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Pendragon - Pure CD (album) cover





3.89 | 604 ratings

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3 stars Don't let the 3 star rating fool you. I do like this album, and I sincerely appreciate the effort to change things up a bit. However, I never consider it "great" at any point, and there are numerous places (largely in the second half of the album) that do little or nothing for me. Other than those concerns, there is a good deal of very solid work to be found on Pure.

If you've just about had your fill of nu-, new-, or any-similar-prefix- metal, then Pure will certainly rub you the wrong way, because it isn't breaking new ground by playing faster, harder, or screaming louder than anything that has come before it. But for Pendragon, there are some definite advantages: Barrett has taken the vocals down a notch and been showing off some new guitar tricks. Couple that with Higham's very convincing Gavin Harrison impersonation (only in certain places), and there's some serious potential for riffing. Nolan is no stranger to the genre given his Arena background, and as expected moves deftly between lush soundscapes and noodly solos.

The opening extended pieces, Indigo and Eraserhead, are the highlights for me, with some nice heavy grooves (but nothing over-the-top) and plenty of front-and-center guitar for Barrett. I don't blame them for veering away from this formula, as you never want to fill an entire album with the same type of material. However, these new directions are generally of lower quality in my opinion. Take the Comatose suite: they take some definite chances--and are to be congratulated for the effort--such as the chamber music hoedown to end section one and the angsty fadeout to end section two, but the results end up a bit underwhelming.

I recommend this for those who might appreciate a light metal/neo-prog mashup. It's still Pendragon, and there's certainly still some cheese to be found, but perhaps now it's a bit more provolone than the old fattening Velveeta we've become used to in previous albums.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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