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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.

Pendragon official website

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Buy PENDRAGON Music


Out of Order Comes ChaosOut of Order Comes Chaos
Metal Mind 2013
Audio CD$10.21
$10.21 (used)
Men Who Climb MountainsMen Who Climb Mountains
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$35.99
Pendragon: Past and PresencePendragon: Past and Presence
Multiple Formats
Mvd Visual 2007
DVD$10.58
$10.55 (used)
IntroducingIntroducing
Recall Records UK 2013
Audio CD$5.48
$9.61 (used)
Not of This WorldNot of This World
Madfish Records UK 2012
Audio CD$6.46
$5.98 (used)
Masquerade OvertureMasquerade Overture
Madfish Records UK 2013
Audio CD$6.53
$8.99 (used)
PurePure
Snapper Music Group 2011
Audio CD$8.87
$14.23 (used)
PassionPassion
CD+DVD
Snapper Madfish 2011
Audio CD$6.33
$5.25 (used)
BelieveBelieve
Madfish Records UK 2011
Audio CD$6.83
$4.86 (used)
CONCERTO MAXIMO (LTD. EDITION)CONCERTO MAXIMO (LTD. EDITION)
METAL MIN2 2009
Audio CD$13.96
$17.23 (used)
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PENDRAGON fly high fall far VG/EX UK ARRMP001 | 14-0612-010 US $23.99 Buy It Now 2h 50m
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15h 35m
The Masquerade Overture [Bonus Track] [Remaster] Pendragon CD - Super Jewel Box US $8.99 Buy It Now 16h 16m
PENDRAGON-THE WORLD-JAPAN MINI LP SHM-CD BONUS TRACK Hi25 US $41.99 Buy It Now 18h 23m
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Pendragon - Masquerade Overture (Music CD) US $19.47 Buy It Now 2 days
Pendragon - Window of Life (Music CD) US $19.54 Buy It Now 2 days
Pendragon - Believe (Music CD) US $19.47 Buy It Now 2 days
Pendragon - Kowtow (Music CD) US $19.47 Buy It Now 2 days
Pendragon - World (Music CD) US $19.47 Buy It Now 2 days
Pendragon - World CD MADFISH (UK) US $14.71 Buy It Now 2 days
Pendragon - Kowtow (NEW CD) US $15.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Pendragon Believe cd US $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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PETER GEE (PENDRAGON) - EAST OF EDEN NEW 2011 SUPERB US $16.63 Buy It Now 5 days
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MICHAEL PENDRAGON - PENTAGRAMS Vol. 3 - RARE CASSETTE TAPE Pagan Witch 2003 US $8.99 [0 bids]
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PENDRAGON The Masquerade Overture Japan CD OBI '96 bonus tracks Marillion US $9.99 [0 bids]
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Kowtow by Pendragon (CD, Oct-2012, Snapper Music) US $7.51 Buy It Now 5 days
PENDRAGON - MASQUERADE OVERTURE NEW VINYL US $42.59 Buy It Now 6 days
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PENDRAGON - MASQUERADE OVERTURE NEW CD US $17.18 Buy It Now 7 days
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Pure [CD & DVD] by Pendragon (CD, May-2011, 2 Discs, Madfish) US $11.50 Buy It Now 8 days
PENDRAGON - LIVE in Lille France 1992 Fan Club CD Toff Records US $18.99 Buy It Now 8 days
EMMA SHAPPLIN: Carmine Meo (Vocalists Pendragon/Cour De Lion Cassette VG++/NM) US $5.00 Buy It Now 8 days
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More places to buy PENDRAGON music online Buy PENDRAGON & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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PENDRAGON shows & tickets


  • Pendragon at Riff's Bar, Swindon on 4 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon + Gary Chandler at Spirit of 66, Verviers on 10 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Boerderij, Zoetermeer on 11 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon on 12 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Bergkeller, Reichenbach on 13 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon + Gary Chandler at Blue Note, Poznan on 14 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Kuznia, Bydgoszcz on 15 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Kinoteatr Rialto, Katowice on 16 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Das Rind, Rüsselsheim on 17 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Pratteln on 18 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon + Gary Chandler at Le Moulin, Marseille on 21 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Carpa del Forum, Barcelona on 22 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon + Gary Chandler at Centre de Musiques Actuelles Ampli, Billère on 24 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Rock School Barbey, Bordeaux on 25 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Ninkasi, Lyon on 27 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon at Divan du Monde, Paris on 28 Oct 2014
  • Pendragon + Jadis at The Ferry, Glasgow on 6 Nov 2014
  • Pendragon on 7 Nov 2014
  • Pendragon at 229 The Venue, Venue 1, 229 Great Portland Street,, London on 8 Nov 2014

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)

3.27 | 220 ratings
The Jewel
1985
2.57 | 168 ratings
Kowtow
1988
3.74 | 305 ratings
The World
1991
3.89 | 345 ratings
The Window Of Life
1993
3.94 | 483 ratings
The Masquerade Overture
1996
3.87 | 362 ratings
Not Of This World
2001
3.54 | 316 ratings
Believe
2005
3.90 | 506 ratings
Pure
2008
3.72 | 429 ratings
Passion
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
Men Who Climb Mountains
2014

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

3.21 | 46 ratings
9:15 Live
1986
2.32 | 30 ratings
The Very Very Bootleg Live In Lille France 1992
1993
3.58 | 39 ratings
Utrecht ...The Final Frontier
1995
3.92 | 44 ratings
Live In Krakow 1996
1997
3.34 | 46 ratings
Acoustically Challenged
2002
3.90 | 23 ratings
Liveosity
2004
4.05 | 64 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.34 | 42 ratings
Out of Order Comes Chaos
2013

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

4.11 | 55 ratings
Live At Last ... And More
2002
3.93 | 57 ratings
And Now Everybody To The Stage
2006
3.93 | 59 ratings
Past And Presence
2007
4.42 | 81 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.44 | 40 ratings
Out Of Order Comes Chaos
2012

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

2.87 | 35 ratings
The Rest of Pendragon
1991
2.38 | 7 ratings
1984-96 Overture
1998
2.50 | 31 ratings
Once Upon A Time In England Volume 1
1999
2.42 | 27 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
4.29 | 7 ratings
The Round Table (1985-1998)
2001
4.40 | 5 ratings
Introducing Pendragon
2013

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

3.20 | 43 ratings
Fly High Fall Far
1984
1.63 | 20 ratings
Red Shoes
1987
2.25 | 16 ratings
Saved By You
1991
2.38 | 7 ratings
Nostradamus
1993
3.65 | 74 ratings
Fallen Dreams And Angels
1994
3.39 | 57 ratings
As Good As Gold
1996

PENDRAGON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Concerto Maximo by PENDRAGON album cover DVD/Video, 2009
4.42 | 81 ratings

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Concerto Maximo
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

5 stars Sometimes, there is nothing more richly rewarding than sharing your favorite music with your children. My son, Atlas, is six months old, but he and I have been watching this wonderful DVD for the last few months. Pendragon have taken my world by storm lately, and I had to have this DVD. Even though the guys are looking old, this 2.5 hour+ concert is incredibly detailed and the sound is wonderful. Atlas, being a baby, cries and fusses, but NEVER does any of that when this DVD is playing. He enjoys it thoroughly, and I can't get enough of it either.

The band plays marvelously. Nick sounds sublime, though his attempts at being a "rocker" (that usually only last a second or two) are kinda funny. His guitar work is simply out of this world. I can sit and watch his fingers play for hours and hours. It's mesmerizing, and he is easily one of the best there is. Amazing. Then, of course, you have his partner in crime, Clive Nolan, one of the very best keyboardists. His keys sound so rich, and do not get buried in the mix at all. He impresses me to no end. Peter Gee is outstanding on bass, and also love when he uses his keyboard to create an environment in which Nolan's solos can feel alive. Lastly, but certainly not least, is Scott Higham on drums. My friends, this guy is absolutely incredible. His leadership, power, and passion seem to know no bounds. I especially love watching him play the complex time signature changes, as you can see all the tricks he uses to keep in time. As a whole, then, the band is a machine that just chugs on and on, but the musicians are unbelievably talented on their own, and this shows very clearly in this DVD.

The track list of "Concerto Maximo" is pretty good. Some of my favorites are on here, such as "Walls of Babylon", "Learning Curve", "Breaking the Spell", "Sister Bluebird", and the entire suite of "Wishing Well" (amazing work!). This DVD, however, has an uncanny way of making me fall in love with other songs even more deeply than on the albums themselves. "The Shadow" might be my favorite track from Pendragon now because of the intricacy and passion with which it is performed here. "Masters of Illusion", too, has gotten this treatment. I believe that this DVD has elevated my love for the entire "Masquerade Overture" album in general.

I must comment on the camera work, Most DVD concerts don't have much in the way of special cinematography, let alone camera movement that syncs with the musical flow. "Concerto Maximo" does. I especially love the drummer cameras, and the camera that is on a track at the top of the venue. They always switch to the latter and produce some cool, twisting movements during a really cool keyboard solo, and it just feels so organic. It pulls you into the experience.

Pendragon are one of my top 5 favorite bands, and I'm so glad I can share this experience with my son. I see myself enjoying this DVD for many, many years, and I want to buy all of the rest of their DVDs, too. Someday, though, I hope to take my son to see them live. Here's to hoping...

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 Pure by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.90 | 506 ratings

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Pure
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Isa
Prog Reviewer

4 stars |B+| A diamond in the rough!

After having listened to this album since it came out back when I was a teenager in high school, I felt it was high time that I wrote the glowing review (for my context) that this justly deserves. I have had very little taste for neo-prog at all compared to the other prog styles, but I think of this album as one of its only bright-shining stars. Keep in mind that this review is coming from someone whose main experience with the band's work is the album about which I'm writing, though I have heard songs from their earlier and later material and was less impressed. What's more, this is an album which seems to be standing the test of time since it came out.

First off, this is actually, if I'm digesting the lyrics right, essentially a concept album about the loss of childhood purity (purity regarding innocence) as a person matures into adolescence, and the consequences that this can have. This an album with real depth in the relationship between these ideas conveyed by the lyrics and the way that they are expressed in the music, which is my main reason for such praise for this work of art.

Indigo is a clever and fluid song, with some heavier guitar riffs, great vocal melodies and lyrics, great contrast between sections themselves, very smooth and natural transitions between sections (which is difficult given the previous point), clever keyboard work and sound effects, gradual shifts of mood, and an interplay between the textures of the instruments that just hits the spot. Very little music can pull off having most of the instruments playing most of the song and simultaneously achieve such diverse and dynamic textures as can be found in this track, whilst never deviating from the general mood of the song overall. Wow! What's more, the melody and effects of the vocal track really dig into the ideas created by the lyrics, which as a classical singer is always a huge plus for me. My only complaint is that there are parts where the musicians' timing with each other's parts isn't always quite right on, and this is true for other parts of the album, but this is something that is probably only noticed by more advanced ears. The composition is brilliant though, in my opinion.

Eraserhead is a pretty effective use of the division of seven, as far as the composition is concerned, though it's speedy enough that the musicians seem a little on the edge of being off sometimes (unless the composition is tricking me into thinking that... hm). A very lively introduction, with singing that is mostly in tune most of the time, and great effects on the guitar. I like the more calm section that it transitions to, some nice guitar work. The strange voice is indeed strange, but works well for the context of the song somehow. Good work on the cymbals from the drummer for sure. The vocal harmonies on this track are well placed and sung, and put emphasis on the lyrics where it is due, which I appreciate! The lyrics have the theme of teenage rebellion mentality, playing into the theme of the album. The keyboard sections is very creative and great, and leads in splendidly to a solo trade off with the guitar. I love the modulation about 8:10 or so in. Great song with a nice ending.

Comatose, all three parts, represent in my mind some of the best, most classy, and most creative work from progressive rock from the past century so far. This is where the theme of the album really comes into play: the lost of childhood purity. "Where is the boy who used to write his name in the sand? Where is the boy who used to smile and wave to all the passing strangers?" This is followed by a beautiful, sad sounding violin, expressing this sentiment, which creatively transitions to the more active section of the song, with the lyrics "become the dark skies" leading into a dark heavy metal section, expressing, perhaps, this transition into a more chaotic and emotionally turbulent stage of childhood development? Then this heavy section turns into a more positive and energetic, almost AOR sounding section. I love the growing energy toward the end of the first movement, what a fantastic guitar riff! And what a dramatic transition to the soft section with a string section, ended with fast string playing. So creative, and that's just the first movement! Movement II: Space Cadet does indeed conjure the image of an astronaut flying into space in my mind, with the keyboard bends and what not. I love the variations on the vocal sections, every time they repeat the main vocal line, the instruments are doing something slightly different (yes, this is a neo-prog album, believe it or not...). Interesting how a drone is used toward the end of the song underlying the other parts. How creative, ending the movement a Capella, I would've never thought of that, and it puts due emphasis on the lyrical content. III. Home and Dry starts off with a very unique song texture that I don't think I've heard in my many years listening to even progressive rock, with the keyboard and sound effects over the acoustic guitar. The chorus is beautiful, with effective, almost perfectly placed echo and reverberation effects on the vocal parts. So many great things so say about this three-part epic overall, especially the masterful use of sound effects. My only complaint is sometimes the theatricality of the vocalist isn't all that convincing, but he's making a good effort to put personality into the lyrics that he's saying, which is only commendable and isn't done nearly enough in rock music. To me, this is some real masterpiece material coming out of neo- prog, which is a huge compliment coming from me.

I find the last two songs, Freak Show and It's Only Me, to be sort of the tapering-off-the- album material after the band has already shown us their most masterful stuff that they've made for the album. I do like the use of material from Indigo on Freak Show, though the chorus is a bit drawn out and lackluster with the vocal melody, and the ending is kind of (okay, very) abrupt. It's Only Me is a better track, and starts off with a harmonica that plays oddly similar style and even some of the exact same notes as the harmonica on first song on Supertramp's Crime of the Century (perhaps another reference to the theme of the album, as that song that's perhaps referenced is about children becoming disillusioned growing up in School. Hm...) I like their use of the opera voice and strings in the background, and the chorus is really very nicely voiced with the vocal harmonies and the harmonic progression, which modulates the key very subtly and beautifully. The band does some cool stuff with the song ending this rock-solid album.

I consider this album essential for anyone interested in Neo-prog, because I regard this album, quite frankly, is some of the most masterful material by not only the band but the entire style in general. I'd almost call it essential just because it towers over almost all other neo-prog out there, even the other albums of the same band, but I do not think of it as a masterpiece of prog music, though much of what can be heard on this album definitely is.

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 Pure by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.90 | 506 ratings

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Pure
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars I've been pondering this album for a couple months now, and I honestly don't fully know how i feel yet. This is Pendragon, but it isn't. This album doesn't contain the soaring guitar work (mostly), the keyboard nirvana, or even the delightfully profound themes. However, that does not mean that this album isn't good. In fact, it's excellent.

It seems to me that Clive Nolan decided to take a bit of a back seat on this album. Nick's guitars are front and center, as they feature a much heavier sound than Pendragon's previous albums. Indeed, it seems that they tried to inject a little metal into their sound, as the drumming is a little faster and a little more technical, too. I have no problem with this, even though I feel Pendragon didn't need this. All of this, however, doesn't mean the Nolan is absent. There are still some amazing keyboard atmospheres, such as on "Comatose" and "Indigo". Though, the guitar work is way more prevalent, if a bit sloppy when it comes to the metal portions.

Pendragon is no metal band. They get slightly heavy here, but they can never hide their roots when Nick busts out one of his old school soaring solos (that are sorely missing from most of this album). When you hear it, the Pendragon of old comes washing back over your mind. Ah. This album, though, is still a keeper. It features some amazing tracks like "Indigo", the multi- track song "Comatose", and my favorite "Eraserhead". This album has a funkier, darker groove to it, and features some strange violin interludes and plenty of subtle arrangements. So, it contains vital elements of Pendragon, but the guys are certainly trying new things here. I admire that.

The dark tone of the music is accompanied by a much dark theme. "Pure" involves a trip through the mind of a disturbed teen, perhaps the type that would go on a shooting spree at school. It's scary really, as we hear the apathy and the hopelessness of the teen's thinking.

All in all, this is an excellent album that represents a new direction for Pendragon. Gone are the light and airy instrumental fireworks, and in steps a grittier, dark feel for subtlety. It still hits on the right notes, but perhaps not as effectively as some of their older work.

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 Not Of This World  by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.87 | 362 ratings

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Not Of This World
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by sukmytoe

5 stars Oh Wow!. That was my reaction and remains my reaction to this album every time I spool it up and listen to it. What surprises me here on PA is that the ratings for the Pendragon albums are as low as they are - 3.85 isn't low by any means however I would have expected to see average ratings in excess of 4 for many of the band's albums. For sheer musical beauty there is very little that equals these musicians in full flight. The lovers of two of the very favourite bands here being Genesis (up to Duke) and Marillion (Fish era) should be over the moon with Pendragon as this group of musicians encompass the feelings and musical emotions of those two iconic bands brilliantly. The melodies soar and the musicianship is top drawer. Nick Barrett's voice takes some getting used to at first but it by no means spoils the music and you do get used to it pretty quickly to the extent that you wouldn't want to hear anyone else on vocals with the band.

This album soars with melodic brilliance and with emotion and all of the instruments go towards making up the sound - the highlights being Barrett's lead guitar and Nolan's keyboards which are backed by the brilliant drumming of Fudge Smith and the more than adequate bass of Peter Gee. I can't single out a single track which is out of place or doesn't belong - they are all huge. To discuss this album on a track by track basis would be futile and it is enough to say that the album is a full on adventure in melody - and how it is!

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 Concerto Maximo by PENDRAGON album cover DVD/Video, 2009
4.42 | 81 ratings

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Concerto Maximo
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

5 stars One of the finest prog live concert releases of all time, this is not only an absolute must for fans of Pendragon from the start, such as I, but would, I think, appeal to those reading this who are curious about the music and personality of a band with a 30 year history, but have never "taken the plunge", because what you have here, in a performance lasting in excess of 2.5 hours, is quite simply a history of the band's output from start to the then new album, Pure.

Therefore, you have the full range, from what we call neo-prog in the beginning, to the wonderfully bombastic symphonic period, right through to the heavier material of latter years, and what is remarkable is just how effortless and enjoyable each period represented is live.

Of course, the main man is Nick Barrett, with his unique voice and quite incredible guitar work, he plays and sings as if he was still a young man. However, star of the show, to me, is new drummer Scott Higham, who quite literally pummels his drum set to near death, has a marvellous rapport with the audience, and is also clearly as mad as a March hare. It would also be remiss to not mention the wonderful keyboards of longstanding ally Clive Nolan and bassist Peter Gee.

The set was filmed in Poland, where many prog bands enjoy a successful and faithful following. The sound is exceptional, the filming lush, and the audience are intelligent and respectful throughout.

I will not mention highlights, simply because this DVD is a treat from start to finish. It never seems too long, and, in fact, you still want more when it does end.

Very highly recommended to all lovers of progressive rock, this deserves nothing less than five stars.

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 Not Of This World  by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.87 | 362 ratings

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Not Of This World
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars I will briefly review this actually valuable album. Not a masterpiece, it's melodic neo-prog, oriented by the slow guitar solos emanating feeling. The reason to buy a Pendragon album is that you will not have only entertainment music. The art of the album is not only made of songs, but paintings. This cover art is one of my favorites. The songs are very trippy, based on the atmospherical keys. Well, I can't listen to this same album twice a week, as any neo-prog and melodic/power metal album. It's a concept album, in terms of sound: the whole album seems to be an only track, but not boring, it's progressive.

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 The Masquerade Overture by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.94 | 483 ratings

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The Masquerade Overture
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Alard Charlton

4 stars Pendragon are one of those bands who should have been bigger than they were. Always displaying excellent musicianship and songwriting. Many people seem to have an issue with the west country matnill voice of Syd Barrett, but i find him refreshing as he is not trying to ape Gabriel or other vocalists of the original Prog movement, and is just being himself. The whole thing starts off in operatic fashion which has a touch of Kraftwerk about it, before we launch into the gorgeous "As Good As Gold" which has a lovely pople-ish feel to it. "Paintbox" has a very distinct Gary Cable feel to it and has a lovely Camel like sound to it too. Here Syd Barrett displays some gorgeous lead guitar and vocals and makes me feel happy - And i like feeling happy. "The Pursuit Of Excellence" is a quite Irish Dave sounding song, and is a track that would go well with a cosy meeting with Trevor Brooking. "Guardian Of My Soul" encompasses many changes in the first three minutes alone and is probably my favourite track on the album. Barrett and Keysman Colleen Nolan really come to the fore here with some great Bobby Charlton interplay, and even incorporates a touch of Darren Peacock as it rides it's way through 13 minutes of brilliance. "The Shadow" is the only track which sounds a wee bit weak to me, displaying as it does a tendency to sound like the famous control freak and unfeasible bighead Fagend Cockroach. The lyrics about claws and vampires are a bit of a rip off of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The closer "Master Of Illusion" is a great way to end the album with some fine kissacky sounds and again some great interplay between Syd Barrett and Clive Nylon, ending with a great Gary Gilmore inspired solo by mainman Syd Barrett.

The bonus disc has single edits of "As Good As Gold" and "Masters Of Illusion" plus two great songs in the form of the Floyd like "Schizo" which has the whole band bringing to mind a guy named Justin being depressed because he is in a lousy relationship with a girl nicknamed Mitch. The song itself appears to be about climbing hills and popping pills. "The King Of The Castle" is simply beautiful in that glorious faithful fig tradition and even has a glorious "Entangled" like ending with Kevin Nolan recreating that wobbly Tony Banks piano sound. If you like good prog with a slight fenerbache football club feel to it, do yourself a favour and buy this great album.

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 The Window Of Life by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.89 | 345 ratings

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The Window Of Life
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by sukmytoe

5 stars I loved their previous studio album (The World). Pendragon very quickly rose to the position of one of my all time favourite bands because of the quality of their later releases and because of the melody - this stuff is musical melody heaven.

"The Walls of Babylon" - Starts off very similarly to Pink Floyd's "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" but changes pace just before the halfway mark when the vocals come in where I'm taken into Fish era Marillion sound. This is nice indeed. The mournful lead guitar is the stand-out on this track as are the vocal melodies.

"Ghosts" - Gentle piano driven to begin. Still very much in Fish era Marillion turf however that for me is not a bad thing at all. The melody sparkles.

"Breaking the Spell" - Very nice keyboard intro from Nolan. The lyrics and vocals are emotionally dramatic. Nick Barrett is a lead guitar magician - not for technicality but for feeling and touch. Fudge Smith on drums shines throughout.

"The Last Man on Earth" - A giant of a track. Pendragon's "Supper's Ready" or "Grendel". Very melancholy in places. At the halfway mark the music livens up nicely taking the mood away from the sad, retrospective place that it was in. Harmonica and Banjo sound is brilliant and compliments the music wonderfully. To my mind Hogarth era Marillion should have paid attention to this band and what they were doing at the time.

"Nostradamus (Stargazing)" - Mournful lead guitar to start accompanied by Nolan's keyboard wash. I have found that where at first I battled to listen to Nick Barrett I have grown to very much enjoy his voice. The music segues into an upbeat almost joyous direction.

"Am I really losing You?" - Shortest track on the album but it is emotionally powerful.

Another very good release from the band. If you love melody and emotion in music this is for you. If you love Fish era Marillion this is for you. If you're into clashy, discordant, eclectic or heavy sound then this isn't for you. An emotional roller-coaster packed with neo prog musical goodness. For me another 5 star release for this band - easily.

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 The Masquerade Overture by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.94 | 483 ratings

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The Masquerade Overture
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars "The Masquerade Overture" is my fourth foray into the world of Pendragon. Thus far, I've heard "The Window of Life" (5 stars), "Not of This World" (5 stars), and "Believe" (a strong 4 stars). So, I've been extremely impressed, to say the least. Pendragon is certainly a band that hasn't gotten as much recognition as I'm beginning to believe they deserve.

Anyways, back to the album. "The Masquerade Overture" is another strong album from this band. The sound is similar to that of their other 90s albums, so the overall style is sweeping, soaring melodies with great choruses, deep themes, and glorious artwork. This album in particular is often considered their best work, and I can see why that is.

However, I don't find myself enjoying this album as much as their other work. There are certainly some 5 star songs on here, such as "As Good as Gold" and the incredible duo of "Paintbox" and "The Shadow". Yet, some of the other tracks stoop a little lower, as I find it hard to discover much inspiration in them. They're just there: filler. "Guardian of My Soul" and "Masters of Illusion" just don't do it for me. So, the album ends on a lower note. That always has an effect on my view of the album as a whole.

I also find the concept to be a little more ambiguous and less memorable. This would be forgivable for other bands, but Pendragon has bulldozed my brain with profound concepts that I actually think about for some time, even when not listening to the album. Not said, the theme is pretty good notwithstanding, as it seems to be a celebration of those people that push and push for change and excellence in living, but also a warning about those that are only out for their own good. The sheer ambition and grace that the former possess is what this album emphasizes, but then it always reminds you of that king in his castle and his sacred cow--- those that rule others out of pure greed.

Overall, though, this is another strong showing for Pendragon. This band is becoming one of my favorites, and albums such as "The Masquerade Overture" are a fine showing of why that is.

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 The World by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.74 | 305 ratings

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The World
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by sukmytoe

5 stars An album that I really enjoy followed by an album that I don't like much at all - what was on the table for this third release 3 years after the last? By the time this was released Marillion had lost Fish (Oh Woe of Woes) although their "Season's End" album was brilliant the forthcoming works from them left a lot to be desired as far as I'm concerned although for the most part I do still like them. IQ were coming out of a weak period after the releases of their two weakest studio albums. Pallas had released no further albums - "Beat the Drum" was still a long way off. Arena was still on the way. Magnum had released their best album "Wings of Heaven" and followed it up with "Goodnight L.A." helping to give me my melody fix.

This album was a breath of fresh air and it fed my love for this kind of music.

"Back in the Spotlight" - Starts off upbeat with keyboard swirls punctuated by lead guitar until it leads into a very Fish era Marillion sound.

"The Voyager" - Steel guitar sound accompanied by water flowing leads into keyboards gently. The vocals come in and things are peaceful with drama of the building sound. At the 8.38 mark the track crescendo's with beautiful lead work. This track is an adventure in melody.

"Shane" - Very Floydish sounding track. A short emotion filled work.

"Prayer" - Nice short melodic track.

"Queen of Hearts" - Monster track divided into three parts. Again a full on adventure in melody. The second part of the epic (A Man could die out Here..) is a stunning trip with some very accomplished musicians. The third part rounds the epic off well.

"And we'll go hunting Deer" - Nice end to a nice (very nice) album. The sun setting on a profound musical melody filled journey.

This is an album that to my ears is worth no less than 5 stars. It alone was the standard bearer when it was released for the "neo-prog" genre. Full of melody that at times reaches achingly beautiful heights. Clive Nolan shows here how valuable a contribution he makes to the band. If you don't enjoy Fish era Marillion, Gabriel era Genesis, melody filled work, dramatic music - then stay well away - If you do and you haven't heard this then hear it, as soon as you possibly can. At first Nick Barrett's voice may be a little off putting but it does grow on you.

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