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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





3.98 | 597 ratings

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Lord Krodius
4 stars Pendragon has been one of my favorite groups for some time now. As much as I would like to give full credit to the album that got me interested in them in the first place, I feel I must point out its unmistakable shortcomings, without ignoring its obvious strong points that make it the incredible album it is. So, without further ado, here is my (unbiased) review of Pendragon's fifth studio album, "The Masquerade Overture."

Before I go further, I must note that I am reviewing the album itself, minus any bonus tracks. Keeping that in mind, there are seven tracks total. One of them is the operatic, keyboard-driven intro, "The Masquerade Overture." Another keyboard-heavy track, "The Pursuit of Excellence," is a ballad that feels more like an interlude than anything. That leaves five "actual" songs on the album, and although most of the tracks are quite lengthy, it still feels like there's something left to be desired by the time the music ends. The epic- length songs take many different twists and turns and include many different parts that earn the album points for variety, but these "twists and turns" often come without warning, and do not always flow well. It seems there are a number of parts that don't seem to fit as well with the song as they should, and that bars "The Masquerade Overture" from a perfect five- star rating.

The saving grace of this album is the superb songwriting of Pendragon front man Nick Barrett. Each track is extremely heartfelt and expertly arranged. Despite the album's occasional lack of cohesion and slight feeling of being incomplete, this is almost completely compensated for by the wonderful music that can be heard on this disc. The musicianship is impeccable, Barrett's songwriting surpasses impressive and touches the heart both musically and lyrically. I believe this is best demonstrated on the two shorter "non-epic" songs, "As Good As Gold" and "Paintbox," which, despite my unfathomable love for progressive epics, succeeded in making a lasting impression on me, as opposed to the other tracks. This does not mean that there is no stellar music to be heard on the other songs. Each track has strong points that make it a valuable asset to the album. In my opinion, the strongest epic from the album is "Guardian of My Soul," which, despite its unpredictability at times, never fails to keep me jamming from beginning to end.

In conclusion, "The Masquerade Overture" is a considerably strong effort from Pendragon. Regardless of its tendencies to drift off in between thoughts without warning, this album boasts a myriad of wonderful music, which more than makes up for its weak points. While it is not a flawless album, nor my favorite Pendragon album, it is an honest album and a true progressive rock gem. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

Lord Krodius | 4/5 |


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