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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





4.03 | 645 ratings

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5 stars As this is my very first review for Prog Archives I wanted to pick one of my all time favourite progressive rock albums for my first review. I've awarded The Masquerade Overture five stars, which is not something I'm planning on doing often with my future reviews. In my opinion this album deserves no less than five stars. This is definitely one of my top ten progressive rock albums, and a sure take for that fabled desert island we all dream about.

For me the most important function of music is to invoke emotion, and this album does it in spades, as a listener it presses every single one of my buttons, and each time I listen to the album it confirms why I love this style of music so much. This album takes the listener through the emotional gamut, from pure joy to melancholy and sombre introspection throughout the journey. I'm grinning from ear to ear during 'As Good As Gold', reflective during 'Paintbox', inspired during 'The Shadow'. Each of the songs does something to me emotionally, and for me that is the most important function of any music.

All of the cornerstones of progressive rock are here in abundance - soaring guitar solos, complex and thoughtful instrumental passages, dynamic time changes, fantastic and emotive vocals and wonderful keyboard and guitar interplay. The vocal style of Nick Barrett might not appeal to everyone, at times he can sound a little 'poppy' and 'romantic', but I find his vocal melodies and tone to be endearing and they add greatly to the flavour of the music.

Now it cannot be denied that this album draws heavy inspiration from Marillion, Genesis and to a lesser extent Yes. For some this might be a negative, but I'm personally of the opinion that music of the past should inspire the next generation. Its true that Pendragon might not have existed were it not for the bands which came before, its an argument which can be used against almost any band. I consider this album to be inspired by some of the earlier progressive works, particularly the earlier albums of Marilion, but that The Masquerade Overture is still entirely original in its own style and execution.

Instrumentally there is a lot of skill here on the album, and while there may not be the complexity of a Yes or Genesis album the compositions on offer are simply perfect. There isn't a note out of place throughout the whole affair. A final note of the lyrics. These are something which often take a back-seat to the music for me, but in The Masquerade Overture I find the lyrics to be powerful and so full of meaning, especially on the album highlight 'Paintbox'.

Stand-out songs - 'As Good As Gold', 'Paintbox', 'Masters of Illusion'

AndyJ | 5/5 |


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