Pallas – Wearewhoweare (duo review)

This review is a special one – a duo review by Angelo Hulshout and Bruce W. Waren. It appears on both their blogs, as linked above. We’ve choosen to not write a combined review, but instead to merge two reviews. We added our names in front of the sections we each wrote, for clarity – with the effect that all tracks are discussed twice.

Pallas wearewhoweare

Angelo Pallas have been part of the progressive rock scene since 1974, but only became really known when their first album Arrive Alive appeared in 1981. After being absent, at least album release wise, since 1986, they’ve been quite active again since the late 1990s. With singer Paul Mackie replacing Alan Reed after 26 years in 2010, the band seems to have entered into a new phase of its life cycle, with a fresh record deal with Music Theory/Mascot records under the belt, the second of which is this wearewhoware.

Bruce: Shadow of the Sun – Superb sonics and beats begin the Album with Stellar vocals. The Story  is about being in the Shadow of the Sun. Upbeat and positive with some fantastic vocals and lyrics.  Living in the Shadow of the Sun under the most dire of circumstances.

Angelo: Shadow of the sun starts with some keyboards and effects, but quickly a pumping bassline and guitar lead take over – with the keys joining in again. The voice of Paul Mackie is quite different form what Alan Reed did in the past, his somewhat higher pitched voice gives this track a nice heavy rock feel. His singing emphasises the drama of the main characeter in the song moving on to a ‘new life’. The instrumental ending fits very nicely with that.

Bruce: New Life – A lyrical masterpiece that speaks of our problems, self absorbed, yet it’s our life to do as we choose.  Hauntingly beautiful vocals, great guitar riffs and spot on percussion section gives this song brillance.

Angelo: This track is mainly driven by the keyboards and brilliant drums, accompanying the drama and emotion of the vocals – singing about finding the beautiful things in life. The guitars join in briefly half way, and come back for a great solo at the end.

Bruce: Harvest Moon – Change of pace, yet has the hauntingly beautiful vocals & lyrics, almost a chanting soleloquy.  Time change occurs, perfection, throaty yet not guteral chant along with a bible tune chant which works like a swiss watch movement adding to the mistique of the song. Yet another time change with some stellar guitar riffs & the song is over, leaving one wanting more of this excellent song.

Angelo: On Harvest Moon, the vocals become haunting, over a slow, rhythm that makes you feel something bad is going to happen. The same feeling I got recently with Edison’s Children‘s Morphlux… The vocals tell the story of a character using the bible to protect himself from the horrors that happen at harvest moon, when the bird-beast is around. They are countered by a horror movie like voice half way, after which a bombastic, fitting instrumental follows. The instrumental ending, with only the voices of angels singing remaining ends this scaringly good song. Did I mention the bass on this album is brilliant?

Bruce: And I Wonder Why – A definite change of pace, more towards the Rock realm . Excellent sonics, lyrcs and vocals.  You will be blown away by the riffs and the percussion section is very spot on! That’s four Rocking songs to begin this Album.

Angelo: Telling the story of a character leaving his little angel, perhaps a child, And I Wonder Why, is a very nice composition. A slow intro, a bass driven rhtyhm and guitar and vocals alternating creates an atmosphere that breaths drama, and sometimes anger and despair. The ending, where despair seems to take over results in an increase in speed, culminating in a keyboard whirlwind and an almost metal like guitar solo. A perfect build up if ever there was one.

Bruce: Dominion – Dark theme at the start but it’s refreshing, almost relieving, with great vocals, sonics & lyrics. It speaks of Love having dominion & rebuilding Jerusalem when the time sig changes to a more upbeat, Rocking tune that will have you in Superb thought patterns. Very captivating song that will have you on the edge of your seat. A nine + minute epic of utter bliss.

Angelo: If drums can haunt, they certainly do it at the start of Dominion, where they accompany a voice that sings about love and the building of Jerusalem. The lyrics on the album seem to tell a story, but I need more time to figure it out, this is an album to last in that respect. This track, the longest of the album, is almost a mini epic, with changes in mood, tempo and instrumentation. The instrumental pieces half way – keyboards and guitar, later piano, and then a guitar driven piece, show what 40 years of composing and playing can lead to. Another great track.

Bruce: Wake Up Call – Again, I cannot over-emphasize hauntingly Rocking as an adjective to describe this Album and also that can be used as accolades.  A unique song sonic wise and lyrically, vocally and percussion-wise. The lyrics are deep, so deep that I would call this an ultimate song for folks who enjoy Albums that require thought and a thought journey into the outer bounderies of your consiousness.

Angelo: It is time we wake up and stop hurting ourselves, society and our planet. That seems to be the message of Wake up call. A track in which a gloomy, rhythm lies underneath the versus, and goes on into what builds up into a wall of sound during the choruses. The drummer is the ruler on this one for sure.

Bruce: In Cold Blood – Starts off with a cool slow groove, time sig change and then an upbeat, rocking song called Winter is Coming, another uplifting thought process sonics even though the lyrics & vocals have a dark theme.  This dark/light conrast song is brilliantly written and delivers a very powerful performance.  The excellent contrast is also shown by changes in sonics, percussion , if not time sig changed per say.  A beautiful song by any definition and one you will want in your library.  The change between In Cold Blood and Winter is Coming is practically unnoticeable unless one is right there to see the track change.

Angelo: The shortest track of the album, with mainly keyboards and vocals, In Cold Blood, tells about a dream. A relaxed, nicely written point of rest in this album. It is followed directly by one more, song about dealing with each other and our world, Winter is coming. The dark opening fits is followed by a piece of music that is easily the best on this album. The way the bass and guitar appear, after being quiet for a short while is almost as if Rush have taken possesson of Pallas, but without the latter using their own signature. Fabulous ending of the album.

Bruce: wearewhoweare Megamix – The namesake song for the Album and they saved a tremendous offering for the last. Just an utterly Brilliant Album with some powerful riffs, some excellently deep lyrics and spot on vocals.  Time Sig changes, changes in song complexion with sublime sonics and would you die for our souls?  This song kind of hauntingly goes over the entire album with a sublime outlook and an upbeat feeling that will have you on your seat with it’s changes, whether in the sonics or the vocals and naturally deep subject matter.

Angelo: The wearewhoweare megamix gives an overview of what is on the album. A nice add on bonus.

Bruce: Pallas in an interview said that they don’t consider themselves a straight Prog Band if I remember correctly but this Album has every element a Prog Album has to have. The songs have time signature changes, they tell a story & I’ve heard many different tine signature changes and I don’t recall any of them being 4/4, but I could be wrong…….That, my friend is either Prog or it’s the absolutely one of the Best Rock Albums I’ve ever heard.

Angelo: With wearewhoweare Pallas have returned to my regular listens, I lost track of them after The Wedge, at least as a listener. After hearing this, I’m definitely going to check out, finally, XXV as well, and then wait for their third album on this not-so-new-anymore record deal. Highly recommended, and glad to hear that band that was thought to be dying or dead for years is still around in this manner.

Bruce: Current band members:

  • Ronnie Brown – keyboards (1980–present)

  • Niall Mathewson – guitars (1980–present)

  • Graeme Murray – bass (1980–present)

  • Colin Fraser – drums (1998–present)

  • Paul Mackie – vocals (2010–present)