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PENDRAGON

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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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


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

3.36 | 366 ratings
The Jewel
1985
2.67 | 279 ratings
Kowtow
1988
3.86 | 508 ratings
The World
1991
3.95 | 568 ratings
The Window Of Life
1993
4.07 | 775 ratings
The Masquerade Overture
1996
3.92 | 590 ratings
Not of This World
2001
3.60 | 472 ratings
Believe
2005
3.90 | 719 ratings
Pure
2008
3.73 | 608 ratings
Passion
2011
3.63 | 314 ratings
Men Who Climb Mountains
2014
4.08 | 408 ratings
Love Over Fear
2020

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

3.25 | 70 ratings
9:15 Live
1986
2.37 | 44 ratings
The Very Very Bootleg Live in Lille France 1992
1993
3.61 | 56 ratings
Utrecht ...The Final Frontier
1995
3.87 | 68 ratings
Live In Krakow 1996
1997
3.35 | 71 ratings
Acoustically Challenged
2002
4.06 | 23 ratings
Liveosity
2004
4.03 | 100 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.21 | 75 ratings
Out of Order Comes Chaos
2013
4.53 | 32 ratings
Masquerade 20
2017

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

4.19 | 68 ratings
Live At Last ... And More
2002
3.99 | 74 ratings
And Now Everybody To The Stage
2006
3.92 | 71 ratings
Past And Presence
2007
4.46 | 109 ratings
Concerto Maximo
2009
4.57 | 56 ratings
Out Of Order Comes Chaos
2012
4.22 | 26 ratings
Masquerade 20
2017

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

2.94 | 62 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
3.46 | 32 ratings
The History 1984-2000
2000
4.08 | 6 ratings
A História
2001
4.10 | 12 ratings
The Round Table
2001
3.24 | 13 ratings
Introducing Pendragon
2013
4.17 | 10 ratings
The First 40 Years
2019
4.05 | 17 ratings
Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends
2022

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

3.25 | 66 ratings
Fly High Fall Far
1984
2.11 | 35 ratings
Red Shoes
1987
2.52 | 27 ratings
Saved By You
1991
2.74 | 19 ratings
Nostradamus
1993
3.71 | 115 ratings
Fallen Dreams And Angels
1994
3.51 | 86 ratings
As Good As Gold
1996
4.09 | 35 ratings
North Star
2023

PENDRAGON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.08 | 408 ratings

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Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 796

Pendragon was formed in 1976, in the small town of Stroud, Gloucestshire, England, by the young enthusiast Nick Barrett and some schoolmates. Initially the band's name was Zeus Pendragon, which would be shortened two years later. The band struggled hard to stand out among hundreds of other bands that formed almost daily in the British Isles. A big force came when the group was invited by another big name, Marillion. The two bands got along so well that Marillion invited Pendragon to open their shows at the London's prestigious Marquee Club. With Marillion's concerts attracting a large number of many new fans, the group began to establish their own identity and audience. Due to that, Pendragon became as one of the biggest names in the neo-prog sub- genre and made a very impressive musical career.

"Love Over Fear" is the eleventh studio album of Pendragon and was released in 2020. The pattern of the last two few Pendragon's albums have been an alternation between an experimental album followed by an album where all the new elements crystallise, and the band reaches a new plateau. But, with this new album, Pendragon breaks the pattern, and is instead a dramatic shift in mood, leaving behind the raw anger of "Pure" and the resigned darkness of "Men Who Climb Mountains". So, this is a true unexpected treat to hear the familiar Pendragon's elements in an uplifting context.

The line up on the album is Nick Barrett (vocals, guitars, Roland V-Piano, Nord Stage 3 piano, mandolin and keyboard programming), Clive Nolan (keyboards), Peter Gee (bass guitar) and Jan-Vincent Velazco (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of Zoe Devenish (backing vocals and violin) and Julian Baker (saxophone).

"Love Over Fear" has two editions, the standard edition and the limited edition. The standard edition with one CD or two LP's has ten tracks plus two bonus tracks. The limited edition, besides the CD's of the standard edition, has two more CD's, an acoustic CD and an instrumental CD, with the same tracks. My review will be about the standard edition.

So, as I mentioned before, the standard version of "Love Over Fear" has ten tracks. The album opens with the power of "Everything", an in your face a blast of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums. It starts off with a fast beat and a heavily influenced 70's organ, but soon the song moves into its own more familiar territory. "Starfish And The Moon" is a nice captivating song where the focus is on Barrett's vocal performance. This is well combined with the piano and the guitar melodies, in addition to a string support. Everything makes of this a work of extreme smoothness and beauty. "Truth And Lies" is a classic, an intelligently constructed and powerful symphonic track with a compelling guitar solo by Nick. The rhythm section of Gee and Velazco provides the foundations and the Nolan's elegant keyboards the added layers of class. "360 Degrees" is a nice bright and breezy track that sees Pendragon goes with the folk. It's a track full of joy and bonhomie, a pleasant surprise extremely fun and with very high spirits. "Soul And The Sea" has a great atmosphere showcasing the band's talents where the strings and Nolan's keyboards combine effortlessly before the track breaks open with an uplifting guitar riff and a dynamic rhythm section to deliver grandeur and splendour. "Eternal Light" is a great track where once again the band have created a wonderful journey composed of epic components that combine together to deliver something quite wondrous. The inspiring chorus is divine and transcendent living up to the name. "Water" is an insouciant and a laid back track that gradually is building up as a piece with a slightly darker atmosphere, as shown so far. It has its main attraction and another excellent guitar solo. "Whirlwind" is a wistful, contemplative and nostalgic track. It's another piece dedicated to the piano and certainly another surprise for the listener. It has some chords with great influence of jazz, especially due to an excellent saxophone work. "Who Really Are We?" has a little bit of everything the band does. It's the only moment on the album that we can say is a nod to their most recent heavy albums. A song that epitomises what a truly dynamic progressive rock track should be all about. "Afraid Of Everything" closes the album in a thoughtful and slightly melancholic mood with an achingly beautiful anthemic repeated theme. It finishes with a delightful, thought provoking instrumental section. This is an extremely beautiful and emotional ending.

Conclusion: "Love Over Fear" is great Pendragon's work. Not only are there no fillers among the ten tracks, but each song succeeds confidently and supports the flow of the whole. The diversity in songwriting keeps the listening experience fresh. While we can see references of previous albums it's also full of new and pleasant surprises, being an album where it's difficult not to get carried away by the positive energy of both in its themes and its tones. Verses, choruses and instrumentals are all rich in melodies. The instrumentation is wonderful and diverse, in addition to having a varied and well-structured dynamic. This is, without any doubt, one of the highest points in the career of one of the biggest bands in the neo-prog scene. I find it hard not to please any fan of the band. This is an album not to be missed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Fly High Fall Far by PENDRAGON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.25 | 66 ratings

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Fly High Fall Far
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars 1.Fly High Fall Far for the Pendragon sound with Rik Carter on keyboards and Nick's already recognizable guitar; soft title with no interest other than saying oh yes I remember it, in short I don't see anything transcendent in it and keep this impression a few decades later 2 Victims Of Life with the typical intro all at once, orchestral, symphonic, rhythmic, tasty, prog like we didn't think we'd have anymore; well there had been the Twelfth Night of course but it was necessary to scratch a little, and the Marillion who with their hardcore fervor and this support from the fanzines... had put a layer back into the effervescent prog anthill; yes prog was reborn from its ashes; short, melodic, tasty, a long title with the perfect combination of Nick's voice, keyboard and guitar, nothing to waste!

3 Dark Summer's Day with a syrupy atmosphere, bass, keyboards which imprint the sound while the guitar arrives, flowing drops of water overflowing from a waterfall. Final guitar solo on bluesy rather than progressive notes, the origin ultimately 4 Excalibur with a Marillionian, muscular start, which imposes a fat sound... that of the 80s of neo prog; finished the 70s with the extended intros, here it's more nervous to help set the mood more quickly; yes the trauma of the punk wave had passed by; brief 2 minutes of grandiloquent intro and the military drums emerge, the synth gives a bucolic air while Nick's spleen guitar vibrates deeply, beauty on a melancholic base, the one that makes aching hearts capsize; a magnificent instrumental which already shows that the sound is well established with the solo which rises, orgasmic; yes there is often a link with enjoyment in listening to very beautiful music, and there we get right into it.

 Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends by PENDRAGON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2022
4.05 | 17 ratings

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Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a significantly revised version of the compilation originally released under the self-deprecating name of "The Rest of Pendragon". In that configuration, it brought together their debut release - the Fly High, Fall Far EP - with the subsequent EP/single releases of Red Shoes and Saved By You, providing a one-and-done summation of the band's non- album releases from the 1980s.

The Rest of Pendragon hasn't had an update since it originally came out in the early 1990s - when it was one of the first releases on Toff Records, the band's own label - and more recently, the Fly High, Fall Far tracks have found a new home as bonus material on the latest rerelease of The Jewel. Thus, rather than simply remaster and rerelease the compilation (selling the same four tracks to fans twice in rapid succession), the band have reconfigured the collection, removing the Fly High, Fall Far tracks but substantially expanding it by tacking on their two major EP releases of the 1990s, Fallen Dreams and Angels (clue's in the title!) and As Good as Gold.

None of this material qualifies as what I'd call top-tier Pendragon goodies, but they're all pretty pleasant, and taken together showcase a slightly poppier side of the band (especially in the 1980s material) than was captured on their studio albums. Keen fans will want this. Those not sold on their 1980s and 1990s album releases won't find this B-grade material convinces them.

 Believe by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.60 | 472 ratings

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Believe
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars After three albums of what many consider neo-prog paradise, PENDRAGON shocked their fans after the release of "Not Of This World" with the 2005 followup BELIEVE. Gone were the saturated layers of synthesizers that crafted unthinkably dense atmospheres and major key exercises in happy songs that delivered crisp melodic constructs that were taken through subtle variations that climaxed in rock fueled upbeat tempos. For whatever reason many of the better known neo-prog acts underwent a metamorphosis in the early 2000s with some flirting with full-fledged progressive metal and others just taking their signature sounds to ever increasing complexities.

While PENDRAGON would wait until the next album "Pure" to ratchet up the metal qualities, BELIEVE took a completely different turn from what the fanbase was used to. While Clive Nolan was taming his keyboard passions, lead vocalist and guitarist Nick Barrett was rockin' his acoustic skills. This album focuses primarily on the guitar unlike any previous PENDRAGON album where the synthesizers have always dominated and then some. Starting with a beautiful acoustic guitar title track that begins the album more like a folk album rather than neo-prog. The guitar oriented songs continue for awhile with only Nick Barrett's vocal style simulating the neo-prog singing style of previous works.

Yeah the album still starts out with some Floydian production tricks and maintains that space rock pace throughout much of the album but this time around the space part is often left behind for more serious rockin' out with more attention to varying aspects of the guitar rather than the typical Steve Hackett guitar sweeps or the David GIlmor twang-a-thon. The space rock and traditional neo-prog sounds though are fairly well integrated into this new approach which makes this quite recognizable as a PENDRAGON release despite the radical new shift in the band's direction and perspective as the lyrics have become more sombre, melancholic and downright conspiratorial.

The album in many ways almost sounds like a completely different band until the 21-minute suite "The Wishing Well" kicks in and then it offers some moments of business as usual albeit with subdued synthesizer sounds in the background and acoustic guitars never out of range. The electric guitar parts are more prominent and in addition to the dreamy sweeps of classical neo-prog, they also invoke the dirtier bluesy rock styles of classic rock. The album also took on a noticeably darker sound as the dreamy tapestries of yore had suddenly become a bit more gloomy. While this is still basically neo-prog at its core it's not exactly depressive black metal but for PENDRAGON a different style indeed.

The gist of the album is to usher in melodic hooks through the folky guitar strumming with Nick Barrett narrating his usual poetic prose however the songs tend to stick to the rock paradigm rather than get too wrapped up in the atmospheric dominance that excelled on "Not Of This World." The album is also noticeably shorter than previous offerings with a mere 51 1/2 minutes of playing time. It seems very succinct in comparison. PENDRAGON goes through its usual shtick of nurturing a melodic hook and then crafting myriad variations to keep the musical flow humming along in that regard they do quite a decent job even though this was new territory for them.

The album has a more intimate feel to it as it's not smothered in layers of keyboards and focuses on a more stripped down approach. Despite a change in direction the basic formula of starting slowly and ratcheting up the tension to a thundering crescendo and then a soft coming down moment is still intact. The production is damn near perfect as usual and Barrett's acoustic guitar tones are phenomenal. Overall the album sounds really great and i actually like the direction they took the new sound even if most fans don't. The album seemed to boost the band's confidence and far as rockin' out because next time around they would unleash their inner metalheads and merge the once metal-free neo-prog zone with the more feisty guitar heft of the metal universe. Perhaps not as perfect as what came before but to my ears an experiment that worked out quite well and one i love to play from time to time.

 Not of This World by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 590 ratings

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Not of This World
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

5 stars PENDRAGON had a slow start releasing some of the worst neo-prog albums the 80s had to offer but then almost like magic was propelled into the top ranks of the subgenre with 1991's "The World" in pretty much every way. Led by the indefatigable Clive Nolan who was juggling two top tier neo-prog bands in the 90s with Arena being his other baby, PENDRAGON delivered a trilogy of amazingly exquisite albums that started with "The World" and then was followed by "The Masquerade Overture." The third installment was NOT OF THIS WORLD which features one of my all time favorite fantasy album covers of any genre and delivered all the symphonic prog bombast you could possibly hope for in a space rock influenced neo-prog style.

This would be the last album the band would release before jumping into heavy borderline metal material but at this point NOT OF THIS WORLD was all about layers of sizzling synthesizers with oscillating arpeggios, dreamy atmospheres and droning sustain keeping the band high in the clouds for the 67 minute duration that includes three parts, two of which were multi-track suites. The opening "If I Were The Wind (and Your Were The Rain) opens with an outa this world synthesizer run that makes you think you've died and gone to synthesizer paradise with wind sounds and chimes slowly ratcheting up the tension much like classic Pink Floyd along with reverberating guitar riffs that slowly drift away from the Floydian connections and take you into the world of PENDRAGON.

Beautiful guitar sweeps dance in the breezy synthesizer party and the bass slowly grooves along. The intro is just magical and then one of my favorite singers in the world of neo-prog jumps in: Nick Barrett commences to sing a song written to his son and his fatherly advice in navigating the world at hand. The instrumentation is so lush and produced to the perfection made all the better by the divine backing vocals of Tina Riley simulating the female backing sounds of Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." True the band has no shame in wearing its influences on its sleeves and the album has rightfully been criticized for a lack of originality but NOT OF THIS WORLD delivers a magical journey into a synthesized soul soothing world of neo-prog like no other except of course the band's previous two releases that this one follows.

A fairly laid back and slower tempo album, this one is a true mellow out type of musical experience that takes you through a never-ending series of arpeggiated guitar parts, beautiful piano rolls, bass grooves and a million and one ways to create an orchestral effect out of spacey synthesizer sounds. The tracks pretty much run together seamlessly and although it takes a while for the album to really jump into any real rock aspects by the time "Dance Of The Seven Veils Part 2" kicks in, the music becomes a guitar-driven rocker with thumping bass and hefty percussive drive. Of course PENDRAGON excels in alternating heavier passages with lush acoustic guitar moments with all those atmospheric excesses but that's what makes them so unique and even more dreamy and atmospheric than bands like Arena and IQ.

Add to the dreamy musical processions that never wear me out in the over hour's experience, Nick Barrett is a gifted poet whose precise and clearly enunciated lyrical deliveries offers the perfect prose for the musical accompaniment and it all comes together so well with alternating segments that range from dreamy to fast tempo rock at key moments but not quite into metal yet at this stage of their career. As always this band crafts the most sensual and addictive melodies on NOT OF THIS WORLD with captivating emotive guitar sweeps and a contrasting bass groove that work perfectly in tandem and of course all those layers of synth sounds that frost this cake a thousand times over making it ever sweeter! The diversity of the tracks really keeps this one from stagnating. Each one ratchets up the tension a little bit more with clever creative subtitles seeping into the recurring themes.

This was one of those growers that kept drawing me back in. While it started out as a strong 4 star album in my world, the recurring visits have made this one of my all time favorite neo-prog albums and on par with the band's previous "The Masquerade Overature." Sure it can sound a little cheesy at times as can a lot of neo-prog but if you're in the mood for this kind of melodic synthesizer overload then there's nothing like it. Something you just want to soothe your soul with over-the-top melodic constructs that offer a gazillion variations. There are even moments of amazing virtuosity such as the guitar and keyboard works on "Not Of This World Part 1." When investigated further this album will reveal an amazing detail that matches the outstanding cover art. It's bright, colorful and bursting with life. Definitely one of the band's best and although they would continue to deliver some interesting albums, this particular trilogy is one of the highlights of the neo-prog branch of the world prog. True it's not the most original album ever released but the delivery is so impeccable i am the fish that got hooked!

 Passion by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.73 | 608 ratings

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Passion
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 731

"Passion" is the ninth studio album of Pendragon and that was released in 2011. It was released as a special edition on Madfish, a division label of Snapper Music and in a regular form on Toff Records, the band's own label. Two packaging formats of the Madfish album exist, a digi-book and a super jewel case, which is my version, both with a DVD featuring behind the scenes footage documentary titled "Progumentary", filmed by the band during the recordings of the album.

With "Passion", Pendragon proves that they're still an innovative force to be reckoned with in 2011 and that they're still a band able to create music with a great passion. Even thirty three years after the formation of Pendragon, "Passion" shows the famed neo-prog quartet with their heaviest, darkest, and possibly most unique album to that moment, really.

The line up on the album is the same of their eighth previous studio album "Pure", released in 2008. So, the line up on "Passion" is Nick Barrett (vocals, guitars, keyboards and keyboard programming), Clive Nolan (keyboards and backing vocals), Peter Gee (bass guitar) and Scott Hingham (drums and backing vocals).

"Passion" has seven tracks. All tracks were written by Nick Barrett. The first track is the title track "Passion". It opens the album with a very strange way, with some electronic rhythm sound. However, when Barrett says "Drop My Balls", the song displays with the new and modern powerful sound that Pendragon have created recently. This is a very powerful song with great lyrics and with a memorable melody line that shows clearly what will be the general mood of the all album. The second track "Empathy" is a song that starts with a very powerful and heavy rhythm that reminds me a little bit "Indigo", the opening song of their previous studio album "Pure". Lyrically, we can say this is a continuation of the previous first song. Musically, it also develops the theme from the opening track and is a song full of constant musical changes. It's a very complete song with a gentle vocal work, a nice guitar solo and a nice piano performance that ends with a magnificent orchestral sound. The third track "Feeding Frenzy" is, probably, the heaviest and most intense and compact song the band ever made on their albums. This is a very frantic song with an astonishing guitar rhythm and the bass and drumming works are absolutely stunning. This is another song with great lyrics and where, musically, this is a song with no space for solos, as compact, powerful and aggressive as it is. The fourth track "This Green And Pleasant Land" is the longest and the epic song on the album. This is a very beautiful song more in the taste of the old fashion Pendragon's fans. It's a track when we can see Barrett again providing those dreamy beautiful guitar musical passages. This is a very emotional and intelligent song about Barrett's telling his story about his homeland. In reality, there's nothing more to say about it. It's as great and beautiful as you need to hear. You know what I'm saying. Probably, by itself, it's worth getting the album. The fifth track "It's Just A Matter Of Not Getting Caught" shows a very long and strange title for a song. This is a very atmospheric and mellow song with a strange darkness. Compared with the other songs this is a simple song where the band are developing and manipulating some very effective electronic and metallic sounds. At the end the song closes with the same sound effect as the opener. The sixth track "Skara Brae" is another very powerful song with the distinctive and typical guitar sound of Nick Barrett. It's a song with a heavy melody, featuring a repeating guitar tone which is used throughout in different keyboard parts. The grunge rhythm guitar gives to the song a strong and raw sound. The centre part of the song is nice and clean and is recognizable as Pendragon. The work of all band's members is astonishing. The seventh and last track "Your Black Heart" represents a very mellow closing track for this album. This is a song very close to the earlier day's sound of the band with the typical influences of David Gilmour. It's a very beautiful song carried along by Barrett's voice and Nolan's stunning piano and keyboard work. The whole piece is brought to a great climax by a duet of emotional keyboards and guitar interactions.

Conclusion: With "Passion", Pendragon continues the path of change their music to a more heavy style, putting the band more close to heavy metal. With this album and "Pure", the band established their new sound, a heavier sound but without losing the typical roots of their music. They did the same that other neo-prog bands also have done such as Arena and Galahad. Probably, it isn't a coincidence the presence of Clive Nolan, the keyboardist of Arena and the presence of Karl Groom, the guitarist of Threshold, as a producer. "Passion" is, in my humble opinion, the next logical step after "Pure". It's true that "Passion" isn't "Pure" but it's also true that it's certainly very close to it in terms of style and quality. So, "Passion" is, in reality, a great album from a great band. As also with "Pure", the album has a beautiful artwork and the production is one more time, simply and superb. The last thing I still want to say is that I hope the band continue with the same passion for music and that can keep Pendragon at the top of progressive music for many years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Love Over Fear by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.08 | 408 ratings

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Love Over Fear
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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

 Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends by PENDRAGON album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2022
4.05 | 17 ratings

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Fallen Dreams and Angels and All the Loose Ends
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars OK, so let's get the basic information out of the way first. Back in 1993 Pendragon released a compilation called 'The Rest of Pendragon', which was a way of bringing together songs which may have been a little more difficult for new fans to find. The first seven were taken from the 'Saved By You' and 'Red Shoes' EP's and that is the same here. The difference between this and the earlier album is we then get the songs taken from other tidy up collections, 1994's 'Fallen Dreams and Angels' and 1996's 'As Good As Gold'. I already have all these sat on my shelves, as well as plenty of Mob Mag magazines, and interviewed Nick a few times back then as well. Pendragon have changed styles over the years, even though their line-up has been incredibly static (okay, they have been through a few drummers in the last 15 years or so) with Nick and Peter there from the very beginning and Clive joining in 1986. I am not sure if I love the music on this album as it is just so brilliant or because I used to play these songs incessantly back in the day, but for whatever reason this is a sheer delight.

Playing "Red Shoes" on my headphones while at work was probably a mistake as I was transported back in time and once again was singing along and having a bop as it is just so highly infectious with wonderful underlying bass, hooks a plenty and so much damn fun! "Fun", that must be the word for the album, as all these songs are old friends, with the result being I smiled all the way through this as it is one solid number after another. It never feels like a compilation of tracks which were mostly rare to get hold of, and in many ways is a perfect taster for those wondering what the earlier days were like. Pendragon have always been a band who look after their fans, with fan club only releases such as the excellent 'The Very, Very Bootleg' which is still one of my favourite live albums of theirs, and this is yet another fine example. Long-time fans such as myself will already have these songs but any excuse to go through them again is great, love the artwork, while those who have only come to the band since they became somewhat heavier will be in for a nice surprise. "Sister Bluebird" has always been a classic with its poignant vocals while the guitar introduction to "Midnight Running", set against Clive's wall of keyboards is sublime, and the shift into rock just takes it to a new level. Listening to this has made me think I need to put 'The World', 'The Window of Life' and 'The Masquerade Overture' back on heavy rotation. Awesome.

 Pure by PENDRAGON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.90 | 719 ratings

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Pure
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 671

"Pure" is the eighth studio album of Pendragon and was released in 2008. This album was first released as a regular edition, but it was also issued as a special edition, a CD+DVD in a rigid digipak, which is my version. The DVD in this new special packaging has 1h.24m. of footage material titled "Handy-Cam Progumentary", recorded by the band itself.

"Pure" represents, for me, the continuity of the musical changes started with their previous studio album "Believe". It continues a cut with their previous four studio albums "The World", "The Window Of Life", "The Masquerade Overture" and "Not Of This World". "Pure" is heavier, darker and less neo-prog than their other studio albums. It sounds heavy and is, by far, the heaviest and darkest thing that Nick Barrett and co. has produced till then. In reality, the wonderful melodies, the great instrumentation and the emotional guitar solos are still there but they're presented in a heavier way.

The line up on the album isn't the same of their six previous studio albums "Kowtow", released in 1988, "The World", released in 1991, "The Window Of Life", released in 1993, "The Masquerade Overture", released in 1996, "Not Of This World", released in 2001, and "Believe", released in 2005, their second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh studio albums, respectively. Scott Hingham substituted their drummer Fudge Smith who was with the band since their second studio album "Kowtow". So, the line up on the album is Nick Barrett (vocals, guitars and keyboard programming), Clive Nolan (keyboards and backing vocals), Peter Gee (bass guitar) and Scott Hingham (drums and backing vocals).

"Pure" has five tracks. All tracks were written by Nick Barrett. The first track "Indigo" represents a perfect introduction to the new tougher edge now evident into their music. It's a very dark epic song played into two distinctive parts of over thirteen absorbing minutes. It represents probably one of Pendragon's finest songs ever and it's also the favourite song on this album to Nick Barrett. The song starts with a great metallic guitar riff and the song evolves into its main theme through a barrage of guitar accompanied by a ferocious drum work. With this song Nick Barrett shows why he's one of the best guitarists. The song has clearly deep influences of Pink Floyd's music, mainly an astonishing guitar solo made by Nick Barrett with some clearly reminiscences of David Gilmour's guitar style. The second track "Eraserhead" is an up tempo song that opens with a crunching guitar riff. The song mixes some laid backing vocals with over synthesize strings and superb guitar lead melodies. Again, we can hear the energetic new drumming work of Scott Hingham, which definitely added a new dimension to Pendragon's sound, especially in the heavier musical sections. It's a song with a more prominent participation of Clive Nolan with a wonderful keyboard work and Peter Gee keeps perfectly the rhythm with a very nice bass line. The third track "Comatose" is divided into three parts "View From The Seashore", "Space Cadet" and "Home And Dry". This is a pure epic song that shows the band at their most expansive and creative vein. The song opens with a piano and a vocal refrain that creates a gentle and melancholic musical atmosphere. This mood is dramatically changed by the assault of a great metal guitar riff. In reality, the entire track is entirely divided by using the contrasts of light and dark and quiet and loud. The second part sees the band returning to a more familiar musical territory haunting strings taken over by a simple guitar loop very well supported by the keyboards of Clive Nolan. The third part continues the so Pendragon's musical Floydian's style that will appeal to the old die-hard fans of the band. The fourth track "The Freak Show" is the shortest song on the album that starts very heavy but that still remains as a Pendragon's song with a very beautiful melody. It's a very good song with a very catchy and emotive guitar melody that reminds us why progressive rock is so varied and irresistible. This must be an irresistible song when performed live. The fifth track "It's Only Me" starts with just piano, guitar and harmonica. It's a very emotional ballad with lyrics about how resilient we are as a child. Musically, the song is a slow and sad lament that ends with a superb and memorable extended Nick Barrett's guitar solo. This song is a beautiful and magnificent way to closes this truly surprising album.

Conclusion: "Pure" is a superb and pure Pendragon's album. Probably it wasn't a coincidence the album's name. With "Pure", Pendragon managed to redefine and progresses their sound without losing their creative flame and their heart and deliver a set of truly memorable collective songs without any kind of weaknesses. "Pure" is very well written and played, and wonderfully produced. This is an album full of great ideas and surprises that keeps the group on the highest point of their musical career. With "Pure", Pendragon shows that after thirty years of career, the band keeps the purity and the freshness in their music and what is even more impressive is that the band continues to progresses and changes their music, not ceasing to amaze me from album to album. With "Pure", Pendragon have managed to redefine their sound without losing their past and deliver an album that maybe outweighs anything the band has done before.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 North Star by PENDRAGON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2023
4.09 | 35 ratings

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North Star
Pendragon Neo-Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars And the answer is yes, they're back once more. Not only back with a new brief album, but also back to the beloved sound of their Window Of Life and Fallen Dreams & Angels era, which can't be anything but good to these ears. And because of the musical scope and conceptual outline, it feels like a proper album indeed, despite its rather short playing time, within the typical range of an EP record.

The overall sound takes advantage of acoustic textures, subtly merged with electric brush-strokes, phantasmagoric choral voices (listen to the end track Fall Away, very much in an Entangled mood), and sensible percussion, being the heavier intervention of the drums in track 2 As Dead as a Dodo.

The album opens with exquisite arpeggiated piano, and then great electric guitar licks paving the way for a delicious vocal melody. After that the guitars take the lead, with Nick Barrett showing stupendous classical-meet-flamenco fingerpicking a la Hackett (listen to the beginning of the last track) and an electric solo crafted for future anthologies in the last couple of minutes of track 3 Phoenician Skies.

I think this will not change anybody's appreciation of the band, but it is a fine new jewell to be cherished in their already established legacy.

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

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