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Pallas (band)

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Also known as Rainbow
Origin AberdeenScotlandUK
Genres Neo-progressive rock
Years active 1980–present
Labels Sue-I-Cide (private)
Granite Wax (private)
Harvest Records
Centaur Discs
InsideOut Music
Pallas Records
Music Theories/
Mascot Records
Members Paul Mackie
Graeme Murray
Niall Mathewson
Ronnie Brown
Colin Fraser
Past members Alan Reed
Euan Lowson
Craig Anderson
Dave Holt
Derek Forman
Mike Stobble

Pallas are a progressive rock band based in the UK. They were one of the bands at the vanguard of what was termed neo-progressive during progressive rock‘s second-wave revival in the early 1980s. (Other major acts included MarillionIQTwelfth NightPendragonQuasar and Solstice).




Beginning life as ‘Rainbow’, they dropped the name after Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple and called his new band Rainbow. Pallas began hitting the club circuit at the beginning of a grassroots revival of full-blown progressive rock; which, at the time, was extremely unfashionable due to the overwhelming influence of pop andNew Wave. They eventually secured a successful headlining run at London’s Marquee Club (a hotbed for the neo-progressive revival). A highlight of their set at that time and also a highlight of the early Marquee shows (until the Marquee threatened to ban the band if they did not stop playing it) was a track called “The Ripper”. A fifteen-minute epic about child abuse, insanity, rape and murder, the climax of “The Ripper” featured lead singer Euan Lowson dressed half as an old man, half as a woman, acting out a chilling rape on stage (the Yorkshire Ripper case was still, at the time, a fresh news item).[citation needed]

After releasing a self-produced LP entitled Arrive Alive (recorded in Scotland in 1981), Pallas was courted by EMI Records (who had just signed contemporaries Marillion) and went into the recording studio with Yes/Emerson, Lake & Palmer engineer Eddy Offord to record the album that would become The Sentinel. The plan was that The Sentinel would 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, with plenty of references to the Cold War.

All this boded well for Pallas, but EMI’s initial interest in the band waned, as did Offord’s enthusiasm for producing the album properly. In order to increase the commercial potential of the group’s major label debut the running order was changed, adding more commercial songs and removing much of the Atlantis Suite material. As a result of all these factors, when The Sentinel was released in 1984 it was regarded as a compromised affair by all involved (despite sporting what was regarded as one of the genre’s most beautiful covers ever, illustrated by Patrick Woodroffe). The excised Atlantis Suite tracks were issued as B-sides on singles at the time of the album’s release, and in 2004 a remastered version of the album was released with the Atlantis Suite finally intact and as the band intended it.

Some elaborately staged shows in the UK (using The Sentinel concept as the theme, and featuring props by the special effects team from Doctor Who) failed to generate the needed interest, and by the time the band was ready to record their second album for EMI, Lowson decided to leave the band (and the music industry). In the wake of Lowson’s departure the band recorded the Knightmoves EP with new singer Alan Reed, former vocalist and frontman with Abel Ganz [1][2] (cf. Abel Gance). The centre-piece of the EP was the epic Sanctuary, and early editions of the EP also included a bonus 7″ featuring two tracks recorded as demos. The band went on to record a second EMI album, The Wedge.

The band fell into a semi-dormant state for a number of years, but CD reissues of the back catalogue, with extra tracks and re-engineered versions of The Sentinel, kept interest alive. Pallas persevered on and off for several years, and in 1999 released a comeback album, Beat the Drum. This featured a harder sound, returning to the band’s classic rock roots but still retained a progressive sound with glimpses of the epic on tracks such as album closer, “Fragments of The Sun”. This was enough to revive interest in the band, and saw the internet become an important component in their career. By now the band was a spare time activity for its members, but still they managed regular studio output and occasional short tours of Europe and North America. The Cross & the Crucible, a loose concept album exploring the historical tension between religion and science was released in 2001. The Dreams of Men was released in 2005, supplemented by Paul Anderson on violin, and the classical singer, Pandy Arthur.

In common with a number of others from the 1980s neo-prog scene, notably IQ, the band continued to pursue their musical interests. In spite of being largely ignored by major record labels and the mainstream music press, with the support of the German independent record label InsideOut, the band continue to record and play regular live dates, particularly in Northern Europe. Recent years have also seen a number of supplementary releases, such as two from the Radio Clyde River Sessions series, a double live collection, several official bootleg recordings and Mythopoeia, an archive CD-ROM of audio and video material from the band’s history.

With effect from 28 January 2010, lead singer Alan Reed left the band he had fronted for the past 26 years. He has been replaced by Paul Mackie.

On 27 July 2010, the band announced to have signed a new record deal for three albums with Music Theories/Mascot Records. The new album, XXV, was released 27 January 2011. The band confirmed that the album will be the successor to their 1984 release The Sentinel, thematically.[citation needed]

On 24 July 2011, Pallas opened the Prog Stage at the High Voltage Festival in London.[3] Their half-an-hour set largely contained material from ‘XXV’, plus the song ‘Eyes in the Night (Arrive Alive)’. Concert Live recorded the performance.[4]


[edit]Studio albums

[edit]Compilation albums

  • Sketches (ca. 1990) – cassette release only
  • Knightmoves to Wedge (1992) – re-release of The Wedge with tracks from Knightmoves 12″ single interspersed; this was later withdrawn in favour of a remastered edition of The Wedge with theKnightmoves tracks added at the end.
  • Mythopoeia (2002)
  • The Sentinel Demos (2009) – download-only release from the band’s homepage

[edit]Live albums

[edit]Singles (UK releases)

  • § indicates a non-album studio track at the time of the initial release. At present (2011), only the two Alan Reed demo tracks and the extended remix of Throwing Stones at the Wind remain exclusive to the initial vinyl release.
  • Arrive Alive (1982) – 7″
    • Arrive AliveStranger on the Edge of Time §
    • the single was released with two different images on front of the sleeve
  • Paris is Burning (1983) – 7″ – 12″
    • Paris is Burning §The Hammer Falls §Stranger on the Edge of Time § (on 12″ only)
  • Eyes In The Night (1984) – 7″ – 7″ picture disc – 12″
    • Eyes in the NightEast West §Crown of Thorns § (on 12″ only)
  • Shock Treatment (1984) – 7″ – 7″ poster sleeve – 12″
    • Shock TreatmentMarch On Atlantis §Heart Attack § (on 12″ only)
  • Knightmoves (1985) – 7″ – 12″ – 12″ picture disc – 12″ with bonus 7″
    • Strangers §Nightmare §Sanctuary § (on 12″ only)
    • initial copies contain bonus 7″ single with the Alan Reed Demo tracks Mad Machine § and A Stitch in Time §, which are band compositions used as auditioning tracks when Alan Reed came up for the vocalist job.
  • Throwing Stones at the Wind (1986) – 7″ – 12″
    • Throwing Stones at the Wind (extended mix) §Cut and Run (live version), Crown Of Thorns (live version; on 12″ only)
  • Monster (radio edit) (2010) – download only single from the band’s homepage; full version on the album XXV.
  • Atlantean (2011) – download only single from the band’s homepage; non-album track. This instrumental track is used as the intro on the 2011 tour, meant as a prelude to the opening track of XXVFalling Down.
  • Black Moon (December, 2011) – download only single from the band’s homepage as a Christmas gift to the fans. This track was recorded in March 2010 shortly after Paul Mackie joined the band. The song was originally written by Emerson, Lake & Palmer for their 1994 comeback album of the same name. Pallas was asked to contribute to a planned ELP tribute compilation in spring of 2010 but the project folded prior to realization due to business issues. So the band shelved the track without initial intention of release.
  • Monster (Big Band Version) (6 January 2012) – download only single from the band’s homepage. This was the result of a little experimental excursion on several tracks from the XXV album that took place in the fall of 2011.
  • XXV Mega-mix (15 February 2012) – bonus track on the Live At Lorelei CD and also available as a free download from the band’s homepage. Orchestral re-arrangement of the album track laid out as a medley of Alien MessiahXXV Part I and XXV Part II with 11+ mins. of playing time. Several British prog / rock magazines featured the track on their magazine’s freebie CD.

[edit]other singles

Some of the regular singles have seen releases in other territories such as Germany or the USA. This section is for releases unique to territories outside UK.

  • Eyes In The Night / Shock Treatment Spanish promo single (1984) – 7″
    • black and white picture sleeve, Spanish titles on the label and the cover (EMI P-040)


  • PALLAS EP a.k.a. Sue-I-Cide EP (1978) – debut recording privately released in February 1978 on the mini label Sue-I-Cide from Aberdeen. Manufactured in a quantity of 1,000 items of which around 700 were sold at gigs. The tracks comprised Reds under the BedsWilmot (Dove House)Thought Police and C.U.U.K. which are all exclusive to this release. Comes in a plain white paper sleeve with a name/logo stamp in one corner.

Unlike the later releases this debut effort features a totally different musical style. Whereas Pallas has been compared with their contemporary competitors Marillion regularly, this EP is more in the verve of early material by The Police.

  • Complimentary Tape 25/04/98 (1998) – given out to fans who wanted to attend the gig on 25/04/1998 that was cancelled on short notice as a compensation for the inconvenience caused. The blank tape contains demo versions of Beat The Drum and Blood And Roses from the then-to-be-released album Beat The Drum plus an alternate take of Refugee from the never released Voices In The Dark album. Due to the circumstances of its existence this tape is – apart from the 1978 Sui-I-Cide EP – the most scarce item in Pallas’ discography. The three tracks saw a broader release through the Mythopoeiacompilation in 2000.

[edit]Compilation appearances

  • SI Magazine: Compilation Disc (1991) – CD
    • Pallas contributed War Of Words from the unreleased Voices In The Dark album to this compilation of the Dutch progressive rock magazine SI.
  • SI Magazine: Compilation Disc (1993) – CD
    • Pallas contributed Never Too Late from the unreleased Voices In The Dark album to this compilation of the Dutch progressive rock magazine SI.

Both aforementioned tracks saw a re-release on the Mythopoeia compilation in 2000.

  • Mannerisms – A Celebration Of The Music Of Geoff Mann (1994) – CD[8]
    • Pallas contributed What In The World to this tribute compilation to the work of the late neo-progressive rock artist Geoff Mann, who died the previous year. Other notable bands on the album include IQ,GalahadPendragonJadisEden Burning, and Mann’s own band Twelfth Night.
    • In addition, Alan Reed, the Pallas vocalist, collaborated with Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena) on another track on the compilation, Love Song.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Prog Archives
  3. ^ “Pallas « High Voltage Festival”. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  4. ^ “Products”. Concert Live. 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  5. a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 266. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ “Chart Stats – Pallas – Sentinel” Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  7. ^ “Chart Stats – Pallas – The Wedge” Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  8. ^ mannerisms: a celebration of the music of Geoff Mann SIMPly50/WOB002 sleeve notes

[edit]External links


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