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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pendragon - The World CD (album) cover





3.78 | 391 ratings

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4 stars 3.5 stars.

Step by step, chord by chord, Pendragon were working up to their greatest achievement, The Masquerade Overture. They started off pretty advanced with The Jewel, but it was evident from the beginning that they had a few great ideas, but surrounded them with filler and sub-par songwriting. The World is a very clear step in the right direction. There are beautiful melodies throughout the album, and much more advanced songwriting. However, one problem, possibly an enormous one at that, becomes evident after the first few songs: this album can be quite boring. I really want to emphasize the "can" part of that thought. Personally, I find The World to be a rather engaging listen overall, but to one who listens to Taal and Frank Zappa all day, this might as well be a glass of warm milk. But to the more Neo- Progressive fan, The World will be worthy listen.

One thing that I think developed early on in Pendragon's music is the genius keyboard work that Clive Nolan provides. While all of the players would fine-tune their craft over the coming years, Nolan seems to be a step ahead of the game on The World. His playing isn't really a stunning showcase of virtuosity, but he surely knows how to illicit an emotion out of the listener. The ethereal and adventurous synthesizer sound on The World is one of its best aspects. And gladly, Nick Barrett's vocals are also improving. There are some embarrassing moments when he tries to pull off a high or sustained note and his voice creaks and wavers. Despite these occurrences, his voice fits the music well.

That pretty much sums up most of the album, but I feel I have to mention the epic, "Queen of Hearts," in case you're hoping for a piece on par with "Supper's Ready." It doesn't even come close, but that doesn't mean it's worthless. No, there are plenty of great melodies and moments scattered throughout the song. I particularly enjoy the desperate-sounding, minor-key introduction and the catchy ending section. I have a feeling that Pendragon were shooting for their own "Supper's Ready," but at this point, they're simply not able to pull it off. On Believe, however, they would make another attempt which would come much closer to the target.

Now, if you're a fan of Pendragon's more known and, let's be honest, better work such as The Masquerade Overture or Believe, I have no doubt that you'll enjoy The World. There are a fine amount of quality tracks and moments on it, and even if it can't match their later works in terms of complexity or brilliant songwriting, it hints at what's to come.

stonebeard | 4/5 |


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