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Asia - Arena CD (album) cover

ARENA

Asia

 

Prog Related

3.18 | 106 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jazzywoman
4 stars This is Asia turely at a high mark for progressive lovers. Geoff Downes and John Payne stray away from mainstream prog pop long enough to release this great album. The music is a mix of mainstream pop, progressive rock, progressive metal, and symphonic touches that make the album truely stand out in the Asia catolouge as their most defined work, besides their debut and Phoenix (the latter being the all-time best Asia album, in opinion).

1.Into the Arena - A short but slightly ethnic fusion track. The mellow keyboards with the bongos go well with the jazzy guitar playing. The nylon string guitar played along side the electric guitar makes for an interesting sound and one that should not be forgotten. (9/10)

2.Arena - Lush keyboards really define the song. Though not as jazzy and different as the opening track, it's a fast paced rocker that is much different than other Asia tracks. The lyrics aren't as bad as previous songs from other albums, but they do not interest. The track is excellent and a great way to enter the concept of Arena. (9.5/10)

3.Heaven - A more notable rocker, with a delayed guitar riff entering the song, headfirst, then synth sounds stard to unravel. The track is stronger than the first two, but the quality is much different, as it has a different type of sound. Vocals are fine, and the lyrics are fairly good. The chorus sounds like traditional Asia, but more symphonic. (7.5/10)

4.Two Sides of The Moon - One of the few subpar tracks from the album. It's a more or so standard affair of pop rock that dosent really catch anyones ears, but it is still fairly well played for being pop. The lyrics aren't as good as previous songs, and the vocal melody really dosent keepany interest in this already boring, albeit lush, track. (6.5/10)

5.The Day Before the War - Easily the best track of the album, it's actually a mini-epic type of track, clocking in at nine minutes, is some symphonic beauty to be heard. The opening keyboards are fairly dark, along with some isolated guitars make this a bleak introduction, in a good way. The track soon lightens up as the rest of the band joins, but still has a fairly intense and progressive type of sound throughout the song. The song goes through many hanges and is truely awesome with it's near perfect lyrics, as well. A near masterpiece, one of the best tracks from a prog related band I have heard. (10/10)

6.Never - A more poppy track that is very uninteresting, to say the least. The guitar playing is nice, but after a masterpiece of track five, it's fairly hard to followup with a mellow, upbeat pop rock track to a symphonic masterpiece. (7/10)

7.Falling - A more reflective piece of music, as the intro glides with a fairly intense and shimmering view. The track soon turns into a dark rocker, with very intense synth sounds. Standard beat is played with some jazz guitar, a nice song indeed. (8/10)

8.Words - The track is nice, symphonic, and a great shorter track. Though it does not contain some of the jazzier elements of before tracks, the acoustic guitar and excellent vocals more than make up for it. Some may call is pop, but the subtle changes in the track make it worthwhile. (8.5/10)

9.You Bring Me Down - Another fine track, almost of epic proportions of track five, but more subdued and darker. The guitar riff is definatly one of the best I have heard, and the keyboards are truely intense and have some type of techonology base, almost futuristic sounding. Fine lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation follow the musical journey, and almost sounds a bit like Uriah Heep. Another masterpiece of emotions and darkness. (10/10)

10.Tell Me Why - A ballad type of song, and again, does not live up to the track that was before it. Lyrics are the most uninteresting in this track. This has some decent instrumentation, but lacks any fire that makes the track listenable. (6.5/10)

11.Turn it Around - Asia returns to a slightly jazzier type of sound for this track, and it really does show up well as the track is sophisticated with excellent keyboards and guitar playing. Great vocals and lyrics too. (8.5/10)

12.Bella Nova - A fairly dramatic closer to an excellent album, with a more complex type of track, Asia pull out some fine chops and happyness that was only found on some tracks that were near unlistenable. Keyboards and bass playing are well played over the intense, though soft, drum playing. (8.5/10)

Though this album has a few flaws, it has Asia prog classics and is the most lush and symphonic of their releases in the 1990s. A great way to end their 90s discovery, with a slightly jazzy feel, and great instrumentation. I was thinking about giving the album 5 stars, but there are just a few too many flaws to give it that rating, so 4 stars it is. The album is a must have in your collection.

Jazzywoman | 4/5 |

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