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Arena - Contagion CD (album) cover





4.16 | 657 ratings

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4 stars After their somewhat "heavier and less polished" 2000 release "Immortal?" ARENA continues on the same track and it seems to be they are on the right one :-)

On "Immortal?" Rob Sowden traded places with Paul Wrightson and I must admit that even though I preferred Paul's voice I do think that Rob is doing a great job and almost makes us forget about Paul. As we all know it's just a matter of "getting used to". Same thing also happened with Steve Hogarth trading places with Fish in Marillion.

So what can we say about "Contagion"? Well, it's a concept album like "The Visitor" and even though the tracks aren't really all that long it doesn't really show, because they are all flowing over into one other. So is my comparison with ARENA's highly praised album "The Visitor" a valid one? I think it's a very good album, but just not quite as good. All instrumentation is top notch again, especially Clive Nolan's keys stand out and John Mitchell's excellent guitar play as well. Once again Rob Sowden now truly is the voice of ARENA. He's fulfilling our highly acclaimed promises!

My personal favourite tracks of the album? Probably: "Which Hunt", "Painted Man", "Spectre at the Feast", "Salamander", "Cutting the Cards" and "Ascension".

The result? Well, all and all another very nice concept album delivered by Clive Nolan and consortium. Good, maybe even very good, but just not as good as the 1998 concept album "The Visitor". Therefore I would like to rate this album 4 stars, just like I did with "Immortal?". For me "The Visitor" is still the one that really stands out (5 stars).

evenless | 4/5 |


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