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Arena - The Visitor CD (album) cover





4.04 | 674 ratings

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4 stars Arena - The Visitor (1998)

The Awakening of a neo-giant.

As Arena was the first progressive group I discovered I was exposed to this album quite early in my progressive search. What is a concept album? What makes music progressive? Why these strange theatrical vocals? I had never heard early Marillion or Genesis and didn't know why. What I did know was that tracks like A Crack in the Ice and The Hanging Tree continued to make me shiver after repeated listenings.

Nowadays my affinity with the neo-prog genre is very low since I got into the classic prog era of '69-'75 and I only listen to vinyl records. But once in a while (when my pick-up cartridge is broken) I listen to my golden oldies, which are in fact more modern then my current favourites. The Visitor is one of them, though I thing Immortal? and Contagion are better.

Highlights on the Visitor are the guitar- and vocalparts on Crack in the Ice, the perfect guitar solo on Elea, every single note played on the Hanging Tree, the emotional Tears in the Rain, the fast and serious Running from Damascus and the comeback of the solotheme of The Hanging Tree on the Visitor track. All other tracks are quite good too. The album also has some problems. The production of some tracks isn't that good, mainly in the moment their are quick changes in the music. Also some simple tracks on the album aren't that essential. The clear link between this record and early Marillion can also be interpreted as a lack of an own sound. Others might see this as a continuation of something that was good in the past. My point of view lies in the middle.

Conclusion. A great neo-prog record with a nice concept that isn't too original, but acceptable as it is. Some moments could have been recorded better in my opinion, so I will not give the four star rating. A very strong three stars it is then! A classic of the genre.

friso | 4/5 |


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