"The Cross & the Crucible" (InsideOut Music America; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Scottish neo-prog? Who woulda thunk it?

Pallas' brand of prog-rock is rich in texture, vibrant in its multitude of tones, and infused with a wide perspective of colors from the rich history of world music. Pallas also borrows influential ideas from the classic purveyors of the genre including Rush, Kansas, and Genesis as well as newcomers such as The Flower Kings and Transatlantic. Pallas' "The Cross & The Crucible" has more in common with recent efforts by The Flower Kings than any other band that I can think of at the moment - and that may not be a fair assessment of Pallas' abilities. "The Cross & The Crucible" has Pink Floyd atmospheric and symphonic vibes as well as a definite focus on 'rock' rather than 'metal.'

Musically, "The Cross & The Crucible" flows easily with numerous changes and moods to get and keep the listener's interest. Lyrically, the CD covers the broad spectrum of the universe's first signs of life, eventual man-made destruction, and rebirth. The timeline and storyline focuses on religion's role in man's perception of the origins of the universe, cultural differences, war and peace, and renewal. Sure, Pallas is forced to paint in broad strokes given the difficulty and breadth of the subject matter, but the lyrics give a substantive weight to the story and overall closure of the story.

"The Cross & The Crucible" would definitely be considered 'easy listening' by most metalhead’s standards, but Pallas' music is not 'easy listening' as defined by corporate radio. The listener is rewarded with well-thought out songs, challenging topics, and the perpetual tug-of-war of birth and death, decay and renewal, and the role of spirituality in history.

"The Cross & The Crucible" is highly recommended for fans of prog-rock and cautiously recommended for fans of prog-metal.

Pallas is Alan Reed on vocals, Graeme Murray on bass, Niall Mathewson on guitars, Ronnie Brown on keyboards, and Colin Fraser on drums.

For more information visit

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright © 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.