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Arena - Songs from the Lions Cage CD (album) cover





3.85 | 446 ratings

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5 stars Arena's debut is somewhat controversial here. I think it's amazing. What you have is a set of more powerful, epic songs, with the usual neo-prog characteristics, sandwiching some more atmospheric tracks (Crying For Help I through IV). This mix is an excellent way of forming an album. It's a masterpiece. First, the main songs...

1. Out Of The Wilderness (8:02) - The booming notes at the start are a great intro to the album. The keyboard riff then arrives, a truly neo-prog riff, followed by a great solo from the guitarist. Form here on you can tell this album will be good. The end of the song is the best part, after a great vocal build up.

3. Valley Of The Kings (10:10) - A great drum intro pulls you into a meaty keyboard chord riff. This accelerates into vocals, going a little Figazi-esque after a keyboard solo, as it build towards a monumental finale. Great song. The vocals at the end should really appeal.

5. Jericho (6:50) - E-P-I-C. From start to end, this track is awesome. Among Arena's best, espeically the ending, with the best keyboard solo/riff from this band. Vocals are excellent too.

7. Midas Vision (4:36) - Shorter than most, this track is a great song with a great chorus. Guitar is also very prominent as well as keyboards (a recurring theme in Arena's music - choruses, guitar solos and keyboard solos)

9. Solomon (14:37) - Is one of the best songs, ever. The best Arena song, by far. The instrumental section is awe inspiring. The end screams emotion. The start is ever so subtle with a great guitar solo. Perfect length, excellent lyrics, fantastic riffs from all instruments... honestly, one of the best. Just listen to it.

Ok, now we have most of the album out of the way, the Crying For Help tracks may be addressed. Their main aim is to be atmospheric, and this is achieved by them all. Crying For Help I is an acoustic solo - think Mood For A Day, Horizons or Broon's Bane. II brings in more instruments, a flute and some keyboard chords - a good intro to Jericho. III is very atmospheric, driven by a few piano chords. Brilliant to listen to very loudly. IV is less atmospheric (at least for the ending), as the beginning features brillaint vocals and excellent piano playing. The vocals build up to introduce a solo - an utterly awesome solo.

All the tracks are worth listening to. This is one album you have to sit though. Very good if you like early Marillion as many of the riffs, the vocals, and the keyboards scream Script For A Jester's Tear. But, of course, this is better than that album. The weak point is perhaps Midas Vision, or the first two Crying For Help songs, depending on what you think, but I don't think any par tof this album is weak - quite the contrary, this album nears perfection. A masterpiece.

Staker | 5/5 |


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