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Arena - The Unquiet Sky CD (album) cover





3.67 | 287 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After the rather weak and very disappointing 7th Degree of Separation, Arena (or more specific leader Clive Nolan) seems to realize that that record was not up to their fans expectations and quickly released (for Arena´s standards) The Unquiet Sky. And I must say they really did an excellent job. This new CD has everything you should expect from this great group and was lacking from the previous album: a dark concept, terrific melodies, intelligent and tasteful arrangements, symphonic keyboards and heavy guitar interplay and a very fine singer. That last aspect surprised me the most. I was not really bought by new vocalist Paul Manzi on 7th Degree... Technically he was great, but his delivering up to then was too nice and soft for Arena´s themes. Here he seems to understand how to deliver the dramatic lyrics with passion and menace that makes his vocal lines much more convincing.

Instrumentally the album is also much more varied and interesting, helped by the renewed, inspired songwriting (based around the M.R James' short horror story `Casting the Runes'). Nolan´s elegant keyboards lines are back on the forefront along with the emotional, creative guitar solos of John Mitchell. Bassist John Jowitt has left the ship again, but you´ll hardly notice it for newcomer Kylan Amos has a similar style of playing and does a fine job throughout the whole CD. As usual the Mick Pointer´s drumming is fantastic. Production is also top notch, balancing vocals and instruments in a much better way than on 7th Degree... (where the vocals were too loud). There are no real lows on this album, the flowing of the tracks is very smooth and pleasant, making it one of Arena´s best works in a long time. I always listen to The Unquiet Sky form start to finish with the same pleasure and that tells it all.

Conclusion: if you´re thinking Arena was going downhill after 7th Degree Of Separation, think it over. They came back with an album that is as strong as anything they have released before that CD. I wish other bands could come back after a dud with such powerful and inspired follow up!

Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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