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Pendragon - Believe CD (album) cover

BELIEVE

Pendragon

 

Neo-Prog

3.54 | 377 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Unbelievable!

Believe is quite different from all other Pendragon albums. This is no longer your usual Neo-Prog album and conservative Pendragon fans might therefore not like it. It is obviously an album that divides people. Some people think it is the best album the band ever made, while others seem to think that it is the least good of their albums. For me, Believe is the Pendragon album that appeals to me the most. I see this album as a product of a more mature band that has finally found a way to make something a bit different and thus a bit more original.

One thing that makes Believe different is its heavy emphasis on acoustic guitars and its many influences from Folk and World music. There are, for example, some very nice Flamenco influenced passages that I really like in The Wisdom Of Solomon and Learning Curve. The guitar playing is exquisite throughout and a very good balance between acoustic and electric guitars is offered. The band also make use of some sparse violin and some "tribal" male and female vocalisations to great effect in addition to the traditional Neo-Prog line up of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and lead vocals.

Had this album been made by another band, it would perhaps fit into Prog Folk just as well as in Neo-Prog. But this is not to say that the Symphonic side of the band is no longer here; Believe is still symphonic as well as folky which creates a special sound and feeling. This music is perhaps not "groundbreaking" in any way, but at least the band has found a quite original and interesting sound for themselves on this album. If earlier Pendragon could be accused of being a Genesis clone, this can by no means be applied here. Many other influences can be referred to, but Pendragon do not wear their influences on their sleeves anymore. Another thing that makes Believe stand out for me is that is has more of a Rock edge and a darker, more serious tone. I am one of those who find albums like The World, The Window Of Life, and even (parts of) The Masquerade Overture, a bit too lightweight and light-hearted. I find more depth and substance in this album.

The songs are all strong and memorable, but like with many good Prog albums it took several listens to get into the album and really appreciate it. Every time I listen to Believe I find new details and aspects. Nick Barett's vocals have never sounded better than here, he sounds more mature as a singer. There are also some tasteful spoken word passages that contribute to set the mood and create a special atmosphere. The mood of the album sometimes reminds me of some of Steve Hackett's solo albums, especially the superb Hackett song There Are Many Sides To The Night that also utilizes spoken word and lovely acoustic playing.

For me this is a highly enjoyable album that I find more interest and appeal in than other albums by this band and thus my favourite Pendragon album. Unless you are a more conservative fan, Believe is highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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