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Pendragon - Not Of This World CD (album) cover





3.90 | 514 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A great album from a great band. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Pendragon are one of the most important bands to emerge from the UK prog revival in the 1980's, and this album, released in 2001, marked a return after a five year hiatus following the excellent The Masquerade Overture, and it continued many of the themes explored in that album.

Nick Barrett and Clive Nolan entered the new decade with a piece of work that absolutely oozes class, and drips with symphonic layers, and also nods to their neo beginnings.

Standout track, for me, is the epic All Over Now (Dance Of The Veils Part Two), but, to be honest, this another album released by the band that really must be appreciated as a whole work, rather than exploring mere individual tracks.

Barrett commands centre stage on this, with his guitar work absolutely singing, but also with lyrics and vocals dripping with bitterness. He exudes an almost punk like attitude in both the intent and delivery of the stories he tells, and therein lies a very important aspect of this, and other, works by the band. It should appeal not just to progheads such as myself, although we are, of course, deeply satisfied with strong neo tracks such as Not Of This World (Not Of This World Part One), with its swirling keyboards and scremaing guitars very reminiscent of the 80's revival itself, but also to a brand new generation of rock fans wholly without many of the prejudices inherent in the mainstream music press.

For all of its nods to glories past, this has the feel of a modern rock album, and gives us some very strong hints as to the direction the band would continue to explore in subsequent albums.

Clive Nolan is absolutely essential on this. Although you could argue that Barrett is at the centre of proceedings, it is Nolan's keyboards which provide a hugely important and symphonic backdrop to proceedings. I don't think personally he has ever played better. Witness his quite exceptional work on Green Eyed Angel (Not Of This World Part Three).

I should also here provide special praise to the marvellous rhythm section of Smith and Gee, the latter especially shining with some pounding bass work throughout.

Neo prog can sometimes be a bit of a misnomer. For this is a symphonic work of prog from start to finish, and one that also has some extremely knowing post rock and punk sensibilities. In other words, the perfect neo prog album!

Previous reviews for this album have veered between very high and very low ratings. Comparisons have abounded between this and the two albums it sandwiches, both of which are exceptional works.

However, this album deserves to be considered in its own right. You will very rarely hear a group of musicians play as tightly and as well as this, with some massive sounds pouring out of your speakers, but also with some extremely delicate interplay and vocals. For no better a combination of all, witness the epic track A Man Of Nomadic Traits. This also features some exquisite backing vocals by Tina Riley.

Four stars for this album, but really 4.5 stars. Highly recommended for all readers who lost track of this great band in the new decade, but also those neo prog fans who, like me, really enjoy hearing the great bands who started the sub genre off in the heady early 80's progress, and move onto more ambitious and greater things.

lazland | 4/5 |


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