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Arena - Contagion CD (album) cover





4.14 | 627 ratings

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5 stars This album is quite some record - a journey through humanity's dark night of the soul to something approaching redemption at the other end.

Musically this is quite heavy for neo-prog - the first song in particular sounds like a metal song - and consequently for me it did take some getting in to, but, as with all good music, that investment of time has paid great dividends.

Contagion is a dark and atmospheric record, its success made possible Rob Sowden's vocal performance of real power and mastery. Whereas many concept albums seem to lose their way towards the end, this record gradually gathers momentum, so that the second half seems stronger than the first.

The album is a cohesive whole, but many of the best individual tracks would undoubtedly work as stand-alone songs - 'Salamander', 'Bitter Harvest', 'Mea Culpa' and 'Cutting the Cards' are personal favourites.

Overall, this is highly recommended - an album that shows the continuing possibilities of 'popular' music.

jmeadow | 5/5 |


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