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Pendragon Love Over Fear album cover
4.07 | 397 ratings | 27 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD / 2LP :
1. Everything (5:40)
2. Starfish and the Moon (3:37)
3. Truth and Lies (8:26)
4. 360 Degrees (5:34)
5. Soul and the Sea (5:44)
6. Eternal Light (8:19)
7. Water (7:57)
8. Whirlwind (4:59)
9. Who Really Are We? (8:41)
10. Afraid of Everything (5:08)

Total Time 64:05

Bonus tracks on 2LP edition :
11. Quae Tamen Omnia (Everything but Everything) (1:17)
12. Who Really Are We? (acoustic version) (8:40)

Additional CD's on 3CD limited edition :

CD 2 - Love Over Fear (acoustic)
1. Quae Tamen Omnia (Everything but Everything) (1:17)
2. Truth and Lies (9:27)
3. 360 Degrees (5:32)
4. Starfish and the Moon (3:38)
5. Soul and the Sea (7:38)
6. Eternal Light (10:11)
7. Water (8:00)
8. Whirlwind (5:03)
9. Who Really Are We? (8:40)
10. Afraid of Everything (5:33)

Total Time 64:59

CD 3 - Love Over Fear (instrumental)
1. Everything (5:40)
2. Starfish and the Moon (3:37)
3. Truth and Lies (8:26)
4. 360 Degrees (5:35)
5. Soul and the Sea (5:43)
6. Eternal Light (8:19)
7. Water (7:58)
8. Whirlwind (4:57)
9. Who Really Are We? (8:41)
10. Afraid of Everything (5:07)

Total Time 64:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Nick Barrett / guitars, vocals, Roland V-Piano (4), Nord Stage 3 piano (8), mandolin (3), keyboard programming
- Clive Nolan / keyboards
- Peter Gee / bass
- Jan-Vincent Velazco / drums, percussion

- Zoe Devenish / backing vocals, violin (3,5)
- Julian Baker / saxophone (8)

Releases information

CD Toff Records - PEND30DS (2020, UK)
2LP Toff Records - PEND30LP (2020, UK, with 2 bonus tracks)
3CD Toff Records - PEND30CD (2020, UK, Limited Edition with 2 additional CDs, includes 11" x 11" hard cover book featuring Liz Saddington paintings to illustrate all the album tracks plus a wealth of photographs)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PENDRAGON Love Over Fear ratings distribution

(397 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PENDRAGON Love Over Fear reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
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.

Review by Warthur
3 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 (and with an increasingly grumpy streak in the previously fairly positive lyrics).

Now, after a long percolation, the new album comes - Love Over Fear - and it feels like it marks the completion 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.

In addition, there's a consciously retro approach to the album which can't help but feel like Pendragon shifting gear into being the sort of nostalgia act they were accused of being in earlier phases of their career. 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, with some grumpy and unpleasant lyrics about how Kids Use Their Phones Too Much These Days. Elsewhere the band feel happy taking moments to step back and go for a more minimalist approach (as on Starfish and the Moon).

To be fair, at its best it feels like the album's offering 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. At its worst, however, the album feels a little cluttered and unfocused, with lyrics that sometimes veer into a sort of patronising grumpiness that kind of spoils it for me.

When I first heard the album, towards the start of lockdown, I was very taken with it; I think it's still an OK late-career Pendragon album, but late-career Pendragon hasn't held up for me as well as the likes of late-career Marillion, IQ, or Spock's Beard have.

Review by 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.

Review by lazland
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.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by 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" (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 that 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 well 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!

Review by friso
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.
Review by kev rowland
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?.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars To heck with it I'm giving this 5 stars. I want to say PENDRAGON are back but they never really left did they? I sure get what the fuss is about this album now. That four album run from 1991's "The World" to 2001's "Not Of This World" was their high water mark in my opinion although the albums that followed like "Pure" and "Passion" were also excellent but I also feel like they were distancing themselves from Neo Prog by going in that heavier direction.

So Nick moved to the county of Cornwall home of hundred of beaches and living on the sea seems to have changed his life. I get it. I live in a tourist town where people come from all over the place but mostly from Toronto to get away to the longest freshwater beach in the World with the beautiful Blue Mountain in the west. It never gets old driving or walking down there, it's stunning. I could never afford to live on the beach but it would be life changing.

It's like PENDRAGON have re-embraced the old school Neo where it's all about the emotion of the vocals, lyrics, guitar and atmosphere. That's what I loved about this sub-genre but I also always felt there was so much crap in it as well and was never too surprised at the abuse back in the day. It's like "Love Over Fear" is the followup to "Not Of This World" but more modern and of course 20 years later.

You want emotion it's here in spades. That's the one thing I felt was lacking with IQ's "Resistance" although it was there. We get variety here and those sing-a-long choruses about love and the beach. There's a picture in the liner notes of Peter and Nick playing guitar on the beach as the sun sets. Love the guest violin on two tracks and Nick plays mandolin on one song plus there's guest sax on "Whirlwind". So cool to see names like Barrett, Gee, Nolan and Groom again. I'm not sure what happened to Fudge Smith their drummer who has been gone for years but we got a young guy doing that now.

This is consistent with a lot of high end tracks on it. I checked six of the ten as being lights out good. Voted as the fifth best on this site for 2020 is saying something too of course. Neo-Prog is apparently alive and well in the 20's and this will continue as long as we have PENDRAGON and IQ around.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Pendragon's latest album was very unfortunately disappointing for a band that is often touted as one of the best neo-prog bands (and for good reason - The Masquerade Overture IS a fantastic album); but it also frustrating because while the musicianship is very clearly present - the band performs exc ... (read more)

Report this review (#2545767) | Posted by tempest_77 | Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Love Over Fear came to my attention early in 2020 when it was one of the early contenders for album of the year, dominating the progarchives charts for the first few months and still (as of 5/26/21) at a considerably high rating, even among Pendragon's more recent albums. I haven't listened to m ... (read more)

Report this review (#2545477) | Posted by mental_hygiene | Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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 than ... (read more)

Report this review (#2493645) | Posted by alainPP | Thursday, January 14, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2444439) | Posted by FatherChristmas | Thursday, September 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 melo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2405220) | Posted by Homotopy | Saturday, May 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 perfec ... (read more)

Report this review (#2374486) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Saturday, April 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 m ... (read more)

Report this review (#2347533) | Posted by tbstars1 | Saturday, April 4, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2341162) | Posted by Prime Half Century | Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 evoc ... (read more)

Report this review (#2339642) | Posted by ProgBrazil | Sunday, March 1, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 sou ... (read more)

Report this review (#2339454) | Posted by belatarr | Sunday, March 1, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 me ... (read more)

Report this review (#2339370) | Posted by maialaia | Saturday, February 29, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 polit ... (read more)

Report this review (#2338909) | Posted by Gelson | Thursday, February 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 L ... (read more)

Report this review (#2338363) | Posted by iopiopi | Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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, w ... (read more)

Report this review (#2336711) | Posted by Deadwing | Monday, February 17, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 b ... (read more)

Report this review (#2336466) | Posted by CeeJayGee | Sunday, February 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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, min ... (read more)

Report this review (#2314320) | Posted by emisan | Sunday, February 9, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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