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PALLAS – EYES IN THE NIGHT – THE RECORDINGS 1981-1986 (6 x CD; 1 x Blu Ray) (Release date – 28th June, 2024) (CHERRY RED)

A sneak preview of a very important box set in the annals of Progressive Rock history – PALLAS – the COMPLETE recordings, and long overdue. I am going to take this one CD at a time starting with “Arrive Alive”, a live performance on 4th April, 1981 at the Bungalow Bar, Paisley. The line-up was Euan Lawson (vocals), Graeme Murray (bass, 12-string guitar, vocals), Niall Matthewson (guitar), Ronnie Brown (bass) and Derek Forman (drums). It was originally issued on cassette and the remastering job has been expertly done, losing none of the raw energy on a momentous evening in Paisley.

It is a powerhouse performance starting with ‘Five to Four’ followed by a wonderful prog piece ‘Queen of the Deep’ in the vein of CAMEL and GENESIS, the tale of a shipwreck, part sung, part narrated, but mostly instrumental passages, great synth and choral effects and enough riffs to clap along to. ‘Flashpoint’ is based on a heavy rock riff akin to DEEP PURPLE with fabulous organ and guitar and a dynamic rhythm section. Guitar arpeggios à la CAMEL introduce ‘Heart Attack’ with lots of nice mellotron and synth and a very GENESIS-like passage and lyrics about “darkness descended in a mushroom cloud” (rhyming with ‘shroud’ of course) and a ‘Beam me up’ chorus that will appeal to Trekkies - perhaps! There is a strong hint of a strident PETER GABRIEL – type delivery on ‘Crown of Thorns’, a nod to ‘Lamb Lies Down’, epic bass playing and an anthemic conclusion. Final track from the concert ‘The Ripper’ is introduced by the phrase “Public enemy number one” as the band further endorse their credentials as great storytellers, with brooding mellotron and a PINK FLOYD-ish funky bit at one point.

The two bonus tracks are the single ‘Arrive Alive’, in more straightforward NAZARETH like rocking style, its B-side ‘Stranger (on the Edge of Time)’ has a feel perhaps most associated with BILL NELSON’s RED NOISE with a touch of experimentation at the end.

This first CD has certainly whetted my appetite for more!

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