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Arena - The Visitor CD (album) cover





4.04 | 674 ratings

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5 stars The 96' EP ''Edits'' and the upcoming tour marked Keith More's last contributions to Arena, as he wanted to continue only as a session member.Thus, the rest of the band recruited new guitarist John Mitchell, who immediately had the desired impact.A first taste of him was taped on the 97' EP ''The cry'' (mostly with reworked versions of the Crying For Help-collection from the first two albums), followed by the first Arena live release ''Welcome to the Stage'' from the same year.In 1998 Arena return with their third full-length album ''The visitor'' on Verglas.

Mitchell was the complementary piece Arena missed to eventually create a true masterpiece of modern Progressive Rock/Neo Prog.Having definitely a sound of their own, the five-piece group from the English grounds offered a monumental work, where 16 tracks deliver a fantastic concept album with only majestic moments.''The visitor'' proposed a more grandiose, slightly heavier and more cinematic version of Arena.And it is an album, that clearly indicates the turn of 80's rather safe Neo Prog into the 90's stronger and more powerful style.Wrightson is certainly the man, who could sing in this excellent album, his voice is passionate, expressive, dynamic but also warm and delicate when needed.The musicianship is brilliant and strikes the listener from the very first listen.Powerful symphonic instrumentals, dreamy and spacey synth-drenched soudscapes, heavy guitar riffing next to the ultra-emotional melodic solos, memorable choruses, endless keyboard acrobatics and deep lyrical intensity.All these elements can be found in ''The visitor'' and additionally this third effort by Arena is characterized by a crystalline production.

This album seems to have haunted me for years.It is among my personal references when talking about top-notch Progressive Rock and I consider it no less than a pure masteriece of all ages.Extremely highly recommended to the whole spectrum of rock/metal fans and not only the proggers.

apps79 | 5/5 |


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