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PENDRAGON Passion Madfish/Snapper Music (2011)

Gilbert O'Sullivan

Having been a bit of a latecomer to the wonders of Pendragon, who for some reason passed me by until I heard 'Believe' and their last album 'Pure', they have quickly become one of the progressive rock bands whose new music I eagerly await.

The band is never afraid to try new musical avenues and have certainly used a lot heavier guitar riffs compared to their earlier days. The new album is one of those growers, with few instant moments and the album opener, 'Passion' sees the band delve into the world of 80's techno.

This song and the next two 'Empathy' (listen out for some rapping in this song) and 'Feeding Frenzy', feature some heavy riffage from Nick Barrett.

Fans of the band's older sound will love 'This Green And Pleasant Land', which from the title alone you could guess will be an extended musical workout. Around nine minutes into this song there is one of those wondrous instrumental workouts Pendragon do so well, with Clive Nolan's keys complementing the drums and guitar runs perfectly.

Heaviest song on the album is 'Skara Brae' which switches nicely from a heavy riff/vocal through to a more melodic, acoustic styled chorus. 'Your Black Heart' is a gentle acoustic number to finish the album off. Clive Nolan's piano combines beautifully with Nick Barrett's vocals.

There is a DVD that comes with the limited edition version, which features an in-depth look into the recording and the writing/ideas behind the music on the album.

Pendragon have only gone and done it again, another album destined to make my year end 'Best Of'. You'll be hard pushed to find such an interesting and consistently enjoyable band in the progressive music field.


Review by Jason Ritchie


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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