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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





4.07 | 773 ratings

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The Squirrel
4 stars I had very high expectations for this piece of work. I listened the all the songs you can listen here many times. After careful thinking, I bought this album, and I was not disappointed. Very intresting, calm music with soft and enjoyable vocals. I bought this album some time ago, perhaps four, five or six months ago. I repeatedly listened the album, maybe couple or three times per day. Then, after weeks, I had a grand break from it. Now, two days ago, I listened this album, 'The Masquerade Overture' and got excited all over again. Very fine music, an excellent album I must say.

The intro, 'The Masquerade Overture' is fine classical music with Italian lyrics. I've been bit lazy, and have not found out the meaning of the words. I study spanish so some words are familiar. Very good intro for the second song.

Which is 'As Good as Gold'. Beautiful keyboard line with soft vocals by Nick Barret. The song evolves into rocky part where keyboards strike with nice melody. After that, great guitar melody. The song comes to the verse with great keyboard line. After the bridge the very catchy chorus strikes. After little guitar solo, back to the verse. And to the chorus repeated couple of times. Finishes with great keyboard outro. Not a boring structure, but not very prog either. Still, a very good track.

'Paintbox' is a bit overrated song for me. Calm beginning with keyboards. Then good keyboard part with guitarring. The bass is great throughout the song. Guitar melodies are great too, in this song, and in this whole album actually. Good keyboarding and guitarring after those. Little soloing. Change to the verse and finally to the chorus. Quiet outro. This song is little boring. I'm not saying that it is bad. But it's just little boring. The structure is like: From calm to rocky solos and back to calm. Including great melodies by keyboards and guitars. Very good track, but overrated in my opinion.

The short interlude, 'The Pursuit of Excellence' is very beautiful track with glorious vocals. Very sleepy feelin', but easy to listen. The feeling of the song flows to the head and jamms there when you relax and take time to get ready for the next song.

It is the 'Guardian of My Soul'. Weird keyboards and tribal drumming. Then short rock beat, and stunning guitar solo. After that strange intro, great guitars and good bass playing. And very beautiful keyboards. Peaceful vocals. Good verse with catchy chorus. The creepy part with ambient noises, when the 'Demons wake while the mannequin sleeps' is good. Mid tempo rokcin' goes on. Nice riffing, for the first time in the album I hear. (I'm not Yoda). Then, for the first time too, the drummer Fudge Smith, impresses me. Nice short drum solo, or just fills. Again, the core of Pendragon's music: great keyboard and guitar melodies take turns and stuns with power. Tempo change with good keyboards backing the vocals. The collaboration of keyboard and guitar is beautiful to listen. I have praised and I am going to praise their work.

The next song is the best song in the album, 'The shadow'. Very cliché name, and for why my expectations lowered a bit. The only thing that tells you something from the song before listening it, is the name (and of course if you have heard about it, read the lyrics etc.). The song begins with very beautiful keyboards and vocals. The song is very calm and beautiful, but after the "White knight of gestures can never be wrong" The tempo changes. Which is good, because ten minutes of beauty is too much. And again, the keyboards and guitars with their melodies and the collaboration between the two is awesome. 'The King of the Castle'-part is my favourite part in the album. Somehow the part just raise great feelings in my body. As outro, the intro keyboards. Beautiful finish for the best song in my opinion.

'Masters of Illusion' is the final track. Intro evolves into rocky verse and chorus. Though now I see (hear) a problem. The keyboard melody in the beginning of the track sounds a bit same as a one in 'The Shadow'. And come to thinking of it, without exploring, the same keyboard melody is used in more than two times in the album. After exploring, that is not true, but a problem. A bit of diversity to the keyboards could not be bad. A small, but a problem, still. The chorus of the song is great, very catchy. The song is very rocky. In the middle of the song, the tempo becomes slower, and then the song evolves into epic part with good vocals and a stunning guitar solo, which actually finishes the song as well as the whole album.

"I'll come dancing through your door, with hands out to the poor/ You won't suspect at all, like a vampire I will call"

The album is great. Yes, the keyboards and guitars are amazing. Very melodic music. And as a neo-progressive music, the keyboards really emerge. I was glad to found out, that Pendragon really is progressive music, because other neo-prog band I've listened (Arena) is not really prog. And I've read that that can be the part that neo-prog bands play. Back to this album; I found very few problems; the lack of diversity of keyboards, and sleepy music. I said before, that it is good, in the song 'The Pursuit of Excellence', but Pendragon's music is that kind of music, that when you are little tired and do not focus on the music completely, you could easily fall asleep. It is so hypnotic, which could be good, but could be bad too. Despite the few little problems, the album is a good totality. All the musicians do well in the album, well produced record. All is good. Though I can't say that this album is a masterpiece of progressive music. But it really is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. 4/5 stars. I really recommend this to all fans of music.

The Squirrel | 4/5 |


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