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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





3.98 | 597 ratings

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5 stars After a late discovery of PENDRAGON by means of their 1991 release, "The World", which grabbed me totally, I went back and forth looking for other band's works - a fine and respectful output, indeed. Amid so many albums, I found one that constitutes in my opinion, their magnum opus: "The Masquerade Overture". This gentle and well-produced album settled definitely what we could call the PENDRAGON's signature, something that was evolving since the band's early days and exploded gracefully here.

The album starts with the title-song bringing some dreamy and beautiful symphonic tunes in its intro; then a bombastic and operatic section appears dominating the track and taking us to a majestic and unforgettable voyage to unknown lands. A sudden silence and 'As good as gold' starts with its romantic and enjoyable initial segment leaving room for another great song - one of the best in PENDRAGON'S catalog. Voice, drumming, guitars and keyboards: all work magnificently. The flow of fortunes continues with 'Paintbox', a balladesque and catchy song that keeps high the album's climate. Here the fine arrangements transform a simple plain track into a remarkable one.

The short 'The pursuit of excellence' is a good refreshing moment to mark album's middle point. 'Guardian of my soul', a lengthy track, blends hard-rock with neo-prog waves, with some peaceful and semi-acoustic parts; the song is fair but a bit weary, if it was shorter could work better. Powerful guitar action saves the song.

'The shadow' is the hidden jewel in the band's crown; what an awesome track! The crescendo melody is really pretty and the final section returning to the poignant initial vocals favors greatly the song appreciation. 'Master of illusion', the album's longest track, is also the most neo-prog moment here, which sounds a little weird since the album is mainly set in eclectic & symphonic prog-rock vein. Anyway, a neat and hearable song.

For the CD bonus tracks I'd recommend 'Schizo' that bears a certain Floydian atmosphere except for the vocals and 'The king of the castle', dubbed as the second part of the amazing 'The shadow' hence a fine adieu to this output.

I don't know if after other hearings of PENDRAGON's works can my opinion change but "The Masquerade Overture" is band's finest hour up to now; let's wait, cause they're able to produce more albums with the same quality and excellence; PENDRAGON have still many years ahead to reach the summit of another masterpiece, just like that. Final rating: 5 well-deserved stars.

Atkingani | 5/5 |


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