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PENDRAGON

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Pendragon picture
Pendragon biography
Formed in Stroud, Gloucestershire, 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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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)

3.36 | 345 ratings
The Jewel
1985
2.64 | 266 ratings
Kowtow
1988
3.82 | 484 ratings
The World
1991
3.95 | 537 ratings
The Window Of Life
1993
4.06 | 736 ratings
The Masquerade Overture
1996
3.92 | 558 ratings
Not of This World
2001
3.59 | 445 ratings
Believe
2005
3.91 | 693 ratings
Pure
2008
3.77 | 589 ratings
Passion
2011
3.67 | 295 ratings
Men Who Climb Mountains
2014
4.10 | 372 ratings
Love Over Fear
2020

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

3.41 | 67 ratings
9:15 Live
1986
2.36 | 43 ratings
The Very Very Bootleg Live In Lille France 1992
1993
3.61 | 55 ratings
Utrecht ...The Final Frontier
1995
3.99 | 65 ratings
Live In Krakow 1996
1997
3.44 | 70 ratings
Acoustically Challenged
2002
4.06 | 22 ratings
Liveosity
2004
4.16 | 91 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.20 | 69 ratings
Out of Order Comes Chaos
2013
4.52 | 27 ratings
Masquerade 20
2017

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

4.18 | 65 ratings
Live At Last ... And More
2002
3.98 | 72 ratings
And Now Everybody To The Stage
2006
4.05 | 69 ratings
Past And Presence
2007
4.46 | 106 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.57 | 54 ratings
Out Of Order Comes Chaos
2012
4.18 | 24 ratings
Masquerade 20
2017

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

2.92 | 59 ratings
The Rest of Pendragon
1991
2.46 | 9 ratings
1984-96 Overture
1998
2.55 | 46 ratings
Once Upon A Time In England Volume 1
1999
2.46 | 41 ratings
Once Upon A Time In England Volume 2
1999
3.45 | 31 ratings
The History 1984-2000
2000
4.08 | 6 ratings
A História
2001
4.10 | 12 ratings
The Round Table
2001
3.22 | 12 ratings
Introducing Pendragon
2013
4.15 | 8 ratings
The First 40 Years
2019

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

3.32 | 63 ratings
Fly High Fall Far
1984
2.11 | 35 ratings
Red Shoes
1987
2.52 | 27 ratings
Saved By You
1991
2.70 | 18 ratings
Nostradamus
1993
3.76 | 107 ratings
Fallen Dreams And Angels
1994
3.51 | 83 ratings
As Good As Gold
1996

PENDRAGON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Jewel by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.36 | 345 ratings

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The Jewel
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 532

"The Jewel" is the debut studio album of Pendragon and was released in 1985. This is a very different album when compared with their following studio albums "The World", released in 1991, "The Window Of Life", released in 1993, "The Masquerade Overture", released in 1996 and "Not Of This World", released in 2001. I left out of this comparison "Kowtow", released in 1988 because it represents a very special and unique album on the musical career of the group. At that time the band was facing a transitional phase in their musical career pursued a more commercial direction.

"The Jewel" is a kind of a pre-album from the band and where their classic keyboardist Clive Nolan and their drummer Fudge Smith weren't yet members of the group. So, the line up on the album is composed by Nick Barrett (vocals and guitars), Rick Carter (keyboards), Peter Gee (basses, guitars and bass pedals) and Nigel Harris (drums and percussion).

Originally, "The Jewel" had only seven tracks. The first track "Higher Circles" written by Barrett, Carter, Gee and Harris is a very nice and pleasant song to open the album. This is a song with the typical Pendragon's guitar sound and the typical charm and melodic Nick Barrett's vocals. It has also a good keyboard work and an unusual drum performance, which is also very nice too. The second track "The Pleasure Of Hope" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield is a kind of a song with a more romantic style. It's a song with good lyrics and a nice and melodic sound. The keyboard sound is also very good, but for me, the most impressive and interesting thing on the song is the drum work, which is superb. The third track "Leviathan" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield is one of the highlights on the album and that became as one of the all-time Pendragon's favourite song and it's still played in some live concerts nowadays. It's a very good song full of fast musical passages and where the keyboards are the great highlight on it. The fourth track "Alaska" is divided into two parts "At Home With The Earth" and "Snowfall", and it was written by Barrett. This is another highlight on the album. It's a song with an excellent musical composition, and once more, it has another great keyboard work. The guitar work is also excellent and the bass line of Peter Gee completes perfectly well the general picture of the song. It's a song that reminds me deeply, the sound of Camel especially due to the guitar and keyboard works, which are, in my humble opinion, very close to Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens' styles. The fifth track "Circus" written by Barrett, Carter, Gee and Harris is a very dramatic song with great instrumental parts and some breaks that sometimes reminds me Rush. By the other hand and once more, it has some parts that remind me Camel too. The song has some fantastic parts with a perfect harmony between all musical instruments, indeed. The sixth track "Oh Divineo" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield is a very beautiful and melodic song with a series of different musical passages and where, once more, I can see some influences of Rush, even on the vocal parts. This is another very good track in the same vein of the rest of the album keeping it at a good level of quality, really. The seventh track "The Black Knight" written by Barrett is another highlight on the album and it's still loved by Pendragon's fans and all prog rock lovers, even today. It's the lengthiest track on the album and it's a song surprisingly full of musical changes all over the song. This is an excellent track that gives perfectly well the glimpse of what would be the later Pendragon's music style. My version of "The Jewel" has more four bonus tracks, the eighth track "Fly High Fall Far" written by Barrett, the ninth track "Victims Of Life" written by Barrett, the tenth track "Armageddon" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield and "Insomnia" written by Barrett, Gee, Harris and Barnfield. The first two bonus tracks "Fly High Fall Far" and "Victims Of Life" appeared for the first time on their debut EP "Fly High Fall Far" and represent the side A of it. The other two songs "Armageddon" and "Insomnia", from what I know appeared for the first time on their compilation "Once Upon A Time In England Volume 1", released in 1999. As you know, usually, I don't review bonus tracks. So, I'm not going to do an exception in this case. However, if I did it, that wouldn't change the final rating of my review. In general, its quality level is perfectly at the same level of the rest of the album, with the problem to be less cohesive than the album itself.

Conclusion: "The Jewel" is, in fact, the second Pendragon's album after their mini-album "Fly High Fall Far" released in 1984. That mini-album appeared on "The Rest Of Pendragon" compilation's album released in 1991. "The Jewel" is clearly a very good musical effort by Pendragon and constitutes an excellent debut album for any band. It's clearly a very different musical proposal from the band but it also represents a very solid and cohesive beginning for Pendragon. It's true that here we can't see clearly what the band want for their music, because the musical influences are probably too much varied for a single album. However, the high quality level of its music and its musical cohesion make of "The Jewel" a good prog rock album. This was their break-through album. In the slipstream of Marillion, Pendragon with this album was responsible for the revival of prog rock in Europe. If you love prog music this could be in your collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Fly High Fall Far by PENDRAGON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.32 | 63 ratings

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Fly High Fall Far
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 521

The history of Pendragon began at Stroud, Gloucestershire, England in 1978. Four young musicians got together and decided to form a rock band, Zeus Pendragon, later shortened to Pendragon. The band started playing cover versions of classic rock tunes by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Santana. In 1982, it was asked to Pendragon if they would like to support Marillion at the famous Marquee Club in London. At the time, Marillion had already gained a tremendous recognition. This was the break that Pendragon really needed. Thus, soon they released their debut work.

So, "Fly High Fall Far" is the debut EP, mini album or maxi single, as you wish to call it, of Pendragon and was released in 1984. This was Pendragon's first release made up only by four studio tracks. "Fly High Fall Far" sounds definitely close to "The Jewel", their debut studio album, which was released in 1985, about one year after the release of this EP. Like happened with "The Jewel", the absence of Clive Nolan is particularly evident and noticed on this work too. He hadn't yet joined the group, which means the guitar work is more prominent and the keys are more mixed on the back.

So, "Fly High Fall Far" and "The Jewel" represent a very different musical proposal when compared with their following studio albums "The World", released in 1991, "The Window Of Life", released in 1993, "The Masquerade Overture", released in 1996 and "Not Of This World", released in 2001. I left out of this comparison their second studio album "Kowtow", released in 1988, because it represents a very special album on the musical career of the group. In those days, when Pendragon released "Kowtow", the band was in change, facing a transitional phase in their musical career.

Thus, "Fly High Fall Far" and "The Jewel" began to Pendragon, as a kind of two pre-studio works from the band and where their classic keyboardist Clive Nolan and their drummer Fudge Smith weren't yet members of the group at the time. So, the line up on the album is composed by Nick Barrett (vocals and guitars), Rick Carter (keyboards), Peter Gee (basses, guitars and bass pedals) and Nigel Harris (drums and percussion).

As I wrote above, "Fly High Fall Far" is an EP with four tracks. The first track is the title track song "Fly High Fall Far". This is a very aggressive progressive rock song with great tempo breaks and some outstanding keyboards by Rick Carter. It sounds as a petty basic piece of rock with nice guitar and keyboard works that shows clearly the group's musical versatility since the early days and that became a true testimony of their musical roots and background. It isn't one of their best tracks but it's enough interesting and pleasant to listen to. The second track "Victims Of Life" is a very melodic piece of music with superb guitar parts, and again, it has also a lot of tempo breaks all over the song. This is a more familiar progressive rock track, mostly instrumental, that shows clearly the initial Genesis and Marillion musical influence of Fish's era, on the band's music. It sounds very symphonic and very beautiful as Pendragon can sound. This is a better song than "Fly High Fall Far" is, with many soft musical segments very catchy and amusing, which is enough to turning this track also very pleasant to listen to. The third track "Dark Summer's Day" is a mellow ballad with a great and emotional guitar break at the end of the song, which reminds me very strongly Carlos Santana. Santana is an artist that I like very much of his guitar style. It's a song with a fine melody, slightly jazz and bossa nova rhythm, nice harmonies, good keyboard work and a magnificent guitar playing. This is a very melodic song that became to be a very nice piece of music. However, and despite of that, this is probably the weakest track on the album, its Achilles' heel. The fourth track "Excalibur" is an instrumental piece of music with a very nice keyboard sound, in which Pendragon shows their great skills. I think we may say that this is the song of the EP with the most authentic Pendragon's sound of all. This is a musical composition very well structured, very well elaborated and very varied that reminds me the early Genesis' sound in the time of "Trespass". This is also a track that reminds me very strongly the early sound of Camel. It's a track that features a very nice keyboard and guitar works. This is, without any doubt, the strongest point on the album and represents a great musical moment. It represents also the best and most progressive moment on the EP.

Conclusion: "Fly High Fall Far" has a real good early collection of songs that represents a kind of an interlude and a showcase to their debut studio album "The Jewel". It's a very different musical proposal from the band but it represents a very solid and cohesive beginning to Pendragon. I think it can be considered, perhaps, as only a specific item for fans and collectors and probably must be heard as a complement of their album "The Jewell". So, I share the same opinion of some other reviewers that "Fly High Fall Far" is a difficult album to rate by its own. Still, if we look to it with some attention, we can find on it the roots of their future music. The high quality level of its music and its musical cohesion make of "Fly High Fall Far" a very good progressive EP and a promising start for what will be, in the future, one of the best neo-prog bands in the world, a band that continues still creating great, fine and relevant prog music, even today

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Believe by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.59 | 445 ratings

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Believe
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the fantastic Not of This World, Nick Barrett took four years to follow up on that excellent work. And the result was Believe!

Which for me, without a doubt, is perhaps his weakest effort work since the infamous Kowtow. Above all, because of a worrying inability to create exciting melodies and evocative instrumental passages, which were the hallmark of the group.

It is obvious that the Barret and company tried to evolve their style, trying to sound more modern and contemporary (talking about 2005), bringing back the acoustic guitars, and taking down the dominance of Nolan's keyboard, who is sort of absent on this record. Sadly, part the charm of the group was lost in the process.

In addition, the failed attempt to create a long and epic song with The Wishing Well did not go well, mainly because the song lacks strength and inspiration, which ends up almost ruining an album that on a personal level was a considerable disappointment despite the fact that it cannot be considered bad under any circumstances.

Best Tracks: The Wisdom of Salomon (good guitar melodies, reminiscent of the best moments of Not of this World) and The Edge of the World (beautiful work on acoustics, and a very Pink Floyd influenced instrumental development)

My Rating: ***

 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.10 | 372 ratings

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Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by tempest_77

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 excellently and there are some satisfying instrumental sections - the lyricism and the overall compositional approach simply causes the album to fall flat on its face.

The first song I heard off of this album was the last one, "Afraid of Everything", and out of context, it's a very pleasant atmospheric track. When I actually sat down to listen to the whole record, though, the beginning of "Everything" already had me a little apprehensive right off the bat. I'm not one to knock the value of simplicity in music; especially in such a complex genre, it's important to mix in a tasteful amount more straight-forward moments - otherwise your album turns into a mess of noodling and over-indulgence. But the snare-driven power pop drum beat that the album starts out with goes on for just over 50 seconds - I was already over it halfway through around the 25 second mark when, for reasons I can only imagine, Velazco chooses to perform a fill that I can only associate with a 16-year-old on the drum kit at Guitar Center who wants to be a metalcore drummer but still sucks at double bass techniques, so he slows it down just enough for the fill to lose its energy and become entirely boring.

This might seem like quite an unnecessary amount of complaining over just 50 seconds of a 64 minute album, but its the first of countless underwhelming compositional choices throughout the album that all add up to result in a general feeling of mediocrity. It feels like Pendragon felt the need to make their music "more accessible" to the Millennial population (or whatever) despite simultaneously being both: A. already a fairly melodic and "pop-oriented" (70s pop, not 00s pop) neo-prog band, and B. old enough that it's painfully obvious that they are out of touch enough with the world today that their attempts to be "relatable" (I think? It's honestly hard to tell) end up being more painful than if they had just stuck to their guns.

This is a bit of a harsh criticism when looking at the instrumental side of the music alone, but beyond the band's lackluster composition choices, the lyrics are the real thing that absolutely kill this album's chance of being worth listening to. Much like Orion 2.0 on 2019's "Virtual Human", Pendragon seems to have the impression that everyone below the age of 40 is a technology-obsessed idiot who knows quite literally nothing about anything that happened before the year 2000. Take the following set of lyrics from the opening track "Everything": "You're just a Mona Lisa staring at a screen / Knows nothing of the Nephilim and all that goes unseen / Another would be Socrates just melting in the crowd / Doesn't know who Lennon was, the legend of The Shroud". First of all, I had no idea that Nick Barrett was so devoutly Jewish that he thinks everyone needs to know about the Nephilim from the Hebrew Bible, although given that he also wants everyone to know about the legend of the Shroud, I have to pity the man for his obvious spiritual crisis between Judaism and Christianity. Secondly, just like Orion 2.0, Pendragon just kind of throws the line "staring at a screen" in there as if they don't have an official website, a Twitter account, an online store, a Bandcamp page, as well as Nick Barrett's own personal BLOG (which, admittedly, he only seems to update once every 3-5 years). They also sell their tour tickets online, which is pretty obvious given that that's the #1 way to promote yourself nowadays, but it still makes them sound like hypocritical idiots to pretty much anyone with a brain who thinks about it for more than five seconds. Also, how old and cynical do you have to be to think that people nowadays don't know who John Lennon is? It's like no one in the band has taken a step outside of their house in the past 20 years. Or, what is much more likely, the band couldn't be bothered to put a single shred of creativity into their lyrics, so they slapped a bunch of lousy, half-hearted, meaningless nonsense together and called it a song. This theory is further supported by the lyrics in the song "Water": "When the wolf is at my door / She wraps her waves around you / And makes you feel loved once more / 'Cause water is the truth // I can't turn my back on this / 'Cause back on dry land is where all the trouble is / Lost in stories by Hemingway / Feel the salty ocean spray". If you take out about half of these lines, you might be able to make some lick of sense out of what's left, but it's just so obviously gibberish soup that might sound deep on the most extremely superficial level possible, but in reality doesn't mean a goddamn thing. I would pay actual money to anyone who can look me in the eyes and tell me on a completely serious and genuine level what on earth those lyrics are supposed to mean.

I think above all else, the fact that I got genuinely more angry about this album throughout the hour that I spent writing this review solidifies my belief that this is a 2-star album that has decent musicianship, but beyond meeting that absolute bare minimum criterion, isn't worth anyone's time.

 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.10 | 372 ratings

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Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by mental_hygiene

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 much from them, as I've had to buy their albums from bandcamp. Which, by the way, you should absolutely consider buying their earlier works that are some of the defining 90s neo-prog albums. It took me a while to get to this, but I'm just so saddened to say that this is just not a good album.

I really don't like giving overly negative reviews unless there's something very fundamentally wrong. But that's how I feel about this album. The musicianship is good, Pendragon are experienced and have aged very well in terms of their general arrangements and sound, especially coming from a band that uses a lot of cheesy synth sounds. There are many points on this album that are actually really good. There are points that sound truly vulnerable and emotional, especially the second track.

That said, my first problem is composition wise. Like I said before, there are awesome riffs, but they get completely decimated by repeat after repeat with added arrangements that don't seem to build anywhere. Sometimes there are good instrumental moments, but it's otherwise scatterbrained or overly simplistic in a way that doesn't sit right. This is a fundamental flaw, but it's not really what I would pick at this album for. Neo-Prog is a pop inspired genre, and I can't get mad at them for doing just that (even when I think they don't do what they're going for that well).

Second, the production. It's atrocious. It's compressed to oblivion at times (not a unique problem, but again, these flaws, I would argue, all stack high). There's this cheap sounding reverb that doesn't decorate the soundstage as much as it throws glitter on a cake, rendering it inedible. This album sounds pretty bad at times. The synth choices are highly questionable, but that didn't get in the way of how I like the masquerade overture. To my ears, it feels like an unconscious flaw rather than a conscious aesthetic decision.

Third, and most importantly, the lyrics on every song are bordering on meaningless. I tried hard for the first half of the album to stop being cynical and have fun. There are fun moments, like that "all aboard" part early on, that's the kind of zany character that I love to hear in neo-prog. The lyrics to this album are competent but way too heavy handed at best, and complete idiom soup at worst. I mean, read the lyrics of Water. Sometimes Neo-prog lyrics can be heartwarming in their naivete when it's executed properly (I mean, that's literally Misplaced Childhood!). Wolf at the door, yadda yadda yadda. It means absolutely nothing, and it's executed vocally like it should mean something.

This album feels extremely superficial to me, like it's the kind of music that is the reason why I've been radicalized to listen to prog. I know there may have been some harsh sentences in here, but I wouldn't say them if I didn't at least think they held up (especially on an album with an extremely high standing). First, this is not excellent, I think Love Over Fear fails to add up to excellence in any sense. Here's the tricky part, I think this is a competent album. On an objective level, based on my own experience as a prog listener and a musician, I could never take that away from Pendragon. At the same time, if you asked me a yes or no question: "is this a good album", I would say ehh. I wouldn't want to give this to someone who's asking for a good modern prog album. I feel like fans of Pendragon are really the only crowd who could get something from this.

In summary, the unfocused composition style, bloated production, and incoherent lyrics drag Love Over Fear down to two stars.

 The Window Of Life by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.95 | 537 ratings

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The Window Of Life
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After developing their true sound and personality in "The World", "The Window of Life" definitely consolidated Pendragon as one of the most prominent Neo-Prog bands of the 90's.

The Walls of Babylon starts with a Pink Floydesque guitar solo, but soon the splendid Clive Nolan's keyboards and trademark's epic Barrett's melodies come to life to give use the usual goosebumps. The rest of the album manages to maintain a great level of quality.

Barrett's vocals are a take it or leave it thing and Am I really losing you? is clearly under the rest of the tracks in terms of quality, but apart from that "The Window of Life" is an almost flawless album which deserves to be remembered as one of the milestones of 90's Neo-Prog.

Best Tracks: The Walls of Babylon (a band's classic), Ghosts (marvellous melodies which begins in minute 2, they only make this album worthy to be heard),

My rating: ****

 The First 40 Years by PENDRAGON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2019
4.15 | 8 ratings

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The First 40 Years
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars There are some reviews which are more pointless than others, and here we have a case in point. To put it bluntly, if you are already a Pendragon fan then you will have either purchased this album already or have it on your "wants" list, and if you are not a diehard fan you will not be investing in a 5-CD set which comes in a hardback 32-page book. I had noted the release and was contemplating when to get it when Covid 19 hit, causing the band to cut short their European tour. Knowing just how hard the guys worked to get that together, along with the associated costs, I knew this was a major financial setback for a band who have always been a cottage industry, so I told my family exactly what I wanted for my birthday.

The book is packed full of photos from throughout the band's career, and I had to smile when I recognised the Astoria stating Pendragon, Galahad and Mentaur, as I was there that night nearly 30 years ago. There are notes from the current line-up, plus lyrics to 'The World' and 'Men Who Climb Mountains" which have had new drums recorded by Jan-Vincent Velazco as well as additional instrumentation by the other guys as well as being remixed. I must confess I find it is a little strange that they decided to choose those two albums, as 'The World' (which I love dearly) was their third release from 1991, while 'Men Who Climb Mountains' was their most recent studio album at this time, coming out in 2014.

The first three CDs are taken from the 40th Anniversary Tour, recorded at The Venue on November 9th, 2018 (the band point out this is the first official live recording from London since 1986's '9:15 Live'). The quartet of Nick Barrett (guitar, vocals), Clive Nolan (keyboards, backing vocals), Peter Gee (bass guitar, bass pedals, backing vocals, keyboards) and Jan-Vincent Velazco (drums) are joined by backing singers Zoe Devenish and Verity White, while saxophonist Julian Baker guests on a few numbers and original drummer Nigel Harris came back for a few songs. Of course, the real problem when pulling together a setlist for a tour like this is that you simply cannot please everybody, and I for one am disappointed not to see "The Black Knight" or "Leviathan", while I have also always had a soft spot for "Red Shoes", but they would have had to have played for four or five hours every night to be able to do it all. Velazco may have only been with the band for 3 years on this tour, but Nick and Peter had been there for the whole 40 while "new boy" Clive had been involved since 1986 and had actually known Nick from a very young age when they first met at school. Together they have played for countless hours in studios and on stages throughout the world, and it shows. There is an easy relaxing into the material, knowing they are among friends, with their earliest numbers such as "Fly High, Fall Far" and "Excalibur" sounding fresh and exciting, even though they were originally released as long ago as 1984.

One of the things one notices when looking through the photos, which will be familiar to anyone who has seen the guys play, is that there are a great many smiles among the band as even after all this time together they are still having fun and genuinely enjoy being together. There is a photo of Nick and Clive together where they are both genuinely laughing about something while Nick is playing, neither of them actually looking at each other or the camera, just enjoying each other's company, which just has to be in front of a crowd full of fans. I particularly like the older photos, from the Eighties, and just love leafing through the book while the music is playing. It is a wonderful set, and I am certainly pleased to own what I believe is the most Southern copy in the world (latitude 172.1985° E ? anyone else got a copy closer to the Antarctic?). A classic set of incredible songs played by musicians who really are at ease with each other and the material, along with new versions of two of their albums, what is there here not to love?

If you are one of the many people who have only come to Pendragon since the release of the excellent 'Love Over Fear' then this is a fantastic addition to the collection. No Pendragon fan can really do without this glorious set.

 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.10 | 372 ratings

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Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars Okay, the last PENDRAGON came out, so it can only be a 5 star assured, seeing as he's a dinosaur now in the closed world of art music. Well, I'm still a fan of Nick and Clive and I pay tribute to them for continuing to release great things in the 90's when everything would die. It is a little thanks to them that we continue I think to vibrate with each exit; so why would the reader languish in this way? The observation is simple: we are always dealing with beautiful melodies, well-placed atmospheric atmospheres, also beautiful solos with this characteristic guitar among a thousand; we have the synths on a rhythmic basis, but from now on, at least on this last opus, it lacks the creative energy, the sound emotion that made you leave this world! So no it's not a bad album, but an album lacking inspiration in my opinion, an album that any fan will drink without thinking too much, an album that no longer has the illumination of a '' The window of life "or the pep of a" Pure ", this album will not delight those who seek the little extra, the spark that makes us live. It took me a long time to think about this note, but objective I am, objective I will stay.
 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.10 | 372 ratings

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Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.10 | 372 ratings

BUY
Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by FatherChristmas

5 stars I've just bought this album yesterday, and it surprised me - in a good way. Before hearing I thought Pendragon had had their day since the album "the Masquerade Overture". Luckily, I was wrong. But I'll get one with the review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So... five stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky; Atkingani for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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