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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





3.99 | 613 ratings

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3 stars Lush and melodic

It won't take you long to decide if you like "The Masquerade Overture." Pendragon, the band led by Nick Barrett features one of the most non-offensive sounds I've ever heard, unless of course non-offensive offends you. The seven pieces that make up this listener-friendly album are carried on the backs of Barrett and keyboardist Clive Nolan. Nolan paints a very lush background of keyboard atmospheres, lots of floating, smooth, peaceful sounding backgrounds. Atop of these keys and a typical neo-prog rhythm section, tasteful but rather tame, we have Barrett's superb guitar work. I won't use Gilmour as the predictable reference but Barrett has that dreamy and soaring lead guitar sound, with plenty of sustain, emotion, his notes often held for quite some time. The overall effect is not unlike Sebastian Hardie or some of the more melodic, less fusiony Camel moments. The album has a fantastic symphonic opening segment with delightful operatic vocals, starting the album off on a very high note. Barrett's playing is really my favorite component though, and I love the playing on the standout track "The Shadow." Some listeners take issue with Barrett's singing voice but I can't imagine why. Like everything else about Pendragon it is very pleasant and soothing. Overall the mood of Pendragon is very uplifting and celebratory, a nice change of pace for me since I listen to a lot of "dark" themed music.

In fair disclosure I am not a huge fan of neo-prog personally, so my rating may be tempered somewhat by that. But certainly this is a lovely and consistent album of mostly relaxing and melodic prog rock. It does rock out in a few places but for the most part this is a mellow to medium-gear rock. The 2005 issue comes with an illustrated lyric booklet and live bonus track.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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