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Pendragon - The Window Of Life CD (album) cover





3.91 | 441 ratings

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4 stars 3.75 stars.

Let me just say that it is perfectly acceptable for a band to create a unique sound, immediately recognizable within a few seconds. However, if the band employs the same way of presenting that sound (i.e., song structure, arrangements) for every one of their albums, it can cease to be enjoyable, and can even boarder on being annoying. This problem has plagued Pendragon for a good amount of time. Sometimes, I wonder if they have to force themselves to not write the same song over again! But this is a generalization. Pendragon write fairly varied songs, and I find most all of them very enjoyable. But every so often, a certain passage from a song of theirs will remind me of a moment from a different album of theirs.

There are some sporadic moments like that on The Window of Life, yet most of the time, I can't pin the specific songs that these moments allude to. But nevertheless, I can still sense them, and the impact of The Window of Life is diminished slightly because of it. But that doesn't mean that The Window of Life is a bad album that can please no one. Far from it! It is a completely solid album, with a decent number of jaw-dropping moments-not so much in virtuosity, but in excellent chord progressions or crescendos. It's not as perfect as its successor, The Masquerade Overture, one of the true highlights of the Neo-Prog genre, but it is definitely up there with the best of them.

To begin, "The Last Man on Earth" may quite possibly be Pendragon's greatest song, rivaling such great tracks as "Master of Illusion" and "Good as Gold" for the honor. It is incredibly epic, with multiple sections. It may seem overlong for a Pendragon song at a lengthy 15 minutes, but none of it is wasted or useless. I'll emphasize: "The Last Man on Earth" is Pendragon's "Supper's Ready."

There aren't very many other standout songs on The Window of Life, or at least there aren't as many that are as immediately disarming as "The Last Man on Earth," but this is only because that song is so incredible. Most rest of the album falls into typical Pendragon territory: Airy, wispy, floating-in-the-clouds keyboard textures courtesy of Clive Nolan with the ever-reliable Nick Barrett soloing over them. This is all good, mind you, but it can be a bit tiresome after awhile. But there is one exception: the opening, "The Walls of Babylon." At the beginning, there isn't much to set it aside from what is typical of Pendragon, but at around 4 minutes, the main theme arises with a bang and after that, you're hooked until the end.

The Window of Life is a valiant effort from Pendragon, and I do enjoy it a good deal. There are plenty off great moments (did I mention "The Last Man on Earth?") and all around solid tracks, but simply put, it isn't as good as The Masquerade Overture, which is on a pedestal all its own. But I still recommend this to any fan of Neo-Prog. Who knows, you may even like it more than The Masquerade Overture? Enjoy.

stonebeard | 4/5 |


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