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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





4.00 | 627 ratings

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4 stars I never liked Neo Prog', because IMO most bands that ascribe to this sub-genre are too derivative from the 4 men Genesis (being A Trick of the Tail probably the first neo prog' album) but without the imagination and complexity of the original. Pendragon is an exception to this rule, a very symphonic band with obvious Genesis influence but they don't stop there, they have their own style, unique and far more complex than almost any neo progressive band.

"Masquerade Overture" is an out of time album, if released in the 70's would have been considered an essential masterpiece by every prog' fan, but being recorded in the 90's is absolutely underrated by most progheads who used to believe the genre died in the 80's.

Clive Nolan surely follows the school of Tony Banks, but has developed a strong and individual style, softer but absolutely unique. He's not just a copycat; he's a complete musician. Also a great artist Nick Barrett, who is stronger with guitar than with vocals, his voice lacks of depth, ideal for softer tunes but I doubt he could deal with more frantic music. Perfect for Pendragon but maybe not for other bands.

Fudge Smith is a very good drummer, fast and accurate, but a bit weak with his feet and Peter Gee is an average bass player but nothing else, the important thing is that like Genesis, they all are band players who leave their soul when playing with Pendragon.

All the songs are in a good level, but my special favorites are:

The opening track "The Masquerade Overture" which is a magnificent song, absolutely symphonic and great beauty that always brings some tears to my eyes, I could swear Clive Nolan uses a mellotron or novatron, but not sure, because I bought a Latin American release that doesn't mention it and still can't verify. I always wished this track was 3 or 4 minutes longer.

"As Good as Gold" starts with a soft and sentimental piano that blends slowly with vocals for about two minutes when explodes with energy and powerful drums, Genesis influence is evident in this very good track.

"Paintbox" is another soft track that reminds me very much of A Trick of a Tale, especially the keyboards at the end that are very similar to Entangled.

"The Pursuit of Excellence" is also a very good track but absolutely different to all the other songs from this album, sounds a bit Irish or Celtic with some Pink Floyd reminiscence.

Last to comment but not least, "The King of the Castle", ar song with a clear Genesis sound, is a bit sad and melancholic but extremely beautiful.

Every decent prog' collection must have at least a couple of Neo Progressive albums and "The Masquerade Overture" is one of the best releases of this sub genre, absolutely essential, four solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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