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Arena - Contagion CD (album) cover





4.16 | 594 ratings

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5 stars On Contagion Arena manage to blend the different styles of the previous released albums into one cohesive concept. Both the heavy guitar/keyboard style from Immortal? are present, but also the more melodic textures from Pride and The visitor find their way through the mix. it took me a couple of spins before I realised how good this album was, but now I'm convinced this is one of the best albums from this decade, and all time maybe. (time will learn about that)

This time no lengthy epics, but more compact compositions which in a natural manner progresses from one song into the next. With a good balance between the heavy parts (fast keyboards and heavy guitar) and atmospheric melodics.

Clive Nolan has proven himself in the past, but on this album he shows he's the best keyboard player today, knowing when to take the lead, but also remains more in the background when required. Mitchell is a good guitar-player and shows it on several occasions. Mick Pointer has definetly improved on his drumming, being more versatile than I ever heard him play before, with good dynamics between him and Ian Salmon, one of my favourite bass-players of todays music. I was still in doubt of Rob Sowden's performance on Immortal? which was adequate, but not brilliant, on this album however he proofs himself a worthy replacement of Paul Wrightson.

Arena's Contagion is a very good if not brilliant album, with it's roots firmly in the neo-prog scene, but not scared of an occasional side-step into prog-metal, or more classic prog. With very good instrumentals and strong songwriting. I totally love this band. 5 stars, and that is still a conservative rating :-)

HIGHLY RECOMENDED. especially to those who enjoy melodic symphonic prog in the vein of Marillion, Camel, IQ, and similar bands, with a heavy twist.

tuxon | 5/5 |


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