PALLAS – The Dreams Of Men

PALLAS - The Dreams Of Men


Release date: October 24, 2005

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A Pallas album is far from an annual event. Besides the near 13 years that passed between The Wedge (1986) and Beat The Drum (1998), a stunning 4 years have passed since last hearing from this Scottish quintet with The Cross And The Crubicle (not counting live releases). On the other hand, 2005 seems to be the band’s busiest year ever, as far as releases are concerned. In addition to the studio album reviewed here, no less than 2 live albums and a live DVD have been on the agenda.

The Music

First a closer look at The Dreams Of Men is in order. Through 9 tracks, Pallas takes you along into various dreams, focusing on their unpredictable nature, which finds its analogy to life itself. The opener “Bringer Of Dreams” becomes the album’s sandman, as the lullaby, twilight colored intro transforms you into a dreaming state of mind … and just when you fall off to sleep — BOOM! you cross over into a nightmare. The song has several properties, making it a perfect overture for the rest of the album.

The Dreams Of Men dwells with the shady elements of dreams, not unlike other recent albums in the Neo-Progressive genre. Still, the album offers a surprise: in the third song, “Ghostdancers,” Pallas goes ethnic! The song is spun around the stories of Scots leaving for America to pursue the dream of a better life: “Sailing to America on a ship of dreams.” Upon their arrival, the promised land lies open, since the native people of the New World never laid claim for the land. However, the native people suffered from this entrance by the people from across the ocean: “White man came long ago, took our land and killed our buffalo.” With a Celtic feeling in the introductory violin segment, and the concluding Native American chanting, “Ghostdancers” becomes a monumental message of how dreams and hopes of one could be the ruin of the other. Hats off to Pallas!

To describe all of this album’s songs is not within the scope of this review. However, one after the other, the songs on The Dreams Of Men reveals a band with great artistic integrity. There are several magnificent moments, such as in “Too Close To The Sun” (the story of Ikaros set to parallels in various historical events), “Mr Wolfe” (the “simplest” track as far as structure is concerned, and therefore the catchiest!), “Invincible,” and “The Last Angel” (both with immense drama and dynamics). The songs more or less all have in common a pronounced symphonic character.

The Band

Even for a quintet, Pallas has a huge sound. This, of course, lies for a great part in the hands of Ronnie Brown (keyboards), although he is totally dependent on the efforts from his band mates. A most impressive feature is how guitarist Niall Matthewson restrains himself from barging in on Ronnie Brown, especially in the epic parts of “Too Close To The Sun.” Drummer Colin Fraser also impresses with impeccable timing and detail. Along with the colorful sound and phrasing of Graeme Murray (bass), lies a rock solid foundation for Pallas’ power. Last but not least, the voice of Alan Reed is not only diverse and emotionally convincing, it’s also the signature of a band soon turning a quarter of a century in existence.

The Verdict

Although packed with great moments, emotional drama, insightful words, tender softness, and brutal power, The Dreams Of Men has a few snags that keeps it from peaking. Some songs dwell a bit more than necessary and become less rewarding for the listener. Also, when depicting dreams of men, one might expect a bit more hope than what is the case with Pallas’ rather gloomy interpretation of the concept.

No matter what: The Dreams Of Men is loaded, it’s the incarnation of Neo-Progressive Rock and it’s a must for any fan.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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