August 17, 2006

CD Review: Pendragon - History: 1984-2000

Pendragon is a Celtic title, from Pen Draig meaning head or chief dragon. It was taken as a name by many Kings of the Britons. Reading that makes sense being the name of this progressive act from the UK. They have a sweeping, regal sound that is smooth and easy to listen to, with its technical precision and ethereal qualities. Their music is truly epic and recalls bands such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Marillion. It's just a shame that I wasn't grabbed by this band like I was by Floyd and Marillion.

This is one of a few collections of Pendragon music that has been released over the years. This one was originally released in Poland back in 2000. Prior to this disk, I had never heard of them before. Actually, I am kind of surprised I hadn't considering the reputation that have as being leaders on the neo-prog scene. I am far from being well-versed across the board on music or obscure bands, but I think I do alright for myself. Still, there is always room for expanding ones horizons, am I right?

Like I mentioned earlier, The History did not really take hold of me as I had hoped. I will admit that the extended guitar and organ intro for "The Walls of Babylon" is gorgeous to listen to. Unfortunately, the further into the album I got, the more bored I became. I was reminded of how I would rather be listening to Pink Floyd. This disk just keeps on going and going, and if I didn't know any better, I would have thought this was all one album and not a compilation.

Please, don't get me wrong, they are clearly accomplished musicians who know how to put their instruments to good use. But, and there is always a but, I just got tired after awhile, there was not a lot of energy to the songs, and there was not much variation in them. It kind of reminded me of my thoughts of Dragonforce, a band with blazing speed and technical skill, they floored me upon initial discovery, but the more I listen to them, the more bored I seem to be. You see, there doesn't seem to be a lot of variation to their music either. The difference being, their speed and energy can keep me coming back, while Pendragon will probably not find it's way to my ears too often.

It is terribly frustrating as there is a lot to like here. There is a certain open air beauty to the spaciousness of their compositions. There some very smooth guitar solos and the vocals have this epic feel to them as they soar over the complex soundscapes beneath. Some of the music on the disk is truly gorgeous, but it seems better suited to background music while I am working on something else, rather than holding my attention.

Bottomline. The music is not bad, it just didn't enthrall me. The disk is filled with over 70 minutes of spacious room filling music that will help with your insomnia. As much as I hate to say it.

Mildly Recommended.
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