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PENDRAGON

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Pendragon biography
PENDRAGON were formed in Stroud, England in 1978. Originally known as ZEUS PENDRAGON it was decided fairly early on to drop the "ZEUS" as co-founder Julian Baker felt it was too wordy to fit on a t-shirt! There were several line up changes in the early days, members included Julian Baker (co-founder/guitar) Nigel Harris (drums) Stan Cox (bass) Robert Dalby (bass) John Barney Barnfield (keys) Rik Carter (keys). The one constant key element was Nick Barrett. The line up then remained the same for almost 20 years, featuring : Nick Barrett (guitar/lead vocal) Clive Nolan (keys) Peter Gee (bass) and Fudge Smith (drums), until 2006 when PENDRAGON and Fudge Smith parted ways.

Todate there have been 21 releases from PENDRAGON who set up their own label "TOFF RECORDS" in the late 1980's following the release of "The Jewel" and "KowTow" (as well as a couple of mini albums). "The Masquerade Overture" is probably their most acclaimed work todate. Although a recent change of direction with "Believe" has seen opinions somewhat split, it is definitely a remarkable album and maybe showing a move away from classic Neo-Prog.

I would highly recommend this band to anyone enjoying neo-prog.

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Men Who Climb MountainsMen Who Climb Mountains
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$13.91
$35.42 (used)
And Now Everybody to the Stage...And Now Everybody to the Stage...
Multiple Formats
Mvd Visual 2006
DVD$4.99
$18.77 (used)
Out of Order Comes ChaosOut of Order Comes Chaos
Metal Mind 2013
Audio CD$10.87
$13.10 (used)
Not of This WorldNot of This World
Madfish Records UK 2012
Audio CD$6.64
$9.21 (used)
Masquerade OvertureMasquerade Overture
Madfish Records UK 2013
Vinyl$22.65
$21.49 (used)
Pendragon: Past and PresencePendragon: Past and Presence
Multiple Formats
Mvd Visual 2007
DVD$10.78
$9.87 (used)
PassionPassion
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Vinyl$25.75
IntroducingIntroducing
Recall Records UK 2013
Audio CD$5.24
$8.58 (used)
Masquerade OvertureMasquerade Overture
Madfish Records UK 2013
Audio CD$6.76
$6.61 (used)
BelieveBelieve
Madfish Records UK 2011
Audio CD$6.97
$13.90 (used)
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Pendragon The Masquerade Overture CD USD $12.03 Buy It Now 8h 26m
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The Window of Life by Pendragon (CD, Oct-1993, TOFF Rec.) USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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Destination: Heaven by La Floa Maldita (CD, Oct-1998, Pendragon (USA)) USD $2.99 Buy It Now 4 days
PENDRAGON As Good As Gold + Fallen Dreams And Angels MC CASSETTE USD $11.99 Buy It Now 4 days
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PENDRAGON Saved By You 7" B/w Lady Luck Pic Sleeve UK Toff 1989 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 5 days
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PENDRAGON shows & tickets


  • Night of the Prog X on 17 Jul 2015
  • Ramblin' Man Fair on 25 Jul 2015

PENDRAGON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PENDRAGON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 244 ratings
The Jewel
1985
2.58 | 185 ratings
Kowtow
1988
3.76 | 338 ratings
The World
1991
3.90 | 374 ratings
The Window Of Life
1993
3.96 | 521 ratings
The Masquerade Overture
1996
3.86 | 394 ratings
Not Of This World
2001
3.54 | 340 ratings
Believe
2005
3.88 | 547 ratings
Pure
2008
3.74 | 467 ratings
Passion
2011
3.64 | 144 ratings
Men Who Climb Mountains
2014

PENDRAGON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 50 ratings
9:15 Live
1986
2.33 | 32 ratings
The Very Very Bootleg Live In Lille France 1992
1993
3.58 | 42 ratings
Utrecht ...The Final Frontier
1995
3.97 | 44 ratings
Live In Krakow 1996
1997
3.33 | 49 ratings
Acoustically Challenged
2002
3.90 | 23 ratings
Liveosity
2004
4.07 | 59 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.11 | 42 ratings
Out of Order Comes Chaos
2013

PENDRAGON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.16 | 51 ratings
Live At Last ... And More
2002
3.98 | 52 ratings
And Now Everybody To The Stage
2006
3.98 | 54 ratings
Past And Presence
2007
4.43 | 83 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.56 | 33 ratings
Out Of Order Comes Chaos
2012

PENDRAGON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.89 | 37 ratings
The Rest of Pendragon
1991
2.38 | 7 ratings
1984-96 Overture
1998
2.50 | 32 ratings
Once Upon A Time In England Volume 1
1999
2.42 | 29 ratings
Once Upon A Time In England Volume 2
1999
3.42 | 25 ratings
The History 1984-2000
2000
4.09 | 4 ratings
A História
2001
4.25 | 8 ratings
The Round Table
2001
4.00 | 3 ratings
Introducing Pendragon
2013

PENDRAGON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 45 ratings
Fly High Fall Far
1984
1.63 | 22 ratings
Red Shoes
1987
2.28 | 18 ratings
Saved By You
1991
2.43 | 9 ratings
Nostradamus
1993
3.65 | 77 ratings
Fallen Dreams And Angels
1994
3.38 | 61 ratings
As Good As Gold
1996

PENDRAGON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Passion by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 467 ratings

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Passion
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Pastmaster

5 stars Pendragon-Passion

'Passion' is the ninth studio album by British progressive rock/metal band Pendragon. After the expanding of a prog metal style on the previous release, Pendragon comes back with my favorite of their albums. I takes everything that was great about 'Pure' and expands upon it, still adding in heavier riffing.

The album opens up with the electronic drum beats of the title track, soon coming in with a heavy guitar blast. The music is surprisingly very different from 'Pure'. The songs are overall heavier and catchier, making it easier to get lost in the music. The song 'Feeding Frenzy' is a perfect example, having plenty of catchy hooks and an equally catchy chorus. There are some slower songs, like 'This Green and Pleasant Land', but unlike the previous album, I love this song. It's not a sappy ballad like the slow songs on 'Pure', It is slow and calm but also rocking at the same time. It has a beautiful catchy chorus, and it eventually starts rocking near the end. The other slow song, 'Your Black Heart', is a ballad unfortunately. It's pretty boring and drags on for too long, and a pretty disappointing finale to such an awesome album.

I said Barrett's vocals were good and fitting on the previous two albums, but he blows those albums out of the way with this album. His vocal performance went up ten-fold, bringing in some guttural screams. You'll feel like kicking ass when hearing Barrett screaming 'DROP MY BALLS' and 'WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE' in the title track. Barrett's screaming on my favorite song from the album, 'Skara Brae' is also very well performed, coming in at the perfect times.

Overall, I highly recommend this album to any fans of Progressive hard rock or metal. It would be flawless if it wasn't for the final track, but that doesn't take this album away from being a masterpiece to me. A nearly flawless album, that deserves more recognition. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

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 Pure by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.88 | 547 ratings

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Pure
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Pastmaster

4 stars Pendragon-Pure

'Pure' is the eighth studio album by British progressive rock/metal band Pendragon. After Pendragon's shift to a harder rocking style on the previous release 'Believe', Pendragon expands upon that shift in sound and extends the metal leanings.

Like the previous album, there is a balance between heavy metal/rock songs and slower calm songs. The album begins with the heavy 14-minute 'Indigo', which soon blasts you with heavy riffing. The song has a nice contrast between the heavy metal riffing and slower passages, the transitions coming at the perfect times. At the bridge Peter Gee plays a great bassline over Clive Nolan's atmospheric keyboards, with Nick Barrett's heavy riffing soon coming in. The song ends with a great soaring guitar solo. One of my favorites on the album is 'Comatose I: View from the Seashore', which begins very slow and melancholy with heavy riffing coming in about 3-minutes through. My other favorite is the shorter song 'The Freak Show'. It immediately begins with heavy crunching guitar and Nolan soon gives us more atmospheric keyboards. I also really like the lyrics for this song.

Like with the previous album, Barrett's vocals fit this sound much better then Pendragon's older style. The way the slower and calmer parts in this new style are played, makes his voice sound very passionate. Instead of grandiose sometimes really annoying synth, it is overall much more guitar led with more acoustics then synth.

My only problem with this album, are the all slow songs. The longer songs that have various tempos are great, but I feel like the songs that are just slow are pretty weak. They seem to drag on and on, especially the 8-minute long final song 'It's Only Me'.

Overall, even though it has it's flaws it's still a great addition to any progressive metal/rock collection and I recommend it.

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 Men Who Climb Mountains by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 144 ratings

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Men Who Climb Mountains
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Losimba

4 stars To make it short, Men Who Climb Mountains is exactly the album one expects from Pendragon. The title is an added bonus for me, as I like to climb mountains myself, although there is no song literally about my hobby on the album. But I read this in Nick's ramblings last summer, so no disappointment here.

The first two songs, Belle Amie and Beautiful Soul, the titles identical in meaning but in French and English respectively, are fine appetizers of what's to come. On other albums this slow intro followed by a fine rocker have been merged to longer openers, but they definitely work as separate tracks. Come Home Jack then reminds me a wee bit of Voyager from The World which is neither very original nor bad. The only little weakness of the album is nondescript In Bardo, but this is more than cancelled out by the following wonderful ballad Faces Of Light. If a title with "light" is immediately followed by the same title just with "darkness" one would expect a stark contrast, and the next track doesn't disappoint with its driving beat. The last three tracks are quite typical Pendragon songs, each with one instrument providing the extra bit. While the end section of For When The Zombies Come is far slower and bluesier than its counterpart in my favourite Pendragon song, Am I Really Losing You?, I can imagine to love it equally after I'll have heard it several times more. While I couldn't hear out an extraordinary solo section in Explorers Of The Infinite which IS something that can be associated with mountain climbing, it has one of the best bass lines I've heard in the last 5 years. Finally, Netherworld is defined by the good keyboard work, especially the section where the keys sound like a blues guitar.

Had Pendragon never published The World and The Window Of Life, this album would have straight 5 stars. But they have, so the bonus for originality cannot be applied, but my rating remains at solid 4 stars with a tendency towards 4.5.

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 Believe by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.54 | 340 ratings

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Believe
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Pastmaster

4 stars Pendragon-Believe

'Believe' is the seventh studio album by British Progressive rock/metal band Pendragon.

This album shows Pendragon begin to evolve out of their old sound, and into a harder-edged prog rock band. 'Believe' shows less use of synth and the guitar begins to take the front seat, as heard in the opening song 'No Place for the Innocent'. It has a much harder-rocking 90's Rush feel, really reminding me of songs from Rush's 'Test for Echo'. Nick Barrett's vocals sound much better in this song, fitting the style much more then their previous albums. Some classical influences are still maintained, after some great riffing, violins can be heard for a few seconds. This song is probably my favorite from this album. Not all the songs rock hard on this album, the song 'The Temple of Solomon' and a couple parts of the four 'The Wishing Well' are more acoustic based, but some I can still enjoy.

With 'The Wishing Well', part three is where Pendragon starts to rock out. The bridge has some really catchy guitar riffs, before they soon flow into even faster riffing with a great bass-line. The final part of 'The Wishing Well', 'Two Roads', brings in the first sounds of prog metal in Pendragon's sound. It begins with nice acoustics, but soon picks up with heavy riffing. 'Learning Curve' has kind of a jazzy and bluesy feel to it, making it standout on the album.

Overall, 'Believe' shows Pendragon evolving into a hard rock/prog metal band that would lead to my favorite album by the band. Barrett's voice fits much better with the overall harder-edged feel of this album, which makes this a much more enjoyable listen for me. Recommended to fans of hard rock and prog rock, and for metal Pendragon would reach that height on the next album.

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 Not Of This World  by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.86 | 394 ratings

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Not Of This World
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Pastmaster

3 stars Pendragon-Not of This World

'Not of This World' is the sixth studio album by British Progressive rock/metal band Pendragon. Before Pendragon started to rock a little harder on 'Believe' and venture into metal on 'Pure', Pendragon was a traditional progressive rock band with some classical influences.

The music is much different then the sounds heard on albums like 'Pure' and 'Passion', it is a much lighter and gentle sound compared to the heavy riffing of the aforementioned albums. Songs like 'If I Were the Wind' and 'Faithless' are good examples of this. They are relaxing and calming to say the least, nice for if you're feeling stressed and need something calming. Not to say this album is without some more rocking moments. Probably my favorite song from this album is the 80's Rush-like 'All Over Now', with great soaring solos by Nick Barrett and nice slow interludes. Another favorite of mine is the epic 'A Man Of Nomadic Traits', again with great solos by Barrett.

The music is played well, and I can enjoy a few songs even though it's not a kind of music I really enjoy. My main gripe about the album though, is the vocals. This is actually the problem I have with all of Pendragon's early releases, Nick Barrett's voice just doesn't fit with the style of music very well at all. His voice has a very raw tone to it, making it fit in better with the hard rock and metal songs of later albums.

Overall, 'Not of This World' is a decent traditional prog rock album. I'll never be a fan of these early Pendragon releases, but I'll listen to a few songs on here occasionally. Good, but I would recommend skipping to 'Believe' or 'Pure'.

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 Pure by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.88 | 547 ratings

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Pure
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Pendragon always was a rather typical neo-prog band, with an epic fantasy sound, distinguished perhaps by gratuitous amounts of solo guitar in the bluesy Pink Floyd/Camel singing guitar style, courtesy of band mastermind Nick Barrett. Well, it was bound to happen eventually. Pendragon turns to heavy and singing about disgruntled teenagers.

Indigo, Eraserhead, and the Freak Show are examples of Pendragon's new heavy riffs/melodic guitars alternating style, usually beginning up-tempo and finishing with a melodic tension release. It's only me is a lo-oong ballad. Comatose, in three parts, is supposed to be something of a master stroke. It moves rather briskly between wildly alternating styles, all quite catchy and interesting, I might add, before settling down for the last 6 minutes for a drawn-out spacey section, which, while logical by the song's development, seems overlong and kind of mars the overall impression.

Overall, it's a testament to Pendragon's talents that for their 30-year old existence they still show no weak side. Rare band can boast of the same.

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 Passion by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 467 ratings

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Passion
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Continuing the neo-prog/metal direction of Pure, Passion adds even more eclecticism to the mix (I imagine how people would react if Pendragon started the album with the furious riffing of Empathy, thankfully, they placed it second). Rapping, screaming, throat singing, yodeling, electronic effects all can be found here, but luckily in small doses, not distracting from the trademark melodic sound. Song structures are complex enough, with many changes and details, yet never forget about accessibility. Praise is usually reserved for 13-minute Green and Pleasant Land, however I find that piece somewhat repetitive, like an extended beer chant with a silly yodeling outro. I'd chip in my 2 cents for Skara Brae, which, while shorter, sounds truly epic, like a Celtic Iron Maiden-neo prog hybrid.

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 Men Who Climb Mountains by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 144 ratings

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Men Who Climb Mountains
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars And there are those who say Pendragon, the quintessential escapist neo-prog band, doesn't change. After the metal/neo-prog hybrid of Pure and Passion, I half-expected Men Who Climb Mountains, with its less than elves-and-magic cover, to be similar. And there are brief moments where that heavier/lighter approach is present (Beautiful Soul, Faces of Darkness). But the vast majority of this album is slow and reflective. Sometimes its highly melodic, sometimes seems overextended. Everything here - bass, vocals, guitars, melancholic keys, is clear and shines, though. There are complaints from people about Nick Barrett's low hillbilly kind of voice. People, relax. He sings fine, and his unusual tone is actually welcome for a change. Fits that folksy vibe always running through his music, and nowhere its more fitting the mood than here.

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 The Masquerade Overture by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.96 | 521 ratings

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The Masquerade Overture
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars I've been meaning to review Pendragon's latest, Men Who Climb Mountains, but as usual went back a bit to refresh... Why I want to pinch in my 2 cents is that the Masquerade Overture is my favorite. Every song is a winner here, though they do have a tendency to sound long-winded, patchy and overrepetetive in their melodic moments (but usually catchy as hell). But the real reason for my fondness is whereas some neo-prog bands strive to sound dark (Arena), or self-absorbed or wimpy (Marillion in both incarnations), Masquerade is filled with folksy and baroque fun. Its not all merry dance all the time of course, as we get our share of dramatic and lullaby-esque Genesis and Pink Floyd moments, but in the end I'm left with a bright and satisfied feeling.

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 Men Who Climb Mountains by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 144 ratings

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Men Who Climb Mountains
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A new Pendragon album is always, for this long-term fan, a big event. And, as ever, Nick Barrett and his cohorts do not disappoint with yet another class slab of thoughtful progressive rock.

I ordered this from my favourite progressive rock store, Caerllysi Music, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the double cd had Nick's signature emblazoned over it.

It is a rarity that I mention bonus cd's, which is what, in effect, the second disc is, being an acoustic set performed by Nick at a mate's boozer. It is far better than that sounds. In fact, some of it is a revelation, given that the expansive sound we have always associated with Pendragon would not, you would have thought, lend itself to such a stripped out environment. Listening to Green and Pleasant Land, the standout track from Passion, is incredible. The lyrics, and the brilliant anger generated against the knobheads running my country, bringing it to the sorry state it finds itself in, is expressed even more pointedly in this setting than in the original, which I would not have thought possible.

But, to the main event. When you have opening tracks which sing and mourn as to how your beautiful soul will be saved, and end with such an expressive paean to the human condition, then you know that you are in for another treat. Every single review I read from professional journalists always seem to make an excuse for Nick Barrett somehow not having a particularly fine voice, but, patronisingly, state "hey, it works well here". Take no notice of them. There is nobody on God's earth capable of expressing this man's lyrics and music in such a poignant fashion as the man himself, so just enjoy.

The key to this album is the emotion generated from wildly divergent moods, and, with all emotional albums, it requires damned fine playing to bring it to life. Barrett is one of rock music's finest unsung guitar heroes, and his work here is staggering. Some of Clive Nolan's piano work, especially, is enough to bring the hairs on the back of your neck standing up, and listening to his staggering keys work on In Bardo makes you realise just how important a musician he really is. The rhythm section of longstanding bassist Peter Gee, who makes his instrument sing like a lead instrument in parts, and new drummer, Craig Blundell (replacing the incredible Scott Higham), move things along at a fair old pace. Blundell, by the way, is more suited to this album than Higham would have been. I believe, listening to this, that we have the reason why he left.

That is not a criticism of Higham. It is just that I believe, in about three albums time, or so, we will regard MWCM as being as important a change of direction as we now know Believe was when Barrett took the band from its overt symphonic leanings to a far heavier and experimental direction. This one retains much of what was good about that new era, but takes it in a far more song orientated direction, and the end result is a pleasing amalgam.

Some of the riffs on Come Home Jack, for instance, are thunderous, but are tempered by some quite exquisite moments, and the lost yearning inherent in the lyrics and guitar bursts is quite moving - this is not an album about mountaineers, per se. This is an album dealing with the human condition, written by a master songsmith going through a period of deep contemplation. No more, no less. As you listen to the song this segues into, In Bardo, the differing emotions come to the fore, the title itself suggesting a transition between differing states and phases.

The following two tracks constitute, to me, all that is best about this band and album. Two pieces of music which have to be enjoyed and contemplated as one, dealing with hugely diverse emotions. Firstly, we have the uplifting, major key, Faces of Light, which has the return of the delightful Tiggy accompanying Barrett on vocals. This leads into the altogether darker affair of Faces of Darkness, probably the one track on this album which comes closest to the musical ferocity of recent predecessor albums, and the sense of betrayal inherent in the lyrics and mood of the music is biting. The contrast between these two tracks is progressive rock at its best; thoughtful, challenging, and bringing something new to the table with each listen.

I have never been particularly good at interpreting lyrics, as such. That is not a bad thing, or a particularly personal criticism of myself. After all, the only person who really knows what he, or she, is writing about, is the author. What I can say, though, is that I am 50 next month, and it is fair to say that I have been rather thoughtful and reflective in the last couple of years, with close friends no longer with me. You could call it a mid-life crisis, I suppose. The lyrics and music on this fine piece of work shout to me. I get them. I understand, without necessarily knowing precisely what Barrett means by a particular set of words. The incredible final track, Netherworld, that destination of souls not quite saved enough to reach heaven, in particular, means so much to me, because I know I am not perfect, I have faults and fears. This album shouts out to me that one of my favourite band's and lyricist's is still able to move me and I can still relate to him and them in the same fashion as I could as a callow young man when they first delighted me with their music. Not a bad testimony to Pendragon, is it? It is very keenly meant on my behalf. You know, I often tell myself that "God only knows", as Barrett opines on Explorers of the Infinite, the longest track on the album. The music, in particular the symphonic soundscape created by the ensemble, simply oozes feeling and yearning.

Four stars for this. An excellent album which, I know, will be a precursor to a fine and outstanding new era for a fine and outstanding band. This is 64 minutes of pure and utter pleasure, and comes highly recommended.

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