Toff Records
Release date: September 11, 2005

User Review
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It would take Pendragon 9 years from their 1976 inception date until their debut album, The Jewel, saw the light of day … an album that now is being reissued in a special 20-year anniversary edition. But Pendragon are still alive, and with their latest album, Believe, they offer a somewhat new direction, although still unmistakably: Pendragon.

The Music

As before, Pendragon’s music often springs out from Nick Carter’s vivid guitar and characteristic voice. This stylistic trademark separates Pendragon from many other more keyboard-orientated Progressive Rock bands. Thus, fans will recognize Believe right from the start.

The album opens with an overture in the form of the title track “Believe.” The song hints of a certain Celtic fascination, which is a feeling also found in later tracks. Next, “No Place For The Innocent” takes the album in a less expected direction with its Pop-ish guitar riff and “everybody to the dance floor” intro. Apart from some softer Symphonic elements, this becomes the album’s odd one out!

With “The Wisdom Of Solomon,” the mood goes kind of Oriental with a dreamy female vocal intro in something which sounds almost Bulgarian. Apart from a couple of almost fatigued solos, this is a pretty neat track, much thanks to an incredibly sad melody.

“The Wishing Well” is a four part suite, with each part essentially different than the other. The all over feeling is of sadness and melancholy, although the sing-along feeling in “So By Sowest” (part 2), and the light, airy beat in “We Talked” (part 3), keep this from getting depressing. The lyrics are quite strong and thoughtful, and that makes the suite a journey across a literal ocean.

In comparison, the following “Learning Curve” is quite an anti-climax. Luckily, the concluding track, “The Edge Of The World,” is a magnificent song, much thanks to Barret’s voice and guitar.

The Band

Having been around since the beginning, Nick Barret (vocals and guitars) is a driving force on this album. For example, his voice box guitar solo on “Believe” is stunning (but too short!), and he sings with convincing passion in basically all songs.

Clive Nolan is surprisingly discrete on this album, and that suits the music well. Yet, when he serves up those incredibly soft strings, you cannot help but to drift off into space.

Pete Gee (bass) is perhaps a bit anonymous, thanks to the extensive guitar arrangements. Fudge Smith, on the other hand, has a very vivid style and he adds considerable color to the music here!

Together they are strong, in unison, and dynamic. Just what you’d expect them to be …

The Verdict

Believe has its definite positive qualities, but it may take some time for these to unveil themselves. Looking further, when the album eventually grows on you, you are likely to reach a point where it caps out, after which point its perception may likely erode rather than be preserved. At the same time, Pendragon (still) has the ability to spellbind you and that’s probably why you should check this album out. Of course, that is unless you’re a devoted fan — then you already bought the CD some time ago, didn’t you?


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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