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Pendragon - The Jewel CD (album) cover





3.29 | 284 ratings

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3 stars PENDRAGON's first full-album, their real debut; this output was certainly hailed by band members and the then small band fan's community; but the result as seen actually seems a bit disappointing - probably PENDRAGON was looking for new supporters, to increase their fan-base and forgot to improve their sound when compared with the mini-album released months before. The real band brand should have to wait a couple of years to be heard loudly and intelligibly.

If the band sonority showed only a few improvements from what they were doing, at least the musicianship grew and Barrett's vocals were great almost all the time. Cleaning the excessive neo-prog smog (no pun intended) from many tracks one may be concerned that the potential of PENDRAGON to go farther and higher is quite discernible. Tuning the ears and pretending to listen to some songs with a more symphonic approach we conclude that "The Jewel" represents a midway and necessary step in band's career.

'Higher circles' opens the album new-aging which makes the song aging when heard presently more than 20 years later. 'The pleasure of hope' while still a typical neo-prog track shows better possibilities, if the synth sounds were less furious or the vocals were softer and cleaner the song should grow hugely. 'Leviathan' starts in a good manner with nice guitar action and exquisite singing work - here's where neo-prog goes more prog than neo and this makes the song very enjoyable.

'Alaska' starts fairly the second part of the album: the romantic and poignant atmosphere is completed by neat symphonic tunes that grabs steadily hearer's attention - take that fingered guitar and check if it isn't pure Genesis circa 1976-1977. Solo segment brings guitar and keyboards working in a well concocted way and also echoes of the 70s are easily perceived. 'Circus', the following track, although not a great one shows the awesome band musicianship. 'Oh Divineo' continues the trend where the member's musical abilities are highlighted. Track middle section displays the best singing moment in the album.

'The black knight' is a premonitory song for it sounds as much as PENDRAGON would sound in the future. The mood the track flows is typical: a soft beginning replaced by frantic parts and then finalizing with soft tunes again. 'Fly high fall far' and 'Victims of life' are repetitions of their previous mini-album appearing here as filler. Bonus tracks are 'Armageddon', a blend of hard-rock and catchy tunes and 'Insomnia', a short song not memorable but amusing.

"The Jewel" is a good, almost essential album for neo-prog fans, however for other prog fans it'll be only a collector's item; in the average a good but non-essential output.

Atkingani | 3/5 |


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