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Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover





3.94 | 483 ratings

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5 stars If you like your music to speak to your soul in an intimate way, Arena is not for you. This is pure bombast and what some might call pretencious. Even their ballads have over-dramatic vocals.

On Immortal, their fourth album, they go for a hybrid of new prog and metal. One might be tempted to criticize it, because metallizing your sound is usually done to bolster your commercial fortunes by appealing to the younger male crowd. By in Arena's case it's a right call, you can't go on imitating Genesis/Marillion and Pink Floyd forever. And even though Arena is not the only band to do new-prog/metal hybrid, they were one of the first and the best at it.

The first track, Chosen, immediately announces the change in direction, beginning with an almost industrial intro and a whispering rap-like spoken vocals. And as if it were not enough, a duet siren synth and metal guitar come crashing in. The song develops into a menacing mid tempo hard rocker with an acoustic break. Climbing the net is an upbeat 80s style neo progger. The folksy Welcome to the flood and power ballad Friday's Dream are ballads. The second one is better, because the first is too much of a Queensryche's clean guitar-picking Silent Lucidity rip-off with a synth solo.

The highlights are the trembling and spooky Butterfly man (a perfect soundtrack to a Victorian horror story) with mesmerizing guitar lines, and Arena's only 20-minute epic, Moviedrome. The later is a kind of a hotch-potch, with industrial, piano, Pink Floydian parts and a thunderous symphonic metal finish. But it holds your attention, and this is Arena's trademark dark bombast at its purest. And the album is mercifully short, so you could digest all the diversity, if not originality, that Arena has to offer.

Progrussia | 5/5 |


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