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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





3.98 | 598 ratings

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4 stars The much-maligned Pendragon has had its monuments in my collection for quite a spell but never really warranted any further comment from me. Together with Marillion, this important band kept the barely flickering progressive flame alive when the punk/new wave typhoons were busy blowing off 'pretentious' (read= music students as opposed to guys just wanting to get laid) artists from the scene. They are a talented lot as Clive Nolan needs certainly no introduction while Nick Barrett is an accomplished fretman (not always a very good singer though IMHO). Bassist Peter Gee (great solo album, the religious Visions of Angels) and Fudge Smith complete the deal quite nicely. The Masquerade Overture remains their best release, even though some nitpickers will claim this music to be too poppy (hence the ugly neo-prog shackle-name tag) but truth be said, extended tunes such as the flamboyant 'As Good As Gold', the lustrous 'Paintbox', the stately The Shadow', the glossy 'Masters of Illusion' and the epic 'Guardian of My Soul' have a deserving place into the prog hall of fame as well as seeping through fans' headphones. The hallmarks are definitely the overall quality of the material (no filler here) , the memorable melodies and the exciting lead guitar solos , the mellotron touches (On 'the Shadow' par exemple) and the solid rhythmic foundation that are rock steady as opposed to mathematically complex. The songs have been nicely broken down by previous reviewers, suffice to say, this is a most worthy purchase. Strange that my fave track is the bonus Schizo , a PF dedication of the highest order, WOW!

What makes Pendragon unique here (and less so on the previous The Wind of Life and the following and disappointing Not of This World) is a perfect calibration of Genesis and Pink Floyd tendencies as well as some generally stellar instrumental explorations that never seems to want to hurry to any preconceived comfort zone. It is definitely one of the must-have albums in any prog collection, as it can be used as a perfect intro lecture for the uninitiated rock/pop fans looking for a little more depth to their muse. A more accomplished vocalist would have made this an easy perfect score.

Definitely 4.5 ballroom blitzes

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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