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Pendragon - Not Of This World CD (album) cover





3.90 | 514 ratings

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3 stars Not of this World is a fairly big letdown after the near-perfection of The Masquerade Overture, and on first glance, and perhaps even on first listen, one may wonder why. All of the ingredients that go into the classic Pendragon formula are there: searing guitar solos, bombastic synths, Barrett's emotional vocal style, and epic songs with some sort of deep message. All of these characteristics of Pendragon's music can be incredibly moving and effective . when employed in appropriate doses. The problem with Not of This World is that Pendragon go overboard with their own clichés. Some of the emotions in the songs are forced, and one gets the feeling that the music is complex just for the sake of being complex. It seems that Pendragon wanted to make such an exemplary follow-up to The Masquerade Overture that they didn't know when enough was enough.

But don't think that Not of This World is simply a barren wasteland of forced emotion and ponderous instrumentation. There are some genuinely excellent moments scattered throughout the album, where Pendragon sit back and let the ideas flow more clearly and naturally, especially in the poetic and incredible "All Over Now" section of "Dance of the Seven Veils" and the exalting final half of the "Lost Children" section of "World's End." The problem may be that sitting through the exceeding bulk of the album in order to get to these moments may just not be worth it. Strangely, the two acoustic bonus tracks are more enjoyable to listen to than much of the album! After such a demanding and draining journey, it can be very nice and relaxing to listen to two simple and well-written acoustic songs.

Though Not of this World is a weak Pendragon album, I still recommend it to a fan of the band. There are moments, surely more than what I've mentioned above, that make the purchase worthwhile. But if this happens to be the first Pendragon album you get, and are a bit put off by it, please give the band another chance, for they do indeed have much more to offer.

stonebeard | 3/5 |


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