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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





4.07 | 774 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars A gold record

Pendragon have never (yet!) received the recognition they undoubtedly deserve.

"The Masquerade Overture" is probably their best album to date, but the quality of virtually all of their product is very high indeed. There are certainly all the right ingredients here for a good neo-prog album with similarities to MARILLION, ARENA, IQ etc, and derivative influences of GENESIS and to a lesser extent YES. Long tracks, time changes galore, swirling keyboards, melodic guitars, choral overtures, etc., there all here by the bucket load.

For me, the best track is "The shadow" a definitive prog track if ever there was one. It opens with an "Entangled" like vocal section with acoustic guitar and keyboard orchestration. As the sound builds, through synthesiser breaks and guitar interludes, the pace quickens slightly, the track at times being suddenly but briefly set free in bursts of heads down rock. The impact of these bursts is quite magical, giving the track a unique identity. The track closes with a symphonic cascading vocal refrain, quite magnificent.

The opening section of the album is also highly notable. A brief operatic overture leads into "As good as gold" another piece of classic symphonic neo-prog, Clive Nolan creating layers of lush keyboard sounds on which the track is based.

The remaining tracks are all excellent slices of neo-prog at its finest, there really is not a weak offering to be found here. That said, unlike other similar albums, "The Masquerade overture" does not demand to be heard as a complete piece, the tracks being equally enjoyable when heard in isolation.

Clive Nolan spreads his talents among many projects but with all of them, while there's a diversity, there is also a consistency of quality. If you are unfamiliar with Pendragon's work this is an excellent place to start, you will not be disappointed.

The version I have includes a "bonus disc" which includes acoustic versions of a couple of tracks. This second disc is good to get, but not essential.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |


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