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Pendragon - Passion CD (album) cover





3.73 | 605 ratings

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4 stars Review Nš 731

"Passion" is the ninth studio album of Pendragon and that was released in 2011. It was released as a special edition on Madfish, a division label of Snapper Music and in a regular form on Toff Records, the band's own label. Two packaging formats of the Madfish album exist, a digi-book and a super jewel case, which is my version, both with a DVD featuring behind the scenes footage documentary titled "Progumentary", filmed by the band during the recordings of the album.

With "Passion", Pendragon proves that they're still an innovative force to be reckoned with in 2011 and that they're still a band able to create music with a great passion. Even thirty three years after the formation of Pendragon, "Passion" shows the famed neo-prog quartet with their heaviest, darkest, and possibly most unique album to that moment, really.

The line up on the album is the same of their eighth previous studio album "Pure", released in 2008. So, the line up on "Passion" is Nick Barrett (vocals, guitars, keyboards and keyboard programming), Clive Nolan (keyboards and backing vocals), Peter Gee (bass guitar) and Scott Hingham (drums and backing vocals).

"Passion" has seven tracks. All tracks were written by Nick Barrett. The first track is the title track "Passion". It opens the album with a very strange way, with some electronic rhythm sound. However, when Barrett says "Drop My Balls", the song displays with the new and modern powerful sound that Pendragon have created recently. This is a very powerful song with great lyrics and with a memorable melody line that shows clearly what will be the general mood of the all album. The second track "Empathy" is a song that starts with a very powerful and heavy rhythm that reminds me a little bit "Indigo", the opening song of their previous studio album "Pure". Lyrically, we can say this is a continuation of the previous first song. Musically, it also develops the theme from the opening track and is a song full of constant musical changes. It's a very complete song with a gentle vocal work, a nice guitar solo and a nice piano performance that ends with a magnificent orchestral sound. The third track "Feeding Frenzy" is, probably, the heaviest and most intense and compact song the band ever made on their albums. This is a very frantic song with an astonishing guitar rhythm and the bass and drumming works are absolutely stunning. This is another song with great lyrics and where, musically, this is a song with no space for solos, as compact, powerful and aggressive as it is. The fourth track "This Green And Pleasant Land" is the longest and the epic song on the album. This is a very beautiful song more in the taste of the old fashion Pendragon's fans. It's a track when we can see Barrett again providing those dreamy beautiful guitar musical passages. This is a very emotional and intelligent song about Barrett's telling his story about his homeland. In reality, there's nothing more to say about it. It's as great and beautiful as you need to hear. You know what I'm saying. Probably, by itself, it's worth getting the album. The fifth track "It's Just A Matter Of Not Getting Caught" shows a very long and strange title for a song. This is a very atmospheric and mellow song with a strange darkness. Compared with the other songs this is a simple song where the band are developing and manipulating some very effective electronic and metallic sounds. At the end the song closes with the same sound effect as the opener. The sixth track "Skara Brae" is another very powerful song with the distinctive and typical guitar sound of Nick Barrett. It's a song with a heavy melody, featuring a repeating guitar tone which is used throughout in different keyboard parts. The grunge rhythm guitar gives to the song a strong and raw sound. The centre part of the song is nice and clean and is recognizable as Pendragon. The work of all band's members is astonishing. The seventh and last track "Your Black Heart" represents a very mellow closing track for this album. This is a song very close to the earlier day's sound of the band with the typical influences of David Gilmour. It's a very beautiful song carried along by Barrett's voice and Nolan's stunning piano and keyboard work. The whole piece is brought to a great climax by a duet of emotional keyboards and guitar interactions.

Conclusion: With "Passion", Pendragon continues the path of change their music to a more heavy style, putting the band more close to heavy metal. With this album and "Pure", the band established their new sound, a heavier sound but without losing the typical roots of their music. They did the same that other neo-prog bands also have done such as Arena and Galahad. Probably, it isn't a coincidence the presence of Clive Nolan, the keyboardist of Arena and the presence of Karl Groom, the guitarist of Threshold, as a producer. "Passion" is, in my humble opinion, the next logical step after "Pure". It's true that "Passion" isn't "Pure" but it's also true that it's certainly very close to it in terms of style and quality. So, "Passion" is, in reality, a great album from a great band. As also with "Pure", the album has a beautiful artwork and the production is one more time, simply and superb. The last thing I still want to say is that I hope the band continue with the same passion for music and that can keep Pendragon at the top of progressive music for many years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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