I do not know Pendragon very well, but they are highly regarded in Progressive Rock circles. Their latest album, The History: 1984 – 2000, is a nice overview of the British band’s musical efforts. It includes an insert that explains the band’s history and discography, another good way to learn more about them.
One of the first things I noticed about this album is the heavy Pink Floyd influence, especially with the guitars. I also hear a lot of early Genesis, too. Pendragon has a good history to fall back on, so if you are a fan of either Pink Floyd or Genesis (or both), chances are you will like this band.
I also thought the vocalist, Nick Barrett, sounded a lot like IQ’s Peter Nicholls, and maybe even a bit like Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson. Barrett sings with a distinct British accent in a pleasant tenor voice, which does not detract from the music whatsoever.
The music itself is very sweet and dreamy, especially songs like The Voyager, The Black Knight, and The King of the Castle. On the flip side, I found a few of the songs to be too slow. The Shadow totally lost me. The most interesting song, however, would have to be And We’ll Go Hunting Deer…it’s strange and eerie, but holds your attention. Pendragon has a definite Neo/Symphonic sound to their music, very reminiscent of early 70s British Prog.
A nice addition to this album is a video clip of the band, live from a show in Poland back in 1996. The tune they play, The Last Waltz, is a surprise because it does not sound like Prog at all, but more like an 80s radio song. (Once again, I think of Supertramp.) That is not a negative, however. The video clip is a nice snapshot of the band performing in front of a very appreciative and enthusiastic crowd. The Poles have good taste in music!
I really liked this CD and recommend it for any Prog lover's collection. It is a good way to introduce new listeners to a very good band, while long-term fans have a compact album of favorites.
Reviewed by Melissa Palmer on Novemeber 4th, 2006