Personnel: Nick Barrett (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, keyboard programming, background vocals); Clive Nolan (keyboards, background vocals); Peter Gee (bass guitar); Scott Higham (drums, background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Karl Groom.
Recording information: The Old Forge (09/2010-01/2011); Thin Ice (09/2010-01/2011).
Photographer: Rachel Wilce.
Although progressive rock reached its commercial peak in the '70s, it certainly didn't disappear after the '70s. Progressive rock, after all these years, continues to be recorded, and this late 2010/early 2011 recording finds Pendragon still plugging away after 32 years. Pendragon have experienced some lineup changes along the way; the 21st century edition of the band heard on Passion unites two members of the original 1978 lineup (lead singer/guitarist Nick Barrett and bassist Peter Gee) with 1986 arrival Clive Nolan (keyboards) and 2008 arrival Scott Higham (drums). And stylistically, these prog veterans have definitely evolved; Pendragon still draw on old-school influences like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and King Crimson, but there are also post-'80s influences that range from Porcupine Tree to Radiohead. What hasn't changed, however, is how unmistakably British Pendragon sound. Not all of the prog rockers who emerged in the '60s or '70s were from the U.K.; Rush, for example, hailed from Canada, and Kansas were from the Midwestern state they named themselves after. But while prog rock hasn't been an exclusively British phenomenon, it has been a largely British phenomenon, and Pendragon are as British-sounding on "The Green and Pleasant Land," "Empathy," and "Your Black Heart" as they are on "Feeding Frenzy" and "It's Just a Matter of Not Getting Caught." Pendragon were very much a product of Britain's prog scene of the '70s, and Passion demonstrates that they haven't forgotten their Pink Floyd/Genesis/King Crimson/Jethro Tull roots even though they are now incorporating the influence of younger British bands. Clearly, Pendragon are determined to keep evolving, and it turns out that Passion is among the more consistent efforts from these British prog rock survivors. ~ Alex Henderson