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The Bringer of Dreams (Special Edition)

Review by Julie Knispel

The Bringer of Dreams is Pallas’s first studio effort in 4 years, following on from the powerful and successful The Cross and the Crucible. Much like its predecessor, this new album could possibly be termed a concept album, but perhaps only in the loosest of terms. Rather than being a story-based effort, The Bringer Of Dreams’ 9 tracks deal more with...well, as the title infers, people and their dreams, goals, desires. Connected thematically rather than in a plot, this allows each song to be a standalone organic entity without needing to rely on the rest of the album to be complete. This release is also a more symphonic effort than previous studio outings, with added layers of orchestration, guest violins, choirs, and operatic soprano vocals added to the mix. Make no mistake; this is a Pallas album first and foremost, and the band’s traditional elements are here in full force. Loads of melody, an emphasis on rocking out, and a generally heavier sound are the pieces that place Pallas in a slightly different category from other neo-progressive bands of their era. The Dreams of Men has been released in two editions. The standard edition is a single disc set consisting of the album proper, while a 2-CD special edition is also available. This second disc includes 5 remixes of album tracks as well as a selection of outtakes and other studio oddities.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
The Bringer of Dreams
A solid symphonic opener, the title track to this album sets the stage nicely. In many ways it is much like a musical circus barker beckoning wary people to enter the show, to pay their ticket price and become a part of the show, rather than just an audience member.
Killing in the name of belief, this song centers on the thoughts and motivations of a suicide killer, whose only goal is paradise at the side of whatever deity drives them.
The concept to this one is the dreams of people travelling to America to chase their hopes for success and a new life, throughout history. Often leaving their homes because of oppression and lack of freedom, they move to a new world, where the cycle repeats, oppressing the natives already there. Verse by verse we travel forward in time, until we reach an America, walled and fortressed, questioning the freedom it once had.
Too Close To The Sun
This track includes some of vocalist Alan Reed’s most impassioned vocals on this release. Bassist Graeme Murray and drummer Colin Fraser create a wonderfully quirky syncopated rhythm. Lyrically this is a song of caution, warning of the dangers that may follow when one comes too close to certain truths man was perhaps not meant to crack.
The Last Angel
Perhaps the most emotionally powerful track on this or any Pallas album, this is the tale of an angel...the last angel...left on Earth to look over the people, longing for nothing but a way home, and unable to find it. All he/she sees is desperation, death, ignorance, people turning from each other in fear or hatred, and he/she wonders what the point to all this was. Pandy Arthur adds multiple layers of operatic soprano vocals over the closing section to this piece, and I dare anyone to listen to this song and not get choked up.
Invincible (Jam)
This is studio jamming that includes themes that would be worked into the final “Invinvcible” track.
Sad Waltz
Keyboards and some legato guitar from Niall Mathewson over some programmed drums, this piece is slight but enjoyable to listen to.
Blue Walk
A darker instrumental with a strong Genesis feel circa Trick of the Tail, keyboards are the focus here, with Mathewson’s guitar lurking faintly in the mix, adding texture and colour in a manner similar to Steve Hackett during his Genesis days. There are no instrumental fireworks here, just a pulsating beat and a dark, brooding tone.
Here we have another brief instrumental, this time with an orchestral feel that evokes the composer so named in the title.
North South
Could this be a lost track from The Sentinel? Probably not, but the feel is very similar, and it’s possible this bit could fit very nicely indeed in a performance of that epic concept suite from 1984.
With more programmed drums and electronic feel, “Fear” is more of a showcase of Mathewson’s guitar playing, with phased chords swirling underneath brief lead snippets. Synth pads fill out the mix.
Bottle of Broken Dreams
An acoustic ballad with almost-too-precious vocals from Alan Reed, this is a pleasant enough song in its own right, but certainly did not fit the feel of the album proper.
This piece opens quietly before light keyboards and brushed cymbals begin to build. Graeme Murray’s bass overpowers the mix for a while, before being pulled back slightly as guitar finally enters the song.
Strange Reflections
An opportunity for Ronnie Brown to show off varied keyboard skills, this starts with some deft piano playing. The song shifts into some lengthy organ chords before slipping back to the piano ostinato.
Colin Counts Out Time
This sounds like a breakdown in the studio while playing “Too Close To The Sun.” Like several of the tracks here, this is a fun little piece, but it certainly does not hold up to repeated listens. In many ways, this is what bonus discs are made for; it’s an opportunity to toss on little bits and bobs that would otherwise get swept off the cutting room floor, never to be heard.
Fragments of the Sun (Remix)
“Fragments of the Sun” was the epic closer from the band’s “reunion” album Beat The Drum from 1998. Here the song is given a couple coats of new gloss and sheen, bringing new life to a piece well deserving of such.
Disc 2

The first four tracks on the bonus disc are simply remixes of album tracks previously reviewed above: “Mr. Wolfe,” “Ghostdancers,” “Too Close to the Sun,” and “The Last Angel.” These mixes generally offer a slightly wider sound stage and a feel closer to that heard on Pallas’ previous studio album. From a content standpoint, things pick up with track 5 (please note: this is not to say that the remixes are to be tossed off lightly; rather that they are not radical re-workings of the pieces.)
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