Reviewed by Others on 11 Dec 2001
- - Review/Comments by Uwe
Until 1997 I thought, that good music can only be played by such groups like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Marillion, etc.
Then I got an internet access and dicovered through sites like Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock
that there is still a so called Progressive Rock scene around. One of the first group that got my attention was
Pendragon (besides IQ), as they were often compared to Marillion and Pink Floyd.
So I was very surprised to find a record of this group at my local record dealer, and this record was
The Masquerade Overture
.Enchanted by the beautiful cover, I immediately went to the cash desk and buyed the
record. This was my comeback
record to the Prog scene, and as such I have a special releationship with it.
So keep this in mind as you read my review...
The CD opens with the title track and sounds like an overture for an italian opera. Very impressive and really a
great opener as it lays down the mood of what will follow. Second track is called As Good As Gold
is also the first single of the album. Nice melody and a refrain that stays in your mind (BTW this applies to
nearly all Pendragon songs).
The next track, Paintbox
is one of the highlights on the album. A refrain that stays in your brain forever
and very good interludes from Nick Barretts guitar and Clive (Mr. Neo-Prog himself) Nolans keyboards. Wow!
Mastermind Nick Barrett isn't a superb singer but I can live with his vocals. But his singing on The Pursuit of
can only be described as painful! Fortunatly this irish folk influenced track is only about
2 minutes long...Guardian of my Soul
is the most complex song (for means of Pendragon) on the record as it
shifts from one break to another. But overall the song sounds like a patchwork for me.
Another favorite track of mine is The Shadow
which starts very melancholic as Nick Barrett vocals are only
accompanied by Clive Nolans piano. Then keyboard and acoustic guitars sets in and the song develops to a bombastic
finale and once again, the refrain stays in your mind. Great!
The last song is Master Of Illusion
and it starts very Marillionesque
. The keys sounds a lot like
Mark Kelly, but nonetheless it sounds great! After some breaks and another sing along refrain (sic!), the song
culminates in a guitar solo that send shivers down my spine, as it reminds me a lot to one of my all time favorite
guitar solo by David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) in Comfortably Numb. Gorgeous!
There is also a limited(?) edition available, that contains a bonus CD with four tracks: The first two tracks are
so called edits
of As Good as Gold
and Master Of Illusion
, but overall this version are much
weaker than the original versions. Third track is called Schizo
and it sounds so much like a Pink Floyd
track (because of the female background choir), that it was included on the Eclipsed
Pink Floyd Tribune CD Sign
(recommended to all Pink Floyd fans!) as the only non-PF track!
The last track of the bonus disc is The King Of The Castle
and this piece is also a favorite of mine.
It reminds me a lot of a Genesis track called Entangled
, one of my favorite track from Trick Of The
. So if you got the chance to get the CD with the bonus CD, get it as the last two tracks are really good!
a.) like Marillion and the guitar playing of David Gilmour
b.) doesn't mind about Prog cliches, clones, etc.
c.) like Neo-Prog
d.) recognize Progressive Rock as a style and not as a philosophy (to progress = develop!)
than you will love Pendragon and The Masquerade Overture
is the perfect entry into their world. I would mark me as a Pendragon fan, but I can also understand people who hate them for the reasons given above.