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THE JEWEL

Pendragon

Neo-Prog


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Pendragon The Jewel  album cover
3.28 | 222 ratings | 26 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Higher Circles (3:29)
2. The Pleasure of Hope (3:43)
3. Leviathan (6:13)
4. Alaska (8:39)
a) At Home With the Earth
b) Snowfall
5. Circus (6:34)
6. Oh Divineo (6:51)
7. The Black Knight (9:57)
8. Fly High Fall Far (4:56)
9. Victims of Life (6:53)

Total Time: 57:15

Bonus tracks on remaster:
10. Armageddon (6:15)
11. Insomnia (4:19)

Total Time: (67:49)

Lyrics

Search PENDRAGON The Jewel lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search PENDRAGON The Jewel tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Nick Barrett / vocals, guitars
- Rik Carter / keyboards
- Peter Gee / basses, guitars, bass pedals
- Nigel Harris / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Released in 1985 Toff Records PEND2CD

Remastered with bonus tracks and different sleeve 2005
CD Inside Out CD3705 (2005)
CD Toff Records PEND12CD (2005)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to .Adri. for the last updates
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Out of Order Comes ChaosOut of Order Comes Chaos
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Import
Imports 2014
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PurePure
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IntroducingIntroducing
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Window of LifeWindow of Life
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Masquerade OvertureMasquerade Overture
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WorldWorld
Madfish Records UK 2013
Audio CD$6.54
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PENDRAGON The Jewel ratings distribution


3.28
(222 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
13%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
37%
Good, but non-essential (37%)
37%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

PENDRAGON The Jewel reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars We have a neo prog album of the mid 80's here. It definitely sounds like Marillion, as revealed by the numerous moog solos and the clean & melodic electric guitar sound. However, the drums and bass are much more complex and faster, sometimes falling into a marvelous fusion style. The lead vocals are very emotional, unique and insistent; also there is always this floating fresh & urban texture of keyboards that lightens the rest of the music. Those 2 elements contribute to enhance the overall value of this record. On "Alaska", the most fusion track, just listen to the fretless bass and the fast drums: they fit well with the pleasant floating keyboards and guitar solos: it is absolutely delightful! Check for the best track on this record: "Circus": it is amazingly progressive and the sustained echoed guitar solo combined with the powerful bass and fast cymbals are speechless! The only bad thing is that the sound was recorded too strongly, so that the cymbals sound is distorted.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#5704) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A rough diamond

Pendragon's first full album finds them pre their Clive Nolan era. Given the enormous influence he has on all his various projects, the sound is surprisingly familiar in terms of their later works. "The Pleasure of hope" for example leads off with synthesiser and guitar sounds which could just as easily have come from "Not of this world".

The first half of the album is pretty straightforward and well performed, but lacking the maturity of their more complex and progressive works. The second half however sees the band slip smoothly into gear.

"Alaska" has some suggestions of prog, and despite the unworthy "Alaska/I'll ask her" lyric, is instrumentally interesting. The synthesiser/guitar solo is pure Camel from the "Mirage" or "Moonmadness" era. "Excalibur" was the first track to really sound like Pendragon as we now know them. The pace changes throughout, lots of Arthurian references, swirling synths, and a damn fine tune. "Circus" has suggestions of Genesis, especially in the Hackett like ending. "Oh Divineo" reverts to a mixture of a Camel and Genesis sound (nothing wrong with that!), with Andy Latimer and Steve Hackett appearing to drift in an out in equal measures.

A solid first album from the band, with more than a hint of the fine works which were to come in the future.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#5696) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 14, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars I discovered the existence of this band in the early 90's when progheads started to organize themselves (the web allowed things unthinkable before) and managed to get an ear onto their early albums through the archives of our library. Needless to say that I was not really impressed and even wondered what the big deal of this band was all about. I have a rememberance of their first two studio albums rather plagued with everything wrong in music of those troubled years (mainly in the Kb dept but also in the manner of drumming) and I am quite sure that if I am to relisten those albums , more than ten years after the initial listen , I would find those faults magnified by a factor of ten at least , so I'd better not try. Partis-pris, Moi?????

However if you are a neoprohead just needing advice as you discover this band , I can send you towards mid-90's album that are much better and I might add are minor classic in the sub-genre (but still not to my liking) such as Masquarade , Windows of Life etc.....

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#5699) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 04, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First of all, as this album has always represented the stereotype of such "LIght New Progressive Wave" of the early eighties (along with Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood" for example),also regarding of this new remastered version,it won't never let me change idea about it, anyway!!Of course you can not compare it to any great progressive masterpiece produced by the 70's "dinosaurs" of progressive rock...secondly, this is their attempt to make their best album (actually one of their best ones, in accordance to the opinion of some music critics at least) a listenable and finally decently re-recorded work, performed at their Studio.Well for me it should have been better if they chose to recover the original tapes and make them remaster by one of the master-sound engineers (I think of Terry Brown for instance): instead they have decided in a different way!! Nothing else to say about the songs, you know them, so if you're into the new scene of such N.P.W. in the UK, you can buy it;otherwise you could decide differently, because the new operation by Pendragon is not necessary and the present album- not essential at all-as well...I'm a bit disappointed with it, because I expected to find a "polished" version of the original work...instead it's a different operation, but never mind: listening to these old songs is pleasant anyway, despite of the bonus tracks being useless here and the cheesy lyrics as well.So at the end my generous score is for my encouragement only!

(Review of original release) Well,what a pity for their cheesy lyrics (especially within their hit single "Higher Circle") and-above all- for the weak production of the album!! In fact the path traced by PENDRAGON - thanks to this work - was their search for a certain originality, finally separated by such usual common places of the typical New-Progressive stuff GENESIS-like. This was a true promise, then not maintained (except on some tracks within the recent "Masquerade Overture" for example). Songs such as "Leviathan", "Oh Divineo", "The Black Knight" were remarkable epic songs, with a strong personality. "Alaska" and "The pleasure of your hope" instead represented the best example concerning the clever use of balanced keyboards, characterized also by remarkable solos without any particular virtuosity or excess as well.

Recommended, even though it is not completely essential in comparison to the best Progressive-Romantic jewels of the seventies.

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#39649) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars My first encounter to PENDRAGON, surprisingly good debut album. I wanted to get "...Overture" first, since I heard too many praises in its adress, but I've chanced to get "The Jewel" for half-price first. Now, when I know how other albums sound like, I must admit "The Jewel" is quite different record, more fusion-inspired. It's like they took CAMEL as the prime influence (instead of GENESIS or PINK FLOYD for other Neo-Proggers), and the further album goes the more CAMELish it becomes. Both shorter songs and long epics filled with wonderful arrangements and catchy melodies (not to mention that 'tight' musicianship!). The only thing that works against the album is a recording quality, but there's nothing to be afraid of if you know the conditions for British Neo-Prog scene in those times (pure underground!). Recommended, especially if you're into such type of music

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#40499) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I will never forget that memorable night in 1987. First Pendragon played a wonderful and very inspired gig with many 'encores', the band was very pleased with the warm response from the Dutch progheads. And then, soon after the concert, we met Nick Barrett and Peter Gee, they were obvious on cloud number nine: not only because of their acclaimed performance but also the 'pot' started to work. Nick told us that Holland was such a tolerant country, they were so glad to smoke their marihuana without getting in trouble! But back to the music because Pendragon was in those days, along with Marillion, IQ and Twelfth Night, the hope and pride for the progheads. I still like their enthousiastic neo-prog sound, not very elaborate (is this an understament?) but so pleasant featuring powerful and moving electric guitarwork from Nick Barrett and bombastic keyboardplay from Clive Nolan. The highlight on this CD is the compelling track "Alaska" (with obvious hints from mid- Genesis) that starts with twanging guitars, soaring keyboards and a bit melancholical vocals. Gradually the climate becomes more bombastic delivering emotional vocals that match perfect to the atmosphere. Then a sensational break delivering spectacular synthesizer flights and howling electric guitar runs. This is Pendragon at their best: simple but moving in the 24-carat symphonic rock tradition. That's why so many progheads embraced this band and still follow them. To me they were repeating themselves on their following albums but almost every time Pendragon visits Holland I'm their in the crowd!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#41340) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Review by Bob Greece
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars There are few albums I think of as just being "good". I usually like or dislike things more enthusiatically. However, this album is one that I would classify as being just good. It's a pleasant sounding album but nothing to make you really sit up and take notice. It starts with Higher Circles, which is an eighties sounding pop song. You could easily confuse it with the output of an eighties pop band. A track that stands out a bit is Alaska because the second half is instrumental. However, the "I'll Ask Her/Alaska" pun is a bit painful to hear. For me, the best track on this album is the second bonus track Insomnia, which is done by the 2005 line-up, including Clive Nolan on the keyboards.

So this album is OK but nothing to write home about.

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Send comments to Bob Greece (BETA) | Report this review (#52419) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Jewel is Pendragon's first full studio album released when the Marillion led Neo-prog scene was at the height of its strength. So because of this it would only be natural to compare this to Marillions output of the time (Misplaced Childhood was released the same year) or to their debut Script for a Jesters Tear. But that would be wrong, Pendragon immediately give of a sound different from other Neo-prog groups that is noticeable from the start of the first track Higher Circles.

So how does this debut of their's stack up. Well its quite definitely a patchy album at best. The opening three tracks of this album (Higher Circles, Pleasure Of Hope and Leviathan) are short, poppy tunes that come across as being poorly written and being very boring, so if you cant stomach the poppier side that many neo prog bands undoubtedly have, this album will wear thin pretty fast, so not a good star then.

The Jewel really starts at the fourth track, Alaska. Right from the opening guitar notes you can get the sense that this is going to be a pretty good song and it most certainly is. A slightly slow track with a spacey feel to it that really lifts your spirits after the dirge of the first three tracks. Its also the first true sign of this bands main influence, Pink Floyd. This is quite evident from the start of Alaska, though a little more well hidden in the earlier tracks, in the guitars and keyboards, but they have added some of themselves into the sound as well, helping this to be a unique work. I'd also like to add that this disproves the laughable theory that all Neo-prog is a poor copy of Genesis.

The following two songs aren't bad attempts but, though better than the opening of the album, Circus has a rather dull middle due to a lack of imagination in the keyboards department, which ruins any atmosphere. Oh Divineo is a pretty good song though, much stronger than a lot of the material on here, with a beautiful sound throughout. This leads into the best song on the album, The Black Night, which, despite the name, has absolutely nothing to do with dragons and swordplay, thankfully. It starts off slowly, and builds up to an impressive instrumental middle section before bringing you back down over the last minute or so. A real sign of what this band is capable of and one of the best Neo-prog songs going.

The album closes out with the songs Fly High Fall Far and Victims of Life, originally recorded in '84 for the EP Fly High Fall Far but later added here to close out the album. Fly High Fall Far is a short, up-tempo song that has a really good vibe to it and a nice listen, but nothing special. Victims of Life is musically similar to Circus and lacks a bit of bite, making it a bit of a let down as the album closer.

The lyrics on this album are a bit hit-and-miss, unsurprising really given that the album as a whole is like this. The surprising thing is that this happens within songs, the best example being The Black Night, were the chorus is a bit drab, but generally the lyrics aren't too bad, just don't expect any lyrical brilliance in the vein of Fish here, you will be disappointed. The musician ship is quite good as well, Nick Barret clearly knows how to get what he wants out of his guitar, although unfortunately some of that was pop tunes, he also proves to be a half decent singer, though nothing special but not hard to listen to. The bass player Peter Gee and drummer Nigel Harris give a solid, if unspectacular, performance here, holding down the songs well but never going all out to steel your attention. Keyboards are a disappointment, at times Rik Carter sounds very good but other times his playing is almost anonymous, and a couple of songs could really have been boosted by a better atmospheric style of playing.

On this remastered version of the album the band has added two bonus tracks, both recorded in 2005. Though Armageddon and Insomnia aren't bad tracks, in fact with Clive Nolan on keys you can notice an improvement in this department, they have a very different feel to the rest of the album, as you would expect considering they were recorded twenty years later. You can basically take them or leave them but I find them to be a bit anti-climactic as they ruin the feel of the album.

Overall this album has three or four songs that range from pretty good to really great, but the rest of the album is poor, and because of this hit-and-miss quality to the songs I'll only give this album 3 stars, good but not essential.

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Posted Thursday, June 01, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. PENDRAGON's first full length album is a good record that may be poppy at times but there are some good songs with obvious references to MARILLION, in fact they thank MARILLION and Andy Latimer in the liner notes.

They kick things off with "Higher Circles" an upbeat poppy tune with lots of guitar. "The Pleasure Of Hope" is all about the keyboards, that are at times spacey. "Leviathan" features more agressive vocals, with lots of guitar and keyboard melodies. I like the pastoral sections in this song.

"Alaska" has a relaxed, dreamy feel to it with an angry atmosphere bubbling underneath the surface.The song closes with an uptempo instrumental. "Circus" and "Oh Divineo" are both so-so. "The Black Knight" really picks up after 3 minutes and is a good song with lots of time changes. The first two bonus tracks are from their first release, a four track EP and are both ok. "Armageddon" is surprisingly heavy with lots of guitar, good tune. "Insomnia" is another good one with soaring guitar, and is fast paced.

The best would be yet to come, but this is worth checking out.

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Posted Monday, November 13, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars You should know that I like Pendragon a lot. I have always been charmed with their poppy and straight-forward music. Some might find it too childish. I just believe that their melodies rank amongst the nicest ones. I enjoy Barrett's voice as well as his passionate guitar play that will be more on the foreground on later releases.

Their debut album will hold more defect than qualities. They still need to find their own way, in terms of songwriting. A song as "Leviathan" has already the Pendragon TM attached to it, except the so romantic guitar play from Nick. But this is a general remark throughout this work : it will be very much keyboard oriented. Soft and pleasant music. Not complex for a penny. But I like this quiet mood once in a while.

This album holds very little from the other world. I would not recommend it if you are new to Pendragon. Some of their longer number, will be very good. "Alaska" of course, with a very emotional vocal part (like Nick will be used to a lot during Pendragon's long career). Again, we'll get some very nice keyboards while the guitar solo (of the few) might be a techically good one, but it does not hold the emotion that we'll get on later releases. The finale part sounds very Genesis-esque : "Cinema Show" structure with a very strong rhythmic section backing up the keys. I think you got the idea. It is one of the highlight of "The Jewel".

The album gets more interesting towards the end. Songs as "Oh Divineo" and "The Black Night" are extremely well polished and are 100% into the Pendragon's mould I love so much. All aspects of the band are here again. They maybe lack some grandeur but these pieces of music are so relaxing and pleasant to listen to.

There will be four bonus tracks on the 20th anniversary edition. Actually, the whole of their EP debut. "Victims Of Life" is my preferred one : a bombastic intro will feature good keyboards work (although I will prefer Nolan in this role). "Cinema Show" oriented again. The catchy and melancholic mood makes it another attempt to a "jewel". It is almost there...

"Dark Summer's Day" is very romantic. Very subtle backing keys but childish chorus. I guess that detractors will call this a useless song. I just want to mention to them, that it does not hurt to produce just beautiful songs. Very good intro again for "Excalibur" which is an intrumental piece. It sounds pretty much like Genesis but with less grandeur (Camel as well is not far away). The poppish "Fly High Fall Far" was their attempt for a hit and it was a good idea actually to regroup the original EP work on this remastered edition.

"The Jewel" will of course please Pendragon's fans, but I doubt that people who do not know them will be overwhelmed with enthusiasm with this work : therefore it lacks in true jewels (sorry about that one). But we'll get them later. Three stars for this one.

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Posted Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars PENDRAGON's first full-album, their real debut; this output was certainly hailed by band members and the then small band fan's community; but the result as seen actually seems a bit disappointing - probably PENDRAGON was looking for new supporters, to increase their fan-base and forgot to improve their sound when compared with the mini-album released months before. The real band brand should have to wait a couple of years to be heard loudly and intelligibly.

If the band sonority showed only a few improvements from what they were doing, at least the musicianship grew and Barrett's vocals were great almost all the time. Cleaning the excessive neo-prog smog (no pun intended) from many tracks one may be concerned that the potential of PENDRAGON to go farther and higher is quite discernible. Tuning the ears and pretending to listen to some songs with a more symphonic approach we conclude that "The Jewel" represents a midway and necessary step in band's career.

'Higher circles' opens the album new-aging which makes the song aging when heard presently more than 20 years later. 'The pleasure of hope' while still a typical neo-prog track shows better possibilities, if the synth sounds were less furious or the vocals were softer and cleaner the song should grow hugely. 'Leviathan' starts in a good manner with nice guitar action and exquisite singing work - here's where neo-prog goes more prog than neo and this makes the song very enjoyable.

'Alaska' starts fairly the second part of the album: the romantic and poignant atmosphere is completed by neat symphonic tunes that grabs steadily hearer's attention - take that fingered guitar and check if it isn't pure Genesis circa 1976-1977. Solo segment brings guitar and keyboards working in a well concocted way and also echoes of the 70s are easily perceived. 'Circus', the following track, although not a great one shows the awesome band musicianship. 'Oh Divineo' continues the trend where the member's musical abilities are highlighted. Track middle section displays the best singing moment in the album.

'The black knight' is a premonitory song for it sounds as much as PENDRAGON would sound in the future. The mood the track flows is typical: a soft beginning replaced by frantic parts and then finalizing with soft tunes again. 'Fly high fall far' and 'Victims of life' are repetitions of their previous mini-album appearing here as filler. Bonus tracks are 'Armageddon', a blend of hard-rock and catchy tunes and 'Insomnia', a short song not memorable but amusing.

"The Jewel" is a good, almost essential album for neo-prog fans, however for other prog fans it'll be only a collector's item; in the average a good but non-essential output.

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Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars Among the most important bands of the 80's British prog rock wave,PENDRAGON were found in Stroud, Glouchestershire by guitarist Nick Barrett.Actually their first name was ''Zeus Pendragon'',but it was soon shortened simply to PENDRAGON for not fitting well on a T-shirt.Their first official release was the mini-LP ''Fly high,fall far'' in 1984 and a year later their full-time debut ''The jewel'' was published.The work is dominated by the guitars of Barrett and the decent mini moog solos of keyboardist Rik Carter.However,do not expect a grandiose sound,the album contains mid-length songs based on strong melodies and careful guitar work,supported by the distinctive keyboard hooks.So,although ''The jewel'' is not exactly representative of PENDRAGON's later sound,it's a very decent work,especially for fans of easy-listening progressive rock.Recommended!

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Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In one of my former reviews of Pendragon (one of the nineties albums) I stated that the road Nick Barrett took in the nineties with The World was the right one. I said that because I like Pendragon in that decade a lot more than what the band did in the eighties. That goes for most eighties albums I have to say because I believe this one, The Jewel, is an exception. Not that it is a true masterpiece to me but it can keep up with the standard of The World and Window of Life in my opinion.

But in fact I have to be more specific about that because it's not the entire album that is truly impressive to me. There is quite a bit of quality difference between the songs on this album and therefore I will give ratings for each song.

1) Higher Circles: 3 stars 2) The Pleasure of Hope: 3 stars 3) Leviathan: 4 stars 4) Alaska: 4,5 stars 5) Circus: 3,5 stars 6) Oh Divineo: 4 stars 7) The Black Knight: 4,5 stars 8) Fly high fall far: 3 stars 9) Victims of life: 3,5 stars.

This means this is a combination of what Pendragon was like in the eighties on average and then we are talking about the 3 and 3,5 star tracks. Good but not significant at all. Alaska and The Black Knight however are the first signs that Pendragon (read: Barretts songwriting) is a band with great potential. I love these two tracks up till now for almost 15 years now so that means they stand the test of time and still belong to the better songs Pendragon has ever produced. The others are far less but still good enough to keep up the high rating of 4 stars for this album.

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Posted Monday, January 21, 2008

Review by The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Oh my, what an underated album! One of Pendragon's best IMO, and it deserves a lot more credit than it currently owns! There are no weak songs on this album, despite what people may think, and although they are not to everyone's tastes, they just need time to settle in. Only then will they realise the glory enclosed within this amazing disk. The highlights are without a doubt Leviathan, Alaska, Black Knight and Fly High Fall Far, however all are worth listening to. There is without doubt a strong rock influence here, however that just makes it more listenable to me. Worth every penny spent. 9/10, one mark from a masterpiece album, however i will round it up due to the laws of maths.

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Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Pendragon´s first full length album is also full of promises. Really, the new remastered version has such a superior sound that I should recommend anyone interested to get it instead fo the old one. This new package comes with a beautiful booklet and all the lyrics, instead of the dull, no information cover of the original CD release. The sound is so improved is like a new album (specially the bass parts). The addition of two new bonus tracks is, too, so a plus (making it four extra songs, all good ones).

About the album itself I must say the remaster version made view this CD under a new light. I used to think it was a good start, but not much more. Now, that I´m able to hear all the subtle arrangements I was quite surprised how good those songs are really. In fact when I heard those guys playing these same songs live in the Past & Presence DVD I had the same impression, but I was thinking this was due to their better musicanship nowadays and the fact the band had two new members since then. But that was not really the case. Pendragon started with a fine collection of songs that were not so powerful and complex as on latter day releases, like the magnificent The Masquerade Overture. But, boy, were they good from the start! Alaska and The Black Night are mini epics that hints much of the masterpieces that were to come in the 90´s. Leviathan is their most ´Marillion´ song and, better yet, there is absolute no filler.

Small wonder Pendragon has become one of neo progs leading bands. The Jewel is certainly not their best, but still a very strong start. Before I heard the new remaster version I was going to give a 3 star rating, because the quality of their work shines even under the muddy original CD mastering. But the new remastering made me change my mind. Four solid stars. Thank God for the new version! I hope they do something similar to their second release Kowtow. You guys rule!

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Posted Monday, March 17, 2008

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This Pendragon's debut has some interesting things... But it's a weak efforth anyway, in my humble opinion!

The influences the Nick Barret's music has are really clear here... The Marillion's taste of the keyboards, with some AOR sound in the chorus wich reminds me to Asia or Saga (Higher Circles is a good example...) and of course, some feeling of the 70's symphonic prog (Yes, Camel...) And the influenced and not too original Pendragon's music is here! Ok, not too well developed yet... The Jewel is a bit rough, and the Barret's ideas were not too clear.

The main problem I find with this album, is that it's a bit boring sometimes... Some parts of Alaska, the mediocre Circus and the too long The Black Knight make me wanting to push the button to the next song. I miss the Clive Nolan keyboards too. Rick Carter isn't a bad keyboardist, but it's too similar to Mark Kelly in style... And he lacks the Nolan's own personality.

Another fact I wish to comment about this album, is that the Nick Barret's voice is the same as today... This man has not evolved with the time! His voice was always the same... Weak, he lacks some strenght and variety in his vocals. At least, he sings his lyrics with a lot of feeling... But feeling is not enough sometimes.

Best songs: Higher Circles (a funny song... With an AOR introduction), Leviathan (a good track, variated and interesting) Alaska (this is not a brilliant track... But the Snowfall part has a very beautiful keyboards work) and Oh Divineo (despite the boring introduction, this is another good track wich gives a glimpse of the later Pendragon's true style).

Conclusion: I recommend this album only to Pendragon's fans, and Neo-Progressive die hard lovers as a curiosity... The rest will not find anything really interesting in this irregular album, full with good ideas, but not too well developed, and with a mediocre production. Some songs are OK, and the keys on Snowfall are memorable... But this brilliant moments don't delete the vulgarity of too many parts of the album.

My rating: **1/2

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Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
2 stars 01. Higher Circles Do not be fooled by the pace 'galloping' of battery and the keyboard means' butcher ', the vocal half Geddy Lee is a charm and melody itself too. Some guitars at the bottom, tons of good keyboards and vocals. I learned a lot like the sound of Neo Prog, the influence of Marillion is visible, which is very good. The guitar is very arpegios of Jasons Nick does a competent job.

02. The Pleasure Of Hope This battery is the highlight of Nigel Harris, sensational start. The keyboards are so great as after. Much anguish before the guitar break, it seems strangling the listener. Good verses with contagious melodies and instrumentation and sound.

03. Leviathan The highlight of almost all the tracks the keyboard is almost always' scheduled 'full of fast passages that are repeated from Rick Carter. The keyboards and Midis 80s have made the bands had a multitude of sounds that was before complicadíssimo to obtain, even Rick Wakeman keyboards and its 300 or Keith Emerson and his truck just for the keyboards in the 80s the thing became easier. Many parts between instrumental voice, you know what I ever start to find more great bands such Neo prog 80's (laughter) and I thought that was a band Pendragon Prog Metal.

04. Alaska a) At Home With The Earth b) Snowfall The more travel (in the profound sense of the word) guitars that remind me the Pink Floyd with David Gilmour of dedilhados (influence of 8 between 10 guitarists of the genre). Many great land of keyboards and bass of Peter Gee always following everything very closely , making a fine solo fretless until after the second part. The second part is all about the instrumental, with quick passes and all of the instruments and frenetic pace and contagious. A highlight of a fine.

05. Circus For here the air synthesizers put a strange, especially when the beats are too strange at times (laughs), the second part is the turn of a line of fantastic and low land of keyboards and guitar, the battery does a crazy pace well played. When all around things change of vision, are clear, calm and are thinking, and in the heart say that something must be done! (as I come to these conclusions? Not that I know, laughter).

06. Oh Divine Very nice! After a series of instrumental and long, enough to hear a beautiful melody and whimsical, which lasts a little longer until it reaches a higher Rush (another big influence of the band, the Rush 80's).

07. The Black Knight The longest track on the disc keeps a series of surprises and changes. After a series of keyboards and vocals, all very well appointed, say what spoils the 80's is the sound, I agree! But you know what? Why not here, things will not happen, the sound is 80's? Is! But without rancid, just good music. The final part of the band is led by the keyboards and the variations, of course, always around the guitar tone with that clean and nice touch for a little more for the staff. Almost a guitar!

08. Fly High Fall Far This is a start very different from the rest of the disc, reminded me a little Tears For Fears, except for the fact of having more keyboards, at least in the beginning, and another, Tears For Fears have things well in the Rock Art discography them. but in the end that track has a bitch Rock same footprint, with parts of heavier guitar and vocals sung 'a whole'!

09. Victims Of Life Sensational thing that the band's entire instrumental break in a break-in a beautiful fingering and guitar, keyboards this band are great too. When the voice back in the second part of the whole thing changes figure, the song is slower, broken pieces of battery, serious low, but still there fingerings of guitar sound.

www.progshine.com

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Posted Friday, January 02, 2009

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pendragon's first album is a pretty decent effort, but unfortunately it was somewhat hampered by a muddy production (fixed to a certain extent) and a failure to capture the spirit and energy of the band's early live performances. At this point in time the band were a regular feature of the UK neo-prog scene, and alongside IQ frequently supported the likes of Marillion, Pallas, and Twelfth Night at the Marquee and on tour. In seven years the band had managed to craft an excellent live show, as documented on 9:15 Live, which The Jewel doesn't quite manage to replicate.

That said, there are some pretty decent songs from here, ranging from poppy, catchy numbers like Higher Circles - yes, it's clearly meant to be a radio anthem, but I happen to think it's quite good - to full-on progressive numbers like Leviathan and the album closer The Black Knight. The Black Knight deserves a closer look, in fact, because it is easily the best song on the album - and at the same time, it's also the odd man out. Most of the songs here are keyboard-led - Nick Barrett's lead guitar work plays an important role, but mainly provides fairly middle-of-the-road guitar breaks to support the keys, Nick's main focus being on his singing. The Black Knight, by contrast, is all about the guitar - and it's the first glimpse we have of Nick's incredible David Gilmour/Andrew Latimer-inspired soloing. It's breathtaking and epic, and it's a first sign of the style the band would adopt and perfect from The World to Not of This World.

But the version on 9:15 Live is better.

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Posted Saturday, March 28, 2009

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A jewel, yet to be wore....

Marillion and IQ had already resurrected Prog with their debuts 2 years prior Pendragon's. So finally in 1985 the last band of the Neo-Prog ''holy trinity'' released their debut, The Jewel, this one in the sense of success and acclamation, could be compared to IQ's debut, Tales from a Lush Attic, while both very promising, dealt with decent production, as well as a bit too much of, sort-of, dated-synths, however The Jewel can easily be differenciated with Tales From the Lush Attic, due to IQ's more prog-headed style already from the straight begining, while The Jewel having very notable Prog influences, the album also shares a fair bit with a bit of straight-forward Rock, with catchy melodies.

Anyways, back to Pendragon specifically, this album does not feature classic-keyboard man, Clive Nolan, which will appear in all of the following albums, as well as contributing in other classic Neo-Prog bands, in this one there's Rik Carter, despite his ''unknown'' status, his role in this album is essential, bringing even Jazz Fusion influences, with highly melodic synths, and fast moog solos. Now to Nick's guitar style, while less Gilmour-ish, you can totally notice his presence, with great guitar solos. Now, the rythm section, like in 'most' Neo-Prog bands, they really don't shine out, however, they're not bad, and don't give the album a amateur feel.

Now to how the album sounds, I must say that you cannot expect this sounding as Progressive like their classic albums, The Masquerade Overture and The Window of Life, and much less in the agressive style of their latest 2. However, still this album shows the roots were Pendragon will stand for a long time, specially with Nick's energetic and, sort-of, sentimental vocals, and the already mentioned good amount of synths and guitar solos, as well as notable melodies which will be done again and again in their following albums.

However, like I mentioned in the very begining, The Jewel is not 100% Prog, with songs like Fly High Fall Far or Higher Circles, with some catchy and simple melodies, as well as chorus'. However, there are some songs that really make you forget of those simple tunes, like the slow-growing Alaska, finally ending with a fantastic moog and guitar solo with the jazz fusion influences I was talking about earlier, as well as with The Black Knight, with great chord progressions and time changes, and finally a stunning guitar solo. Then there are the Proggy tracks, showing what Pendragon were able to do in less than 7 minutes, like the highly cozy Victims of Life, with great warm melodies and great composition, then there's the 2 highly energetic tunes, Leviathan and The Pleasure of Hope, both of them showing great musicianship, as well as the origin of the classic Pendragon cheerful melodies.

All in all, a very strong debut album, musicianship-wise, while the great compositions and song-writing would come later, this album has a lot of potential, and a lot of it which will be recycled for their classic-era. Like I said at the begining, maybe not as solid and ground-breaking as Script, nor as Proggy as Tales from the Lust Attic, still this one showed a excellent begining for the 3rd of the classic Neo-Prog bands.

Great addition to your Neo-Prog collection. Essential if you're a Pendragon fan.

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Posted Thursday, April 09, 2009

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars The pleasures of hope

The Jewel was the first full-length album by Pendragon and I must say that it lacks something compared to the band's 90's and 2000's releases. Pendragon was formed already in 1978 but they didn't produce this debut album until 1985. Together with IQ, Pallas, Marillion and a few other bands, Pendragon spearheaded the Neo-Progressive movement in the early 80's. However, it took them several more years before they started to make really good music. This debut album is quite immature in several respects even if it has many signs of what was to come on later albums. Nick Barrett's voice is the primary feature to remind us of which band this is. His guitar playing is not bad here but he had yet to develop his own guitar style. Clive Nolan had yet to join the band but the keyboards are well handled here by Rik Carter.

To be expected considering the year of its release, The Jewel has an 80's Pop sound to it and it would not be wholly out of place to call this Pop Prog. However, compared to Kowtow, which was the band's second album, this album is much more progressive and far superior (but Kowtow is a very weak album, so its not much of a compliment). Sadly, the sound quality is quite weak and very far from the high sonic quality of later albums from the 90's onwards.

As with the first couple of albums by IQ, also Pendragon's early releases were relatively weak when compared to what these bands would go on to do in the 90's and 2000's. These early Neo-Prog albums are often slightly naďve and immature but still often enjoyable to some degree.

While I get some enjoyment out of this album, I cannot really recommend it to anyone other than fans and collectors of Pendragon and those with a special interest in the early history of Neo-Prog.

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Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've just realized recently from my friend who regularly visit my blog that I have not reviewed this debut album by one of the pioneers of what so called 'neo-prog' music. I remember vividly that in the midst of my love with Marillion first three albums, there was this album available in cassette format. I purchased it but I rarely listened to it, even though the music has a bit of similarity with Marillion, because almost everytime I always played Marillion albums. To my ears, Pendragon 'the Jewel' was nothing compared to any first three albums of Marillion. But occasionally I played the cassette and it did not really hook me with the music. It's nice to have it but nothing so special.

As time went by I realized many bands in the vein of neo-prog have actually followed the path of Pendragon, Pallas and IQ - and not quite really followed Marillion. For easy comparison, there have been rare or even 'none' that new neo prog bands have energy-driven music such as Marillion's 'Forgotten Sons', 'He Knows You Know', 'Emerald Lies', 'Assassing', 'Punch and Judy', 'Fugazi', 'Hotel Hobbies' and many more. It does not mean that Marillion never created mellow neo prog. We can see it from 'Chelsea Monday', 'She Chameleon', 'Jigsaw', 'Sugar Mice'. It might be that other bands in neo prog vein followed the mellow side of Marillion.

This full-length debut album of Pendragon came out quite late as Marillion started already with their EP 'Market Square Heroes' in 1982 followed with full length album 'Script for A Jester's Tear' in 1983 who really took the prog music industry by the STORM! If you like keyboard-driven music plus some Hackettian guitar fills, 'The Jewel' would fulfill your taste entirely. The music is quite mellow, mostly. The opening track 'Higher Circles' (3:29) is not truly a neo prog tune as it's a simple pop rock music. The second track 'The Pleasure of Hope' (3:43) reminds me to the kind of music IQ plays; it's a nice keyboard-driven music. 'Leviathan' (6:13) moves up the music with faster tempo style with Marillion's 'Garden Party'-like keyboard work. I find the fourth track 'Alaska' (8:39) entertaining especially on its interlude at the end of the track where keyboard plays great solo. The most memorable song for me is 'The Black Knight' (9:57) as it starts beautifully with a good ambient using a combined work of keyboard with guitar fills;and the vocal moves emotionally as the music flows. I like this song very much. I know that Nick Barrett has many limitations in its vocal quality - no power - but throughout this tune he can manage it successfully.

Overall, this is a very good neo prog album with good melody and harmony. Even though the music is not that complex, there are still change of styles in its segments. The album is cohesive from start to end. Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#266294) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Pendragon's debut is a perfectly acceptable slice of keyboard-heavy neo-prog that doesn't win any Pink Floyd-sized plaudits yet sums up the niceties of it's admittedly restricted musical sub- genre rather nicely. When discussing neo-prog several great albums spring to mind; IQ's debut 'Tales From The Lush Attic' and it's equally excellent follow-up 'The Wake'; Marillion's commercially-successful 'Misplaced Childhood'; 'The Dangers Of Strangers' by scotch rockers Abel Ganz; and Twelfth Night's masterly 'Fact & Fiction' album from 1982. 'The Jewel', with it's twinkling synths and rasping guitars and lead-singer Nick Barrett's yelpish vocals, should appeal to fans of these albums, presenting a slightly less complex yet highly melodic sonic spin on the well-worn formula. Stand out tracks include the mystical epic 'Alaska' and the uplifting rocker 'The Pleasure Of Hope', which features a memorable opening keyboard riff and thus displays Pendragon's strong Genesis and Yes influences. All told then, 'The Jewel' is decent prog, impressively played. But it's no classic. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#297050) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Latest members reviews

4 stars The Pendragon studio début album. Released two years after Marillion's and IQ's brilliant first studio albums - similar in style and sound to those bands which both had their roots in early Genesis music (Gabriel era). None of the bands though are Genesis copycats as they take the sound and they ... (read more)

Report this review (#1024438) | Posted by sukmytoe | Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I remember having an affection for this album since its release far back in the 80's, and I still have a soft spot in my heart for it until today. Pendragon was a brand new band so far, and so there was a strong expectation around its future. I think personally this band has been up to the mar ... (read more)

Report this review (#47111) | Posted by | Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Their first full-length album, already showcases Nick's ability in writing catchy, nice melodies/tunes, and interweave several melodielines to one great pallet of sounds. Rik Carter together with Nick's guitar create a very rich atmosphere, with a great bass-line underneath it all, as provide ... (read more)

Report this review (#5701) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, December 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Magnificent work of Pendragón that was making presage the marvellous musical career that they have continued until our days. Improving the unbeatable thing, nowadays they are a prop of the Symphonic world Rock, and in every work they demonstrate it. This disc is highly advisable and of a sensa ... (read more)

Report this review (#5700) | Posted by | Saturday, November 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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