Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover





3.94 | 494 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
3 stars This is my first encounter with Arena, and I am torn about how I feel. I very much want to like this album more than I do; yet it simply does not have the "oomph" to be either "excellent" or "essential." / With ex-members of Marillion, Pendragon and Asia, those influences are all in evidence, as are the "sub-influences" of Genesis, Floyd, et al. And the band generally does well in filtering those influences into something interesting, if not exactly new. / "Chosen" opens the album in excellent style, with a nicely crafted, even compelling composition full of heavy symphonic keyboards, great guitar work (both electric and acoustic), and a powerful overall sound reminiscent of the best of Genesis, Marillion, Pendragon et al. (You just know this song sounds incredible in concert...) Unfortunately, nothing that follows lives up to this level of excellence. "Waiting For the Flood" is a decent ballad, but never quite "makes it" (both the lyrics and the vocal approach remind me alot of Fish - though not nearly so good.) "The Butterfly Man" has good structure and nice sectioning, with a few truly wonderful prog bits. "Ghost in the Firewall" is a shameless (but good) nod to Floyd. Opening with a Dark Side-type heartbeat and Floydian effects, it ultimately sounds like a handful of pieces of "The Wall" strung together. (Is FireWALL a clue?...) "Climbing the Net" is the obvious attempt at a "hit," and reminds me a little of "Nothing to Lose" on UK's second album, or one of Genesis' better hits post-ATTWT. "Moviedrome" (which has a very Blade Runner-esque opening) is an extended composition that is maddeningly inconsistent - though it does have three good jams: a serious piece of prog writing at 7:15-8:15; a Floydian jam at 11:15-13:35, with very Gilmour-ish guitar; and a lesser jam at 14:45-17:35, which nevertheless has some very good prog bits. "Friday's Dream" is the better of the two ballads, with a cleaner structure that builds nicely from acoustic guitar to full band. / The musicianship on the album is very good, and the band clearly works together well. They know all the standard prog tricks, and use them to good effect. Sowden's vocals are "appropriate" rather than compelling (much less exciting), and the lyrics are generally utilitarian. (As an aside, I did not fail to notice the large number of faith-based references in the lyrics - something I am finding in quite a few of the neo-neo-prog groups.) / The album is clearly well-crafted, and is definitely quite listenable. However, there is little "compelling" about it, and except for the opening track, very little sticks with you. Still, I like it, and will certainly give other Arena albums a spin.
maani | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ARENA review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.