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Pallas: The Blinding Darkness (DVD/CD)

For such a goofy-looking bunch, the five members of Scotland's Pallas sure put on one hell of a show. The skinny, bald, shades-wearing keyboard player (Ronnie Brown), the reclusive guitarist lost in a sea of hair (Niall Mathewson), the overweight bass player who dresses like he's going to work in the yard (Graeme Murray), the guy-next-door drummer (Colin Fraser) and the singer with a crazed look in his eyes (Alan Reed) recorded and filmed The Blinding Darkness in The Netherlands on Sept. 7, 2002, and proceeded to perform reverent, nearly flawless takes (despite some canned choirs and female singing) on Pallas' catalog of intelligent symphonic neo-progressive rock a catalog that actually can be divided into two eras.

After beginning life in 1979, Pallas enjoyed a period of success in the mid-Eighties but didn't release any new material between 1986's The Wedge (the first Pallas album with Reed at the mic) and 1999's Beat The Drum. On The Blinding Darkness, in a move that demands respect, the members of Pallas welcome back for the first time since 1985 original controversial singer Euan Lowson. He performs two songs ("Cut and Run" and "The Ripper") that are tagged on at the end of the concert. It's clear that Pallas was a different band with the more-arrogant and sharper-voiced Lowson at the forefront, as his theatrical performance of "The Ripper" involves a Hannibal Lector-style mask and lots of fake blood. As psychotic as Reed may look when he throws multiple personas into his delivery style, he never goes that far. Hell, he wears jeans and a dress shirt onstage while Lowson freakin' stabs himself.

A double CD of this set is also available, which is quite good. But if you opt for that over this, you'll miss out on a short film about Lowson's return (including vintage footage), and a concise documentary on the band's past and present status. Even without those bonus features, however, The Blinding Darkness remains a captivating portrayal of a band that doesn't deserve to be lesser known (especially in the United States) than Marillion, Arena and even Pendragon.

(And to that end, here's good news: All of Pallas' albums recently became available for the first time in the United States via InsideOut Music.)

Track Listing

1) The Cross & The Crucible
2) For the Greater Glory
3) Who's To Blame
4) The Executioner/Rat Racing
5) Crown of Thorns
6) Beat the Drum
7) Blood and Roses
8) The Blinding Darkness
9) Tower of Babble
10) Midas Touch
11) Celebration!
12) Rise and Fall Part 1
13) East West
14) March On Atlantis
15) Atlantis
16) Cut and Run
17) The Ripper

Added: March 5th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Pallas Web Site
Hits: 3925
Language: english

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