Snowdonia - Pallas. 1995 Spain

Well, now, isn't this a little gem hiding deep in my collection? Snowdonia is a band named after a national park region in Northern Wales. So, of course, they were formed in Madrid, Spain and the album was released in Italy. Snowdonia were part of the retro late 1960s boom that was all the rage in the middle 90s. And thus sounds like a mid 1990's band doing late 60's psychedelic progressive - especially to these 2015 ears (as I write this). Keeping up here? We're talking the type of band that Freak Emporium and Crohinga Well were pushing hard back in the day. The album was recorded in 1994/95, but not released until 1999 by Mellow.

A strong folk element is apparent with the female (some male) vocals (mostly Spanish with a smattering of English), though this squarely comes from the proto-prog cookbook of 1970. The keyboard ingredients include (typing from liners): Mini-Moog, Arp (sic), Leslie Hammond (sic again), Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, and Solina. Well, I hear no Mellotron, and the Solina is an ARP synth, one would hope they knew that (hmmm). Honestly I'm hearing a lot of simulated sounds, and they are cheating here a bit. Soooo '90s of them to do that (sigh, miss those days). And really, authenticity aside, who cares? The music is great, perhaps a bit sloppy - with little purpose other than to create interesting progressive psychedelic music, that is entirely their own, despite obvious past influences. And I haven't even hit the highlight yet: The wonderful psychedelic guitar playing of band leader Daniel Galera. The album improves as it goes, and with guest flute on the latter tracks, the music elevates to an entirely new level. Pallas peaks on the final track, the instrumental 'A Demon That's Dreaming', with wordless female voice, haunting keyboards, changing meters, and screaming fuzz guitar.

Personal collection
CD: 1999 Mellow (Italy)

Talk about under the radar. To illustrate this point, I am the first to register the CD on Discogs. Pallas is an album that is sadly long forgotten. The good news is that the CD is still readily available if any of this captures your imagination. I'm not selling mine that's for sure.

Spyros adds: "I agree that it is a sadly underrated album. Female vocals aside, the music in parts reminds me of a more laid-back early Camel. Great instrumental flight, but I don't like the vocals, unfortunately."

Last listen: 2015

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