV Mascot Records (2011)


Way back in 1984, Progressive Rock was experiencing a revival. Labelled 'neo-progressive' and with Marillion leading the way, bands such as Twelfth Night, IQ and Pendragon were breathing new life into the genre. Scotland's Pallas, led by the eccentric vocalist Euan Lowson, signed to EMI and released their debut studio album 'The Sentinel'.

'The Sentinel' was originally intended to be a recorded version of The Atlantis Suite, an epic centrepiece of the band's live performances at the time based around a futuristic version of the story of Atlantis. Unfortunately, the finished article didn't turn out as originally intended, as meddling EMI execs pressured the band to include some more commercially oriented tracks at the expense of significant chunks of the original concept. It wasn't until 2004 that a CD reissue of the entire album as originally intended saw the light of day.

27 years on, XXV sees Pallas revive themes and concepts of The Sentinel, and can be seen loosely as 'The Sentinel 2'. It also sees the introduction of a new vocalist, Paul Mackie, replacing Alan Reed who departed last year after 26 years of service.

The basic concept of the album involves the Atlanteans, an alien race who had originally planted humankind on the planet, despatching a Sentinel to return to Earth and sort out the complete mess the warring humans have created for themselves. The Sentinel is seen as an alien messiah by the young, optimistic humans hoping for a fresh start and a new tomorrow.

The Sentinel issues an ultimatum to the humans that they must form a council of 25 good, honest men to run the world. The world leaders cannot change their ways and cannot reach an agreement, ultimately leading the wrath of the Sentinel with dire consequences.

Armed with this grand concept, Pallas have moulded the music to the storyline superbly to create a cohesive and truly great progressive rock concept album.

The album kicks off in spectacular fashion with 'Falling Down', a track which sets the scene for the concept to come, as well as establishing a few melodic links with the original Sentinel album. With its strong chorus, hypnotic bassline, and fine keyboard parts, it's a pretty lively start to the album. However, that's nothing compared to the frenzied 'Crash and Burn', a chaotic track representing the entrance of the alien spacecraft, where things are cranked up another notch. A really powerful piece of music.

After the explosive start of the first two tracks comes the contrasting calm and tranquillity of 'Something In the Deep', a beautiful, atmospheric track representing the alien's thoughts as his craft is submerged in the depths of the ocean. The mellowest moment of the album with some fine orchestration towards the end.

Monster has a strong chorus once again, a catchy guitar hook and a more commercial feel to it. 'The Alien Messiah', 'XXV part1' and 'Young God' form the centrepiece of the album, and central to the overall plot, conveying the alien's message to mankind. All are tense, grandiose and highly dramatic tracks in true Pallas tradition.

Sacrifice, where the human race makes its last stand, is a more straight forward rocky track that has a real feel of Rush to me, with a great guitar riff.

The mood softens once again with 'Blackwood', a beautifully haunting orchestral interlude, aided by some lovely vocals from guest vocalist Melissa Allen. 'Blackwood' forms a prelude to 'Violet Sky', an emotive, keyboard led ballad describing the stage in the plot where the end is nigh. A really beautiful piece.

The album reaches a powerful climax with 'XXV part 2'. As you'd expect, the end track is big, bold, bombastic and dramatic. Just as well as it's describing the end of the world! Paul Mackie's vocal performance is superb, and there's a fantastic guitar solo to finish things off.

XXV is a fine achievement. There isn't a dull moment on the album, it's a joy from start to finish. It's clear that from the writing stage, through to the recording and even down to the artwork, this is a project that has been meticulously planned and executed. The performance of each band member is first class, and Paul Mackie has established himself in fine style.

Just as 'The Sentinel' album was released during a high point for progressive rock in 1984, XXV has been released during another period of revival for this much maligned form of rock music. Fellow early 80's Prog merchants IQ released arguably a career high point last year with the excellent 'Frequency' album, and Pallas have followed suit here.

This is Pallas's finest moment so far, and with this being the first of a three album deal with Mascot Records, who knows what's further down the road. Pallas have laid down the Prog gauntlet for 2011. Top that!


Review by Jim Rowland


Print this page in printer friendly format

Print this page in printer-friendly format

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

get ready to rock is a division of hotdigitsnewmedia group

Featured Artists
Artist Archive
Featured Labels
Label Archive
Do you want to appear here?