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Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture CD (album) cover





3.98 | 598 ratings

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3 stars Surprisingly many reviews on this album, the only Pendragon I've heard. Very hard to find their albums in my country, but probably I need not bother any further if I already have their greatest thing, as it seems.

This is a school example of the Neo-Prog genre. Mighty and heroic to the point of being - excuse me - pretentious and somehow pubertal. It all tastes like Marvel's superhero comics. Oh, how rude words I'm using. Really, I think most of this music is gorgeous and very enjoyable if you are in the right mood. BUT the vocals... They suck, and badly. Nick Barrett writes great prog compositions and plays guitar quite well, but his kind of vocals should be heard only on some overcommercial power pop bands from the eighties, Toto or something (a genre I nearly hate, by the way. Except that his vocals would sound ridiculously boyish and weak in that kind of rock too, maybe even worse). I could imagine for example John Wetton's strong voice fit this album's music much better. If you think of a more progressive cousin of Asia (1982-), you get some image of Pendragon.

Some brief notes on some tracks: 'Masquerade Overture' is an overblown opener with a keyboard orchestration and mini-choir vocals in Italian. 'Good as Gold' is very catchty and glorious. 'Paintbox' may be my favourite with its deeply emotional instrumental part. 'The Pursuit of Excellence' is again awfully overdramatic little interlude, and as it leans heavily on Barrett's theatrical singing I usually skip it. 'Guardian of my Soul' and 'Masters of Illusion' are the longest and proggiest tracks; they have both fantastic parts and moments when I'm getting nearly sick and tired of listening to this musical rollercoaster ride.

My copy includes a live version of 'Last Man on Earth' instead of the here mentioned bonus tracks. That track is actually my favourite, because I love the way it cites the Moody Blues song 'New Horizons'.

Matti | 3/5 |


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