Pendragon - Pure,
Pendragon have been around for nigh on thirty years now, and while there used to be the odd change in membership they have remained the same since ‘Kowtow’ which was released in 1988. However, ‘Pure’ some twenty years later finds the band with a new drummer (in Scott Higham), and almost a new Nick as Pendragon become much heavier and powerful than ever before. To be honest it did take me a while to really get into this album – there was never a doubt that it was a great piece of work, but was it really Pendragon? I have all of their albums, I have seen them live, and have even interviewed Nick a few times, but it was the 1991 album ‘The World’ that really set things alight for me and that was the album that I marked all others by. When ‘The Masquerade Overture’ came out in 1996 I waited for the band to become as well-known as Genesis and Pink Floyd, and for years proudly had a poster of the cover hanging in my stairwell. They may not have hit the heights they have so richly deserved for so many years, but I always knew where I was with Pendragon.
But where now? There are definitely sections within the 14 minute opener “Indigo” where it is the band I have loved for so many years, but at others they are something else altogether with a much harder hitting drum sound and a guitar edge that has no place in a prog outfit. But the more I played it, the more I realised that the only problem with this album is that I had preconceived ideas in my mind as to what they should sound like, and this band has moved on, they have truly progressed. Once I got past my own shortcomings I was able to hear what in many ways is a truly incredible album, as it is such a dramatic change of the Pendragon of old in that it is almost a totally different band – but there is still enough of the old to ensure that fans can recognise where they are coming from as well as understanding where the band is going to. Nick Barrett, Peter Gee, Clive Nolan, Scott Higham – Pendragon. This album is immense.