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2 stars Neo-prog - that boring kind of prog which is mostly appealing for newcomers and maybe to a few nostalgic old proggers. In recent years I noticed a little hype around many records belonging to this sub-genre and in most cases its unjustified hype. Love Over Fear by Pendragon feels boring, mellow, minimalist and flat. Way too many 5-stars reviews and too much love from many respected collaborators. Its nice to see a very good production and a triple album with acoustic and instrumental versions of the main disk but maybe I am a little too tired of this "storm" of overrated neo-prog albums released in recent years.
Report this review (#2314320)
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had given this album a good many listens before I saw it performed in its entirety at Trading Boundaries which just prompted me to listen even more obsessively to it. I shall keep returning to it because it is such a fine album. Given that Trading Boundaries was the first gig in a long tour, the band was in really fine form.

The album opens with Everything, a great stomping opener for a gig, and then calms down dramatically with a beautiful ballad, Starfish And The Moon. Truth And Lies opens with an edgier feel and, as one of the longer tracks, is an opportunity for Nick Barrett to develop a lovely guitar solo. 360 Degrees opens with a folk rock sound before developing into another stomper. The lyrics were a bit of a mystery to me when I first heard, "everything is green, everything is blue, everything you see, 360 degrees". In introducing the song, Nick explained that he had moved to Cornwall and the song is inspired by the green fields and blue skies which appear to be everywhere you look. Soul And The Sea develops slowly until the half-way point when it builds to a crescendo before concluding in the manner that it opened.

For me, the sixth track, Eternal Light, is the best track on the album. As another of the longer tracks there is a lot of scope for development and change which it does from early in the track. Before you reach the half way point you can feel the energy building in Barrett's vocal and the track calms again just after the halfway point with another short piano solo. The track builds again for the dramatic climax and another glorious (all too short) guitar solo. Wonderful track.

Water is another lovely ballad with fine guitar solo and is followed by another edgier track, Whirlwind with its gentle piano opener which develops into another fine ballad. Who Really Are We? Is the longest track (just) at nearly nine minutes. This track includes the title of the album in the lyrics and, given the Love Over Fear subject matter has an edgy sound to the melody and the vocal.

The album concludes with another fine ballad, Afraid Of Everything. The vocal covers the first half of the track and the second half starts with a gentle guitar solo that develops into a lovely instrumental with the whole band playing out the melodic theme. For me. this is, by some distance, the best album of the year so far this year and deserves a five star rating.

Report this review (#2336466)
Posted Sunday, February 16, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pendragon's latest effort is a big departure from their previous later albums, being their most experimental release since Pure (2008). Love Over Fear brings back lots of the colorful sound from their classic Symphonic Rock releases, but at the same time presents lots of new ideas and palettes, while still being indistinguishable Pendragon. This will require multiple listens to be properly appreciated.

The guitar work is as strong as ever, with some really beautiful solos and melodies and layers of piano and keyboard that gives the necessary build up when the song needs it.

"Everything" starts with a somewhat annoying upbeat organ riff, quickly developing into more familiar territory: A beautiful and introspective opener, with delicate instrumentation and a nice final guitar solo closing the song with a melody similar to the organ intro.

"Starfish and a Moon" surprises the listener with a piano ballad and Barret's voice surprising beautiful performance. It fits really well after the previous track.

"Truth and Lies" is the first somewhat "epic" of the album. It's really beautiful, with very delicate guitars, resembling a classic-era Genesis song, before evolving into one of the best guitar solos made by Barret's and a really strong finale.

"360 Degrees" is Pendragon meets catchy Big Big Train. The violin has a strong presence here and dictates the song's main riff. It's an energetic track with a simple but cool guitar riff.

"Soul and the Sea" is another 'short' track with a strong presence of violin, but very progressive, powerful, introspective and beautiful. The finale brings back the energetic guitar from the previous albums, but this time without the darkness. The very ending is also really beautiful.

"Eternal Light" is the second epic, surprising the listener with a few turns before getting into the chorus and then a strong final build-up, where keyboards and guitars join together soloing before reaching the final chorus.

"Water" brings back the introspection from the previous tracks, starting slowly, jazzy with a very memorable chorus and a killer long guitar solo. My favorite track from the album.

"Whirlwind" is another piano ballad, this time more sad, slow and with a saxofone outro.

"Who really are we?" is the last epic, with a very Indigo-esque energic intro, before the acoustic guitars and the vocals kicks-in developing the song in interesting ways.

"Afraid of Everything" closes the albums beautifully with a beautiful guitar intro leading into a crescendo and a beautiful keyboard solo (which is actually just repeating the same notes). A fitting closer for such great album.

Lovely album and one of the greatest releases from 2020. Love Over fear is Pendragon's at its best: melancholic, uplifting, beautiful, energetic and amazing.

Report this review (#2336711)
Posted Monday, February 17, 2020 | Review Permalink
2 stars Unfortunately, this brand new album from Pendragon didn't meet my expectations. Sonically, it resembles me partly Not Of This World, with a good production, and apparently Mr Barret intended to revert back to 90s/early 00s material sound. While having its strong moments, like in 'Truth and Lies' with guitar soloing and supporting rythm section, the album lacks signature melodic lines like in 90s and even Pure and Passion material. Second in a row failed to meet my personal expectations album, though it's definitely a better one comparing to 'Men Who Climb Mountains'. I'm a huge Pendragon fan, but I must acknowledge, that IQ nowadays is in much better shape, what is proved by their recent efforts. P.S. Surprisingly, not too many reviews are posted on progarchives since the album's release, and most of them are very positive.
Report this review (#2338363)
Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Article by: Magnus Moar

Back in 2017, Nick Barrett posted a blog entry about the process of writing and how a deep personal engagement with his material meant he couldn't simply churn out albums to order. Reflecting on the recent passing of his father, and the bitterly acerbic tone that political debates had taken, he wanted to put together an album that celebrated the wonder and goodness of life. With a recent move to Cornwall, and time spent motorcycling, surfing and caravanning, he mooted Love Over Fear. Just over two years later, that record is with us.

Alongside adopting an upbeat and life-affirming sentiment for the lyrics, Barrett also indicated a desire to return to some of the soundscapes of the band's more symphonic '90s oeuvre (those albums from The World to Not of This World). Personally, I met this news with a mixture of delight and trepidation. On the one hand, that is the period that includes my favourite Pendragon material, but on the other, the band's ability to progress and reinvent themselves has meant that each album offers something new whilst remaining distinctively Pendragon. What a tremendous pleasure it was, then, to hear the latest offering and find that Barrett has succeeded in recording an album which takes the best of their legacy and at the same time still delivers something new and vibrant. Love Over Fear might just be Pendragon's finest album to date, no mean feat for a band who have such an impressive back catalogue, one that ranks amongst the best prog has had to offer over the last few decades. Love Over Fear opens with a stomping 4/4 beat and Seventies organ before moving into more familiar territory with Barrett's signature guitar sound and a song that has a Masters of Illusion feel to it. Straight away it's clear to the listener that Clive Nolan will have more of an opportunity to flex his fingers on this latest effort. The most striking thing about Pendragon's eleventh studio album, aside from the welcome return of the symphonic sound, is the quality of Barrett's vocals. On Starfish and the Moon, in particular, he stretches his range with superb dynamic control and maintains a delicate vibrato. This paired with Barrett's piano and guitar melodies, and a synth string backing, make this soft percussion-less ballad a thing of beauty. Following Starfish and the Moon is the first of the album's eight- minute epics, Truth and Lies. The arpeggiated twelve-string guitar calls to mind some of the gentler moments from Not of This World and a vocal melody which fans may recognise from Come Home Jack. You can feel the moment when the soaring guitar solo is about to kick in, and what a terrific solo it is. I love Jan-Vincent Velazco's drumming on this: subtle, understated and working in and around the beats. I'm reminded of the playing of drummer and percussionist Vinnie Colaiuta.

360 Degrees was a real surprise. Kicking off with mandolin (or does it open with a ukulele, I'm not sure), the band swing into a Celtic folk-rocker featuring backing singer Zoe Devenish on violin. Considering that Barrett has relocated to Cornwall, and that this album is a love letter to the sea, the track is set in context and the listener is whisked away to a lock-in in a coastal pub. It's great fun and is sure to have fans clapping along at gigs in much the same way that they have to Nostradamus in the past.

Soul and the Sea provides an engaging platform to showcase the band's undoubted talents. Zoe Devenish is a gifted violinist and I sincerely hope that she will become a feature of Pendragon albums in the future. Both Nolan and Velazco feature prominently on this piece too. What follows is the second of the albums eight-minute tracks (and possibly my favourite), the breezily uplifting Eternal Light. Velazco's slick percussion and drumming here accompany some of Love Over Fear's best melodies. A quick reference back to opener Everything builds into some guitar and keyboard interplay that swells out into something reminiscent of both The Voyager and A Man of Nomadic Traits.

Water is another eight-minuter which builds gradually as a slightly moodier piece and develops into yet another fine guitar solo. Whirlwind is the second of Barrett's piano pieces and is another surprise for the listener with its jazz chords and a welcome guest spot for Julian Baker on sax. Who Really Are We? is the one obvious nod to the more recent, heavier albums with an intro so Indigo-like that I was waiting to hear the dog bark. This is an excellent track with a little bit of all the things that make Pendragon such an exceptional prog band. So too the closer, Afraid of Everything, which rounds the album off with an achingly beautiful anthemic repeated theme. Top this off with some magnificent artwork from local artist Liz Saddington and Love Over Fear is a superb package.

The album is somewhat musically self-referential, but at the same time it's also wedded to a host of pleasant new surprises and it's hard not to be swept along by the positive energy of its theme and tone. I suspect that most Pendragon fans will adore this album. There isn't a single weak moment on Love Over Fear, far less a weak track. Verses, choruses and instrumentals are all melody-rich, the instrumentation is wonderfully diverse, the dynamics varied and well-structured. I could go on and on.

Clearly a lot of thought and love has gone into this latest recording. Love Over Fear was well worth the wait and will undoubtedly come to be regarded as one of the highpoints in the career of one of prog's greatest artists.

Report this review (#2338909)
Posted Thursday, February 27, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars With this more recent album, Pendragon is back to their best. Over the last decade, the band released music with a focus on a heavier style. With this album the band features a terrific mix of inspirations from the past and present. The album has superb musicianship , awesome guitar solos , great memorable tunes and great production. There isn't a single weak moment on Love Over Fear. This is perhaps Pendragon's best album to date, and is definitely a strong candidate for album of the year. This album, was well worth the wait and should be regarded as one of the highpoints in the band's discography.
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Posted Saturday, February 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars And... they did it. This is their masterpiece in my opinion. It has such a distinctive sound yet it has the warmth and feeling of their previous albums. Disheartened with most modern prog and it's watered down sound and /or derivative sound of the 70's (trying to sound complex yet most bands sounding the same) these guys come out with this album full of heartbreaking beauty and passion. They sing about reading books instead of watching tv, about the healing powers of the ocean and I cannot help myself think about the Socratic concept of "a life worth living" and how it sounds like that the lives of these musicians is just full of meaning (watch the promotional video for this album to understand what I mean).

There are dreamy guitar solos, MELLOTRON (I think it's a first on one of their albums?), nostalgic synths and then there's a whole different thing where the sound and textures just take on a new direction. But like any real masterpiece, in most cases, it takes a few spins to appreciate what they've done here.

Whether you've jumped into the bandwagon that disses Neo-Prog or just never gave them a chance: listen to this album a couple of times. REALLY listen to it. I'm sure you'll be surprised. For the rest of us, the fans, we only have to enjoy this powerful album and soar mighty, mighty high time and time again.

Report this review (#2339454)
Posted Sunday, March 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's really fantastic.'Love Over Fear' meets my obviously hefty expectations. It is like a tapestry of light, laughter, and love. Just thinking about the sheer beauty, care, and skill that went into this album, I get a tear in my eye. Everything here feels perfect, carefully planned, and evocatively executed. Yes, the album returns somewhat to the classic Pendragon sound, being more keyboard-forward and more lusciously melodic than the last few albums, throwing in hints of folk and jazz, as well. Personally, I hear The Window of Life and Believe the most here, though I think there are specific callbacks to multiple albums, such as Not of This World. Long story short, if you loved their 90s and early 00s output, you will instantly be in love with this album. 'Love Over Fear' sees Pendragon at the top of their career. This is genre and decade-defining music here. With all the heavy hitters in Pendragon's discography, this album even rivals my favorite one, Not of This World. In fact, it may best it eventually. Pendragon has never been better, and this album is their superlative gift to all of us. Please buy it directly from the band.
Report this review (#2339642)
Posted Sunday, March 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After Nick Barrett's move to Cornwall, this latest Pendragon album is heavily influenced by his new surroundings and the sea ('Everything is blue, everything is green') and this is a slight change in direction for the band. After the first track with its lively keyboard and drum opening, we have a piano ballad which is a bit of a new departure for them. We also have a mandolin intro for the track 360 Degrees, which also features a jaunty violin riff from Zoe Devenish. The beautiful 'Afraid of Everything' is another standout for me but there is not a duff track in sight.

There is quite a pastoral feel to this album with its 12-string guitar, saxophone and the afore- mentioned violin however fans of the Barrett guitar won't be disappointed as there are plenty of his trademark solos. Nick is an under-rated guitarist who is up there with the Gilmours and Latimers of this world. New drummer Jan-Vincent Velazco is a revelation, there are some wonderful keyboards as you'd expect from Clive Nolan, all held together with Peter Gee's bass. Barrett's vocals are probably the best they've ever been.

The CD features a wonderful cover by local artist Liz Saddington and apart from the basic CD, there is a book version which has the basic album itself with an acoustic version and an instrumental version, as well as some wonderful artwork and photographs from PA forum member Rachel Wilce. The album has had a fantastic reception amongst the Pendie faithful and is going down a storm on the current tour. Even the unfortunate leaving behind of the mandolin did not affect the recent gig at the 229.

Not many bands can say they've made the album of their career after 40 years but with Love Over Fear, Pendragon may just have done that. 5 stars.

Report this review (#2340915)
Posted Monday, March 9, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pendragon are one of the neo-progressive bands along with IQ, Marillion, Pallas, Solstice and Twelfth Night who started in the late 1970s in medium-sized British towns and cities. In Pendragon's case, it was 1978 and Stroud in Gloucestershire. Apart from a change of drummers, they have had the same lineup of guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Nick Barrett, bassist Peter Gee and keyboardist Clive Nolan since 1986. The drummer on this album is Jan-Vincent Velazco (Vinnie) and this is the first one he plays on (though he has been a member for about six years). 'Love Over Fear' (LOF) is the band's eleventh studio album and released in February 2020. The album has three compact discs with the main album on the first disc, acoustic versions on the second disc and instrumental versions on the third disc. I shall be reviewing the first disc with maybe one or two references to the instrumental versions. It has ten songs, a running time of around sixty-four minutes and was recorded at two studios in both Cornwall and Surrey from March-August 2019.

Album opener 'Everything' starts with a Hammond organ line and fast drumming before the tempo and time signature changes slightly for the verses. There are some wonderful soaring guitar lines and some beautiful acoustic guitar. A very uplifting song.

'Starfish And The Moon' is about the loss of a loved one. It has a delicate piano sound with no drums and very little bass. The slowest and shortest song on the album. I think it fits in perfectly between two fast songs.

'Truth And Lies' is about social media and how too many people jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts. It starts off quite slow and mellow with electric arpeggio and strummed acoustic guitars mixed with synth strings that makes it sound a lot like a Moody Blues song (I can hear some flute in there too). About half-way through the drums kick in and the song becomes more epic and faster with a soaring guitar solo. One of the highlights on the album.

'360 Degrees' is the song on the album with the biggest influence from Celtic folk music and American country music. Inspired by moving down to Cornwall, it uses banjo, fiddle and mandolin but still has that distinct Pendragon sound. Something for fans of The Levellers.

'Soul And The Sea' starts with wonderful guitar arpeggios and violin. Toms are featured heavily on the song at this point. About halfway through and after a short piano flourish, the sound changes and it gets a bit heavier before going back to the piano again before a fast guitar arpeggio leads the song to the coda. Listen closely and you can hear seagulls.

'Eternal Light' is the third longest song. The lyrics are very inspiring and uplifting and give you a lot of hope, but I also love the instrumental version just as much. One line that stands out is telling us to turn the television off and read a book. Musically, there is a synth riff that is very simple but fits the song perfectly. I also love the strummed acoustic guitar and the electric guitar intro with flanger and phaser. It is probably my favourite song on the album.

'Water' is about Nick's love of surfing in Cornwall. The arpeggio at the beginning is treated with reverb to give it a sound as though waves are crashing inside a cave. After a short but fast drum solo from Vinnie, the tempo slows and there is some nice acoustic guitar playing throughout the song. It is a beautiful soothing oceanic song that is as calm as the ocean it describes with a wonderful guitar solo.

'Whirlwind' is slow, mellow jazz and built around piano and Nick's voice. It has a Las Vegas lounge room vibe and a song that Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr. could sing. You can imagine the band recording it in front of a roaring fire and I love the saxophone solo.

'Who Really Are We?' is the longest song on the album. It is fast and probably the heaviest song on the album with a similar style to the Passion and Pure albums. There is still a lot of acoustic guitar on the song, fits in perfectly with the rest of the album and is one of the highlights. 'Look deep within and find love over fear.'

'Afraid Of Everything' closes out the album with touching guitar arpeggio (Nick does love his arpeggios). The guitar solo is sweet, but it is the Moog synth sound that brings the song to a close and fades out while it repeats that gives me goosebumps. The lyrics are short and sweet and encourage you to stop thinking about the past, believe in yourself and make the most of everyday you have. A beautiful song to finish on.

I have not heard many Pendragon albums but that is slowly changing. I enjoyed 'Not Of This World' (2001) even though it was quite melancholic, both 'Passion' (2011) and 'Pure' (2008) were superb and 'The Window Of Life' (1993) has some fine songs. Pendragon in 2020 has a lot of variety and upbeat but also quite moody without the progressive metal influences found on the last few albums. I especially love the folk influences and it is great to hear acoustic guitar enhancing but not taking over the songs. It is not a coincidence that the three longest songs are also the three best. While the songs are long, none are longer than just over eight and a half minutes so do not outstay their welcome but allow time to build and to breathe. The guitar playing both on electric and acoustic guitars are superb and all the solos are stunning. I love the Hammond organ sounds but it is the synth pads and strings that stand out for me on all the songs (I can hear a lot of Mellotron). As a rhythm section, Peter and Vinnie work extremely well together. While Peter's bass playing is subtle it is effective, and you would not think that it is Vinnie's first album with the band. Pendragon have created something very important and this may well be one of the albums of the year.

Report this review (#2341162)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have been really enjoying this album. Nick Barrett's songwriting is masterful--he knows how to write music that truly pleases the soul. His lyrics are also quite engaging, nostalgic, and even inspiring. And he may just be the pre-eminent guitar soloist of the latter half of the Progressive Rock era: like his predecessor in that spot, Dave Gilmour, his solos rarely fail to evoke astonishment, goosebumps, and/or blissful elation. They do here and they really have always done so. We are so fortunate for the talents of this supremely gifted musician. One of the things that makes this album so enjoyable is the variety of song styles, the heart-centered place from which his lyrics and music seems to arise, the wonderful sound palette and sonic landscapes created herein, and what feels like perhaps the best array of truly astonishing vocal performances I've ever heard from Mr. Barrett--and this from a vocalist that I really never considered a "master" of that instrument. As it feels as if people have become tired of the song-by-song narration routine, I will eschew from said process. Suffice it to say that I feel that there are three perfect songs: 5."Soul and the Sea," 7. "Water," and 8. "Whirlwind";

four other masterpieces in 3. "Truth and Lies," 6. "Eternal Light," 9. "Who Really Are We?" and 10. "Afraid of Everything";

three very good songs in 1. "Everything," 2. "Starfish and the Moon," and 4. "360 Degrees"

and no songs worth skipping.

Five stars; a full blown masterpiece of progressive rock music--no small feat these 40 years after their formation. Would that other bands continually be able to not only reinvent but improve upon their back catalogue. Time after time, Pendragon have consistently been able to do this. Amazing.

Report this review (#2342603)
Posted Friday, March 13, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars After spending the 1980s with one foot in neo-prog and another foot in poppier material, with all the stylistic shifts that such a stance implies, Pendragon would shift gear in the 1990s and establish what many think of as the "classic" Pendragon sound - a melodic style of neo-prog in which Clive Nolan's synthesiser textures create a dramatic backdrop against which Nick Barrett's emotionally resonant guitar work unfolds.

This is a style that premiered on The World, was perfected on The Window of Life and The Masquerade Overture, and in retrospect you can see Not Of This World as the close of this phase of the band. Believe, whilst it still had significant elements of this style, saw the band incorporating fresher ideas into their toolbox, whilst Pure, Passion, and Men Who Climb Mountains have all sounded very different from their 1990s material.

Now, after a long percolation, the new album comes - Love Over Fear - and I feel like in years to come we'll look at this album as the fruition of the process of musical experimentation and development the band began after Not Of This World. Not because it is the furthest they have gone from their 1990s style - but because it's the closest they have come to a return to it since that album came out.

However, don't be fooled - this is not Pendragon taking a step backwards. Rather, like the spiralling wave (with a heart at its centre, naturally) on the front cover art, this is Pendragon coming full circle whilst still moving forwards all the time. In essence, my feeling is that the intervening albums between Not Of This World and this represent a cathartic process of renewal and development that Pendragon had to accomplish before they tackled this task. The Pendragon of 2001, who'd just done Not Of This World, would not have been able to make this album - not out of any lack of musical ability, but because they needed to exercise other muscles and let other aspects of their style rest a bit to rejuvenate itself before they harvested those fields again.

And even here, there's little departures here and there; the opening track, Everything, sounds like a psych number from the 1960s in its early stages before it shifts gear into more typical Pendragon fare, whilst elsewhere the band feel happy taking moments to step back and go for a more minimalist approach (as on Starfish and the Moon). It really feels like there's nods to all the different shores that Pendragon have washed up on over the years, whilst keeping the heart of the material rooted in their classic style at least in terms of following the "melodic, emotional neo-prog" niche they had carved out for themselves, though they approach that mission statement with a greatly expanded musical palette at their disposal and so execute it with more finesse than ever before.

It took a long while for Pendragon to really find their audience - in particular, we should really thank the Polish prog scene for being such stalwart supporters of the band at a time when other markets didn't want to hear it - and I recall that when I started following prog online in the late 1990s/early 2000s, many looked down on them for following their particular style. They've proven those naysayers wrong over and over again from Pure onwards, but Love Over Fear may well be their grandest artistic statement yet.

Report this review (#2344171)
Posted Sunday, March 22, 2020 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Originally published on

When is the last time that I gave an album a 10/10 score? I cannot remember exactly, but I know it has been more than two years. I do not like to give that score out lightly, I think you know. Well, with all the weight of my heart, I could not with any good conscience deprive Pendragon's "Love Over Fear" of that honor. This album, which can be purchased now but the release date is officially "mid-February", has captured the majesty, emotion, and humanity that makes Pendragon so very important to me.

Yes, I am a Pendragon fan boy. They are in my top 3 bands, and there is just something fiercely expressive about their music that transfixes me. Pendragon has been making music for 40 years now, but they only seem to be getting better. Yes, albums like The Window of Life, Not of This World, The Masquerade Overture, and Believe represent some of my all-time favorite albums. Over the last decade, the band seemed to set their sights on a heavier style (which I like), but some of the color and wonder left their sound as result. Still, they've never made an album that I would even call "mediocre".

But here we are with "Love Over Fear". As soon as I saw the glorious artwork and saw the concise title, I knew that inspiration had flooded their minds. The current lineup for this UK band is Nick Barrett on lead vocals and guitar; Clive Nolan on keys; Peter Gee on bass and keys; and Jan-Vincent Velazco on drums. You will also hear Zoe Devenish on violin and backing vocals, which both play an important role on this album, as well as Julian Baker on saxophone.

I need to take a moment here. You may not understand just how much I love this band. Nick is, in my opinion, one of the greatest guitarists ever. I would rank him above even David Gilmour. Clive, similarly, is one of the greatest keyboardists prog has ever seen. One step further: Pete is one of my favorite bassists, laying down some of my absolute favorite bass lines. And, even though I do miss Scott Higham on drums, Jan-Vincent has truly proven himself with his tasteful and powerful beats here. So, you might say I love this band. There might honestly be a different word for how I feel about their music.

"Love Over Fear" meets my obviously hefty expectations. It is like a tapestry of light, laughter, and love. Just thinking about the sheer beauty, care, and skill that went into this album, I get a tear in my eye. Everything here feels perfect, carefully planned, and evocatively executed. Yes, the album returns somewhat to the classic Pendragon sound, being more keyboard-forward and more lusciously melodic than the last few albums, throwing in hints of folk and jazz, as well. Personally, I hear The Window of Life and Believe the most here, though I think there are specific callbacks to multiple albums, such as Not of This World. Long story short, if you loved their 90s and early 00s output, you will instantly be in love with this album.

This wouldn't be a Pendragon album without pensive lyrics. Nick has really been thinking lately, it seems, and I think this album wears its feelings on its sleeve. This is an album about all the beauty in our world. It is a record that rejoices in truth and goodness: that opines about the connection we have with each other and with our earthly home. Ultimately, Nick is asking us to find wonder, curiosity, and adventure again. He hopes that, in a world that can often be a drain on our collective life force, we can find youth and imagination once more. And that fabled "eternal life" that so many are seeking, Nick is saying we can find it here and now with the ones we love and with this dazzling world right outside our doors. Nick's love for his partner, Rachel, as well as for the ocean and surfing the waves, all make their way into the lyrics, and so this universal message somehow feels intensely personal, too.

"Love Over Fear" is more than just a message, strong as it is. Nick's vocals might be his best ever, achieving levels of melody and musicality that I don't think he even had in the 80s-90s. He sounds whimsical and nostalgic. His guitars, too, soar with the birds and dive with the dolphins. You will hear plenty of fantastic riffs and licks; but, wow, there are moments, such as on "Soul and the Sea", where he breaks out and shivers instantly shoot up my spine. Clive, too, seems like he has returned after being away for some time. On the last few albums, he was more in the background since the sound was heavier. Here, Clive is front and center once again. His lush waves of melody soak every inch of this album, and you will get lost in the brilliance.

It is absolutely impossible to choose favorite songs here, but there are some tracks I need to discuss. Firstly, "Starfish and the Moon" is a delicate little ballad that grants such whimsy and wisdom that I melt every time I hear it. Let me skip forward to the end right here: "Afraid of Everything" ends the album with all kinds of hopes and dreams, prophecies of a life that could be possible. In some ways, it mirrors "Starfish and the Moon" with its vision of warmth and courage. It is a grand finale, one that I wish could last forever.

Okay, let's jump back to an earlier part of the album. Tracks 3-6 might be some of the best songs I've ever heard on any album from any band. This four-track marathon of "Truth and Lies", "360 Degrees", "Soul and the Sea", and "Eternal Light" are exquisite works of art, lush and life-giving in every way. "Truth and Lies" is a bit of a slow burn, but then Nick's glorious sustains come sweeping in, and the sound launches into something truly special. "360 Degrees" is something different for the band. It feels rooted in folk music, whether English or American (they seem to overlap in my view), and so creates such human quaintness with its violin passages and ukulele rhythms that you cannot help but smile. "Soul and the Sea", wow, what a song. It comes across as almost ambient and cinematic at times, and Nick's voice is as smooth as butter. The song builds and builds with keyboard-soaked anticipation until Nick's guitars come busting in to flatten my heart.

With all of that, you would wonder what my favorite song on the album is. Currently and subject to change, that song is "Eternal Light". This song starts with more of a rock vibe, but it slowly moves into something truly transcendent. Clive's keys are full of choirs and wonder, and Nick's chorus is pure introspective gravy. The last half features a guitar rhythm that reminds me so very much of "Am I Really Losing You?" from The Window of Life, and so the song not only feels rich and inspired, but also feels nostalgic and familiar. I am in love with it, yes, but also with every single song on this album.

"Love Over Fear" sees Pendragon at the top of their career. This is genre and decade-defining music here. With all the heavy hitters in Pendragon's discography, this album even rivals my favorite one, Not of This World. In fact, it may best it eventually. Pendragon has never been better, and this album is their superlative gift to all of us. Please buy it directly from the band.

Report this review (#2346719)
Posted Wednesday, April 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some four years ago, I reviewed Distant Monsters by Martigan, and alluded, in my review, to some of the (very few) releases that I considered to merit the full five stars. All the usual suspects were there, with albums by Yes, Genesis, Tull, The Enid, Big Big Train and IQ to the fore. But no mention of Pendragon - even though they remain one of my all- time favourite bands. The World, Window of Life, Masquerade, Not of this World....all great albums, but just falling short of the highest accolade. Believe, Pure, Passion, Mountains....all somewhat patchy, with the usual great musicianship, but not altogether to my taste. So I thought that was that: Pendragon would never quite scale the highest heights. Then along comes Love over Fear. What a complete show-stopper! Absolutely magnificent from start to finish. Wonderful, emotive songs; tasteful and thoughtful lyrics; superb vocals, guitar and piano by Nick; swirling keyboards from the ubiquitous genius, Clive; typically understated bass lines from the masterly Peter; and subtle work by Jan-Vincent underpinning the whole, on drums. Throw in joyous (and wholly unexpected) sax and violin, and there you have it: a five star masterpiece. I am not going to indulge myself with a track-by-track breakdown, because there is no need - other reviewers, with enviably greater descriptive powers, have done that more than adequately. I console myself with simply listening to the album. Truly wondrous. Fantastic work, Pendragon. Forty years (and counting) down the track, you have delivered a timeless classic.
Report this review (#2347533)
Posted Saturday, April 4, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, a new Pendragon album is always something to celebrate in Lazland, and Love Over Fear is no exception.

Trailed comments prior to release suggested that the album was a return to the pomp glory days of yore. To a degree, yes it is. By and large, the experimentation with a far louder and harsh hard rock sound has gone. Neither, however, is this a clone of, say, The Masquerade Overture. Rather, this album provides us with a band in ridiculously rude health in 2020, and an extremely personal statement on the part of leader Nick Barrett. This is pretty much a perfect fusion of those old much loved albums, and essential modernity.

This album is, as the title suggests, an uplifting experience, something that is surely much needed in these challenging times. Given that my son and I were supposed to be seeing them live this weekend, I (and you, dear reader) have had to make do with this review.

The whole work is beautifully produced. From the opening key bars right through to the surround sound end, what we get here is an album which oozes passion, if you will pardon the pun, and a work very much influenced by Nick's move to SW England and his love of the water.

Many highlights, but to these ears, I have never heard Nick sound as good as he does on the wonderful second track, a gorgeous ballad Starfish and the Moon. Deceptively simple piano accompanies a delicate vocal and trademark Barrett guitar. Nick's tattoo is on his heart indeed here.

Truth and Lies is a very thoughtful prog rock track which highlights all four working together well in the closing instrumental passage. New drummer, Jan- Vincent Velazco, is a perfect fit for the band, and he clearly works well with Peter Gee. Clive Nolan, as ever, provides the stunning backdrop to a most wonderful Barrett guitar solo, leading to a trademark emotive vocal and wall of sound at the denouement.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, my favourite is the Celtic folk infused 360 degrees, an utter joy of the celebration of life and local community. I just love the violin on this, and the closing passages simply want to make you to jump up and down with sheer joy at the experience of living.

Eternal Light provides us with a wee bit of a jump back to classic kids telly, when Nick exhorts us to turn off that TV set and read a good book instead (you had to have been there), but, again, the theme of waking up and experiencing life, not simply breathing, is so utterly strong on this track, and I love Nolan's keys here. The mid passage vocals and accompanying guitar work make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Wondrous stuff, and gloriously pastoral in parts which remind me very much of what Pendragon and their peers always did so well, that is taking their forebears symphonic sound and adapting it to their own unique feel.

The darker feel of the previous albums hasn't been completely lost, though. Who Really Are We? really is exceptionally menacing in parts, especially the opening sequence, but listening to the lyrics, you realise that we are being encouraged to look inside ourselves for truth, rather than much of the lies we are fed on a daily basis. The track matures into a classic Pendragon rocker with a marvellous group effort, right up there with the finest of the past glories I alluded to earlier. A wonderful wall of sound.

We come down with the closer, Afraid of Everything. Don't be afraid. Don't lead your life in fear. Don't reflect on what has passed. Live life for what it is, live it, breath it, experience it, and look forward to what is to come. I love this track, so thoughtful, and so hopeful, with a guitar solo leading into another classic feel Pendragon wall of sound which makes you simply stop and wonder at the beauty of it all.

I tell you, the band really haven't sounded better than this. This is an album which belies the fact that they are now in a 35 year recording career. It is one of those rare albums which gets better and better with each listen, and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Love Over Fear to all progressive rock fans.

Five stars. A modern masterpiece, and all I can say is that Ioan and I cannot wait for the rearranged Winter's End festival next year when he will, at long last, have his Pendragon live debut experience.

As a closer, please note that this review is of the single album. I pre-ordered the triple cd release. This includes an acoustic cd, and an instrumental cd, all brought to us in a sumptuous gatefold case, with artwork by a local artist which is stunning.

Report this review (#2353895)
Posted Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Despite the fact that Nick Barrett formed PENDRAGON all the way back in 1978 long before the neo-prog scene took off in the 80s, the band has sort of played second best behind the more successful bands like Marillion, IQ and Arena but nevertheless this band was not only one of the pioneers alongside others like Pallas, Solstice and Twelfth Night but amazingly has only continued to evolve in the forty or so years since it began. While it would take a good decade to iron out the kinks which included a few duds along the route, PENDRAGON came into its modern form when keyboardist Clive Nolan joined the team in 1986 and along with Barrett and fellow cofounder Nick Gee on bass, this trio has steadily climbed the ladder to become one of neo-prog's best and most consistent acts.

Only the role of drummer has changed since Nolan joined and there have been many (seven total in the band's history) and joining in for the band's 11th album LOVE OVER FEAR is Jan-Vincent Velazco who takes the place of Craig Blundell who only appeared on the band's previous album "Men Who Climbs Mountains." It's been six long years since that album and the longest gap between albums in the band's history but chief songwriter Nick Barrett has claimed that his music is about deep personal connections with various subjects that have to take their time to gestate before they spew out as musical statements. Add to that the death of his father, the political chaos of the last several years and the world's craziness accelerating at an exponential rate and Barrett needed some time off to process and write new music along the way after moving to Cornwall, England.

Once the 2000s hit it seemed like neo-prog bands were in some sort of competition with progressive metal bands and ever since Steven Wilson's cross-pollinating with Opeth to create more metal soundscapes in his Porcupine Tree oeuvres, it seems the neo-prog acts followed suit and added heavier bombast with distorted guitar riffs, faster tempos and flashier soloing however just as band's like Arena, IQ and PENDRAGON were threatening to take the next step into the metal world they suddenly seem to have taken a sudden retreat back to the symphonic prog and space rock roots that made the 90s classics stand out. LOVE OVER FEAR takes that same approach and although all of PENDRAGON's albums contain the same distinct elements that make them so unique, much of the heavier elements of the past three albums has been jettisoned in lieu of more intricate space rock with a few folk and jazz elements that decorate some of the most delicately designed compositions that Barrett has crafted since "The Masquerade Overture."

With ten extremely catchy tracks, LOVE OVER FEAR totally rocks the house neo-prog style with a return to the symphonic soundscapes of the band's 90s albums only with even greater attention paid to making sure that it's not simply a repeat of what's been done before. The compositions are more creatively designed with distinct sections that work within the context of the melodic developments and the production is off the chart excellent with vibrant subtleties capturing an atmospheric elegance unparalleled in the band's canon however unlike IQ's latest album "Resistance" which tested out the ambient atmospheric symphonic elements into a territory closer to progressive electronic, LOVE OVER FEAR keeps the atmospheric department closer to the heart of the melodies which are focused around the excellent vocal harmonies that dominate the album's lush heavenly soundscapes.

Despite a heavy organ stomp that begins the album suggesting a heavier album than it really is, the album is dominated by arpeggiated 12-string guitar performances, soaring Pink Floyd space rock guitar licks and synth-heavy backdrops that slowly ooze around the musical scales while the guitar, bass and drums craft the essential center pieces upstaged by only Barrett's vocal prowess where he sounds as if he's at the top of his game. Special mention to newbie drummer Velazco who delivers subtle complexities to the band's style which is a welcome development given percussion in neo-prog can often be the weakest element.

There are a few surprises as well including a folky mandolin performance on "360 Degrees" and piano dominated tracks like "Starfish And The Moon" and "Whirlwind" that sound quite different than what's on the usual PENDRAGON menu. However the absolute best tracks are the ones that capture the essence of production rich bravado that tackle all the sensualities but offer a little rock as contrast. Standouts include "Truth And Lies" and "Who Really Are We?" and we even get a bit of a jazzy sax solo on "Whirlwind. Despite all the icing on the cake, it's really the cake itself that is the true treat here. These compositions are instantly addictive and the emotive delivery of Barrett's vocal performances takes this PENDRAGON album to the next level. Neo-prog artists have gone the extra mile to give the fan's the option of extra discs with bonus material. LOVE OVER FEAR has been released in a 3-disc set that offers not only the album but the album recorded acoustically as well as another instrumental. Personally that's too much stripped down fluff for my tastes because i'd rather just listen to this album over and over again and after having down that many times since it's release i can honestly say that this very well could be the best PENDRAGON release to date and definitely one of the best prog releases of 2020.

Report this review (#2374232)
Posted Friday, April 24, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars I saw this album getting love from many respected collaborators, it currently is not on streaming services so I decided to pull the plug and buy the CD. This was my introduction to Pendragon and I really had no idea what to expect. Overall, I was pleased.

The awesome cover art describes perfectly the type of mood this album delivers. Much of the music is very mellow and gives off this ethereal feel that just makes me think of being at the ocean. The Guitar work, both acoustic and electric is really strong and overflowing with great melodies. What I really love is how the guitar solos don't just come and go, but they continue to develop and become pretty epic at times. Fans of Camel will really get a kick out of it. There are several times throughout the album where the songs will strip down to just acoustic guitars and keys and these sections are dripping in atmosphere. I've gathered from other reviews that the driving force and front-man of the band is named Nick Barrett. He has a decent, kind of typical Neo Prog voice that sounds pleasant enough. I song I really in particular love is "Eternal Light." The way it develops is transcending, but I do have one minor gripe with it and that's some of the old-man lyrics in the lines "Turn off that TV set and read a book instead, read about the world and the universe, don't fill your snowflake head." I find lines like this to come off as out of touch and preachy. There's a few other cases where you get those lame "grrr phones bad, kids these days!" Type of lyrics and it's a bit off-putting to me as a younger listener personally. Perhaps I'm interpreting incorrectly or looking to deep into it, but generally, I'd say the lyrics are not the strong point of this album, but the guitar work tends to make up for it. Along with "Truth and Lies" this is my favorite track. There are some more shorter minimalist songs that are pretty good that work as a nice contrast to some of the longer and more proggy pieces. I think the album somewhat overstays is welcome and runs just a bit longer than i'd prefer. I also think some of the songs could have more grit and harder hitting passages, an overall pleasant and feel-good listen.


Report this review (#2374486)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars After 6 years Pendragon have finally released their eleventh LP. Most fans claim that it was worth the wait, and the music indeed deserves some praise: top-notch production, outstanding quality, great arrangements, some interesting instrumentation, and different influences. The album is full of melodies, with impressive guitar solos aplenty, but also has notable atmospheric textures, created mainly by synths and tron.

That said, the release can't boast of originality and I also can't call it particularly catchy, which is especially painful in ballad-y parts. You know that feeling when the music is great, highly melodic and all the stuff, but at the end fails to evoke many emotions. And also has those boring acoustic parts.

Solid 3.5 stars. Not a masterpiece by any means, but a very pleasant listen and definitely worth checking out. Usually albums like this get 3.9-4.1 here, and it is quite surprising to see (290, 4.17) here right now. But the band's fanbase is huge, y'know.

Report this review (#2405220)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2020 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars I bought this CD quite some time ago, but it took me a long while to write this review, because I wanted to give it a fair view. And I wanted to absorb all the delicate intricacies of this work. Sure, I did understand the need for Nick Barrett to experiment and avoid repetition after delivering the magnificent The Masquerade overture (1996) and Not Of This World (2001). And experiment they did! Sometimes a bit over the top, ok, and I liked most of their stuff of the new millennium, but even at their best there was the feeling was that something was missing from them. Men Who Climbed Mountains (2014) was seeing as a kind of "return to roots" (kind of, not really), but unfortunately was plagued with promising songs that seemed half baked and/or not well developed. Six years later Love Over Fear came more or less about the same mould as the previous one, but this time Barrett and co eventually did their homework, delivering the kind of masterpiece that stands shoulder to shoulder with their best work from their peak in the 90´s.

The music here is a mix of the "old" and the "new" Pendragon, if you will. They are not trying to write a The Masquerade Overture II, which would be a foolish move anyway, but the feeling, the inspiration and the energy of Lover Over Fear is definitely from the same source that gave us such classics as Window of The World and TMO. It´s been a long time since I heard this band doing such a powerful and convincing album, but here it is. Tracks such as Truth and Lies, Water and Eternal Lights are among the best they ever recorded. The album may start a bit strange with the frenetic organ and drums of the opener Everything, but in a few seconds you will recognise that you are listening to a superb work. With many novelties, like the celtic folk leanings of 360 Degrees and the introspection of the piano and voice work of Starfish and The Moon, it is still the good old Pendragon we all know and love. Even the fantastic cover reminds me of the great ones that adorned their quintessential albums. With a superb production and a fantastic performance of all involved, you have ten perfect tracks that leaves not one note out of place (even the strange intro). Not much more to say. Just listen and judge for yourself.

Conclusion: Love Over Fear is Pendragons best CD since Not Of This World. And it is head and shoulders with their classic stuff. It was a long wait, but very worth it. It is a great feeling when you discover that a band you like still have inspiration and energy to deliver new, terrific, emotional songs 40 years after their start. Long live Pendragon!

Rating: something between 4.5 and 5 stars. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#2408070)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
2 stars The English neo-progressive rock act Pendragon is known for its emotive songwriters prog with singer and lead- guitarist Nick Barret taking center stage. With the sentimentalism of early Marillion, the adult symphonic rock of nineties Pink Floyd and the personality of Barret the band made some high-regarded albums leading up to 'Not of This World' in 2001. After that the band had to diversify and ventured in darker compositions with less dominance of the symphonic ballad-type song. The following of the band was challenged until finally the rather bleak 'Passion' (which I like best) was released in 2011, splitting the fan base in two. In 2020 the band returns with a new album which takes the band back some 25 years into the age of sympho-ballad with Gilmour leads galore. Almost all songs have a distinct happy-sad feelgood preachy vibe full of keyboard orchestrations drenched in shimmery reverb. Only 'Who Really Are We?' has a more diverse emotional pallet. Whereas Pendragon formerly had some instrumental passages like you would find on an Arena album (it shares keyboardist Clive Nolan), it now chooses to have the barest linear song structures that are basically pure pop. Basically this is what the fans of Pendragon love most and there's nothing wrong with that. But for some-one who also listens to Magma records this is just way to much cheese - and I do frequent 'Not of This World' because of it great sound and instrumentation. For fans of neo-prog at its most sentimental this must be pure heaven.
Report this review (#2418317)
Posted Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars 2018 saw the band celebrate their fortieth anniversary, looking back over a career which has seen them release amazing albums, toured all over the world (although not New Zealand, yet!). But they were not finished yet, and with "new boy" drummer Jan-Vincent Velazco (in fairness he joined in 2015, but given Nick and Peter have been there since 1978 and Clive since 1986 it is a tag he is always going to have) they headed into the studio to record the band's eleventh studio album. These days Nick lives in Cornwall, a far more pastoral and relaxed existence, and this has come through to the music as well. When I first saw the stunning artwork by Liz Saddington, I felt I had gone back somewhat in time, as although it is a very different style indeed to Simon Williams, it felt similar in so many ways. I opened the digipak (I have the single CD release, but it is available in multiple versions), and the card was embossed and cried "quality" to me. As I looked through the booklet containing the lyrics and some wonderful photos by Rachel Wilce I started to feel quite concerned, as in many ways here was an album which was asking to be taken very seriously indeed. But could it live up to the quality of all which had gone before? I mean, they have been at the game for a very long time indeed, and I and countless others have sung the many anthems at gigs, could this live up to the promise??

I put on "Everything", and my jaw dropped open. Clive and Jan-Vincent commence the song as if they are onstage waiting for the rest of the band with strident chords and snare drum kicking it along. A small drum fill invites Peter to join in the fun, and the three of them keep it powering through, and it is as if we have been taken back in time. Then all of a sudden Nick is there. Gilmour/Latimer style guitar soars and it is as if a black and white image has suddenly burst into full colour and light with the band now concentrating on supporting the main act. Throughout the album the music twists and turns, looking back in on themselves (I am sure I heard a tinge of "Queen of Hearts" at one point), acoustic guitars are there when needed, mandolin at others, while Peter switches his instrument and style as the need arises.

Clive has become far more confident in his own singing over the years and provides strong support to the person he first met when they were five years old, adding that additional vocal element. "Starfish and the Moon" has to be one of the most remarkable songs Pendragon have ever produced, being mostly Nick and Clive, with vocals and piano giving way to guitar and keyboards. It is full of emotion, life, and passion and some of Nick's most wonderful lyrics. The more I played this album the more I realised something quite incredible had happened, in that Pendragon had released something which is possibly their finest ever work. It has been hard to get this away from my player and looking at various forums there is no doubt that many Pendragon fans feel exactly the same way. As I write this, 'Love Over Fear' is sat at #2 on the ProgArchives charts as the best album of 2020, but given the incredibly high number of ratings given so far, I would not be surprised to see this end the year as #1.

As for me? This emotional, pastoral, delicate, soaring, majestic, polished, powerful, dramatic release from Pendragon has become my favourite release of theirs, ever. Given how much I hold close to some of their other releases that is quite some statement, but it does not get any better than this and if I could rate this 11/10 I would do so. I am so looking forward to the next one?.

Report this review (#2432031)
Posted Friday, July 24, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've just bought this album yesterday, and it surprised me - in a good way. Before hearing I thought Pendragon had had their day since the album "the Masquerade Overture". Luckily, I was wrong. But I'll get one with the review.

The album gets off to an excellent start with fanfare style organs from Clive Nolan on the first track "Everything", before the guitar comes in and bursts into song. This is, in my opinion, one of the best and most important songs on the album as many of it's motifs are repeated in other songs on the album. Anyway, it's a great song and brilliant intro.

"Everything" then flows into "Starfish and the Moon", a quiet, simple song featuring only piano and a soft guitar solo in the middle - and Nick Barrett's excellent vocals, of course. The quiet is undisturbed as the next song, the 8-minute opus "Truth and Lies", comes in with more of that soft guitar - do not be deceived, however, as it soon flows into an harrowing guitar solo - in my opinion, the best on the album. As the harsh, storminess of "Truth and Lies" fades away, a mandolin comes in, signifying the begin of "360 Degrees". After the first verse, the drums enter with bombast pronouncing a happy violin melody. The entire song is inspired by the sea, which would make sense as Nick Barrett is curently living in Cornwall. In fact, the entire album seems sea-orientated - even the cover.

As "360 Degrees" fades away, in comes "Soul and the Sea" - probably the most musically varied track. It begins, like "Truth and Lies", with a soft guitar. Soon the violin comes in and then the drums, followed by somewhat whispered vocals; until all of a sudden it breaks down into a short piano motif. Then, thunderous guitar and drums enter, the vocals now loud and clear, until it fades out with an acoustic guitar.

After "Soul and the Sea" ends, "Eternal Light" begins with a soft but soon loud guitar. After the first lyrics, a motif from "Everything" comes in - and after that, more lyrics, an instrumental section, then yet more lyrics, then the end. I've barely described it there - it is as varied and complex as "Soul and the Sea" - but "Soul and the Sea" gets the most complex prize, as it is much shorter.

Then - "Water" - another long song at seven minutes long. It begin only with a soft, sad guitar, but continues to build up and up as the song goes on, with a great, harsh guitar solo not dissimilar to "Truth and Lies". The album continues with "Whirlwind", a fairly short piano song, that fades into the longest track - "Who Really Are We" - that begins with a thunderous guitar riff, which descends into an acoustic passage with drums, but then breaks down - and builds up again with that thunderous guitar riff with added solo. The final lyrics come in, and then...

"Afraid of Everything", the final track. It enters with a fairly soft guitar, builds up, then swirls out with a beautiful synth solo. A brilliant outro to a brilliant album.

So, to sum up... I didn't want to have my first album review to be five stars for some reason, but here I am forced to. It has both the two requirements I consider for a five star album:

1. The songs are all great. In the words of Special Collaborator chopper, "not a duff track in sight".

2. It works brilliantly as an album. It flows well from song to song, and many songs share motifs.

So... five stars.

Report this review (#2444439)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars An excellent, uplifting, and memorable album. Pendragon's latest craft is musically reminiscent of their previous release, with the exception that 'Love Over Fear' is not really a dark album. There is still a cathartic feel to many of the songs but they are generally, as I said, uplifting.

Lyrically, Nick Barrett tells us stories about philosophy, love, beauty, being misunderstood, and definitely the central theme here is the sea. This, of course, corresponds to a recent change in his life ' moving to Cornwall in the UK.

His voice sounds absolutely fantastic, but this is something that applies to the whole album which is excellently mixed and mastered. Productionwise, it is better done that its predecessor and the band seem to have found the right moments where to stop playing, which results in just a few fractals of the whole LP that could be considered of excess.

With all this said, there are same purely magical compositions here, songs like 'Everything', 'Truth and Lies', 'Eternal Light', 'Water' and 'Who Really Are We?' reveal the full power and capability of the band. Majestic and grandiose soundscapes camouflaged in Nick Barrett's interesting lyrics and brilliant guitar playing, resulting in a fabulous and elevating listening experience. Moreover, I would not refer to any of the songs on this album as weak, repetitive, or unpleasant.

Simply put, 'Love Over Fear' by Pendragon is excellent and a real treat for any progressive rock addict.

Report this review (#2478217)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2020 | Review Permalink
2 stars Pendragon released their new album Love Over Fear in 2020 and it represents a departure from rougher, angrier and darker sound from their previous albums. This release brings a more positive side and it begins with Everything which starts with strong drums, bass and organ and delivers a nice guitar and keyboard solo, it's the best song on the album.

After the great opener the album, for me, looses quality and delivers mellow sounding songs. Starfish and the Moon, Afraid of Everything are ballads which feature the gentle piano and keyboard themes, the songs are very simple and forgettable.

Love Over Fear represents a attempt to return to soundscapes of the band's more symphonic approach in the past and maybe for longtime fans, it delivers all that they expected from the band, but for me this album brings nothing innovative or interesting.

Report this review (#2485434)
Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Okay, the last PENDRAGON came out, so it can only be a 5 star assured, seeing as he's a dinosaur now in the closed world of art music. Well, I'm still a fan of Nick and Clive and I pay tribute to them for continuing to release great things in the 90's when everything would die. It is a little thanks to them that we continue I think to vibrate with each exit; so why would the reader languish in this way? The observation is simple: we are always dealing with beautiful melodies, well-placed atmospheric atmospheres, also beautiful solos with this characteristic guitar among a thousand; we have the synths on a rhythmic basis, but from now on, at least on this last opus, it lacks the creative energy, the sound emotion that made you leave this world! So no it's not a bad album, but an album lacking inspiration in my opinion, an album that any fan will drink without thinking too much, an album that no longer has the illumination of a '' The window of life "or the pep of a" Pure ", this album will not delight those who seek the little extra, the spark that makes us live. It took me a long time to think about this note, but objective I am, objective I will stay.
Report this review (#2493645)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2021 | Review Permalink

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