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Pendragon - Passion CD (album) cover

PASSION

Pendragon

 

Neo-Prog

3.74 | 504 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Purely predictable

After the highly popular Pure album, it is perhaps not surprising that Pendragon continues on the same musical path with Passion. This means a modernized and beefed up version of what the band did in the 90's. Indeed, the melodies here seem to be gathered from the same source as those of The World and The Window Of Life albums (good, but hardly my favourites) but played in the heavier and harder edged style first explored on Pure. The production here is perfectly contemporary and modern, but the way in which Nick Barrett writes the material (and sings it) remains exactly the same as always - except, ironically, with less passion than in the past. If Pendragon has 'progressed' at all in recent years, it is only in terms of how they now sound, and not in their general approach to making music, which offers no real surprises. With Pure there was at least the novelty of this modern sound of the band, but Passion is for me an utterly predictable release after the success of the previous album. Being predictable is not necessarily a bad thing though, but with some of the weakest and least memorable material since 1988's Kowtow, I find it hard to be passionate about Passion.

While in general I like the heavier and harder edged side of Neo-Prog (particularly Clive Nolan's day-time job: Arena), I must say that this new and heavier style of Pendragon very often comes across as forced and does not suit this band at all. It is true that I found the 80's and 90's albums by Pendragon to be a bit too sweet and fairy tale-like and it is true that beefing up their sound was just what I would have recommended them to do. But though a good idea on paper, the end result is not very appealing; the song writing and vocals of Barrett and the modernized and heavier sound mix like oil and water here. (Unlike on the very successful live DVD Concerto Maximo, where older songs are played with more power and passion than ever before).

Passion is a merely decent Pendragon album for me, fully listenable but hardly remarkable in any way, and the least good Pendragon release in many a year. To my ears, Passion is the product of a band on auto-pilot. I would recommend this album only to those who are already fans of the band and simply cannot get enough of Barrett and co. and don't mind more of the same. Beginners should definitely start their investigation of Pendragon elsewhere.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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