Exposé Online banner

Pendragon — Passion
(Snapper Music SMACD971, 2011, CD+DVD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01

Passion Cover artPassion marks the conclusion of a trilogy of records that started with 2005's Believe, followed by 2008's Pure. Each was part of Pendragon's "five year plan" to present a new and re-energized sound to the public. Probably one of the smartest moves made was to hire drummer Scott Higham whose metal technique gives the hotter parts of the arrangement a serious kick in the ass. With him on board it's not much of a surprise that a harder edge is all over the music, plus an attention to production details and textures that gives the songs added depth and binds the longer pieces together. Notwithstanding superb performances all around (though Clive Noland's keyboards seem more subdued), Pendragon has never been about instrumental showboating. Instead, the heat in the arrangements propels the emotion in the lyric and melodies, enhancing what was already Pendragon's core competency. I don't know if it's a mid-life crisis but the entire band are shredding paint on songs like "Feeding Frenzy" and "Skara Brae," sounding more like Rush than the 70s prog reference points they are most often associated with. Fans of the old Pendragon will take solace in songs "This Green and Pleasant Land" and "Your Black Heart" that would have been at home on The World, but for the most part the band and producer Karl Groom have made it their mission to transport Pendragon into the modern era and to my ears they've arrived in good shape. A two-disk edition also includes a DVD documentary about the making of the album, with Barrett, Higham, Nolan and bassist Peter Gee discussing the recording process and their thoughts about the new music.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 40, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Pendragon, Clive Nolan

More info
http://www.pendragon.mu

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Scott Mosher - Deep Horizon – Progressive metal has been around long enough now that a new release has to have something different about it in order to catch my interest. Scott Mosher does a good job doing that with the first...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues