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Pendragon - Passion CD (album) cover





3.74 | 516 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars Listening Frenzy

Pendragon are one of those preliminary "neo-prog" bands of the 80s that really tried (but in the end failed until the 90s) to revamp the classic 70s prog rock scene. Their latest album, Passion, was one of the more highly anticipated albums on PA around the time of its release, and for a while it had one of the higher rating in the sub-genre. I can see why. This album may not be your average neo-prog album, with a much heavier almost metallic feel almost throughout. Chock full of infectious melodies and fantastic psychedelic-inspired rhythms mixed with rapid-fire mechanical filling and fantastic Portnoy-esque drumming, the album certainly has its diverse blend going on. With this supreme progressiveness going on, this is certainly one of my favorite albums of the year.

In previous reviews I've stated that I'm no expert on neo-prog. But I'm pretty sure this isn't really "neo-prog." But, it's still damn good. With the incredible blend of cinematic atmospheres with driving almost-metallic riffing sections, the album has an incredible dynamic contributing to this greatness. Although at times the album comes off as a bit too Floydian and at other a bit too popularly-leaning, the overall feeling of this album is a supremely harmonious, communicative experience of driving and infectious prog rock. With no shortage of head-banging moments and soaring melodious breakdowns, the album puts on a rollercoaster through the incredible minds of these fantastic musicians. As I hinted at before, the album isn't perfect, but it has an incredible feel the entire way through. The supreme riffing in Feeding Frenzy to the fantastic lyrics in Empathy to the fantastic epic (well sort of) This Green and Pleasant Land, the whole album is a just a real treat to listen to. And not mention it's a grower. This is my first Pendragon album, and my first listen I thought it was great. With the subsequent (and many) listens, I began to love it more and more. If you have hesitations about the album, listen to it a few more times and let those supreme melodies and that amazing atmosphere around the production. The mellow contrasting the heavy, spacey complimenting the melancholy, driving complimenting the hardness, the whole album is just a joy ride of modern progressive rock.

In the end, the album is overall, despite some minor flaws with some poppish melodies (especially the chorus on The Green and Pleasant Land) and some overly-Floydian rhythms at times, the album has an incredible sense of drive and passion (ha) all throughout. These guys certainly know what they're doing, and don't show any signs of slowing their musical incredibleness any time soon. 4+ stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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