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1 selections as Proggnosis Best of 1996 Release

The Masquerade Overture

a Studio release

Release Year: 1996

Date Label Catalog # Comments
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 1/15/2001 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 4/6/2024 7:51:00 AM by: DBSilver

CD 1

  1. The Masquerade Overture (3:03)
  2. As Good As Gold (7:15)
  3. Paintbox (8:38)
  4. The Pursuit Of Excellence (2:36)
  5. Guardian Of My Soul (12:41)
  6. The Shadow (9:55)
  7. Masters Of Illusion (12:50)

CD 2

  1. As Good As Gold (3:29)
  2. Master Of Illusion (3:35)
  3. Schizo (7:01)
  4. The King Of The Castle (4:45)
Fudge Smith
Clive Nolan
Peter Gee
bass guitar
Nick Barrett

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 and it 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 Excellence 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 of Life (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 Tail. So if you got the chance to get the CD with the bonus CD, get it as the last two tracks are really good!

If you

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.