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Arena - Pride CD (album) cover

PRIDE

Arena

 

Neo-Prog

3.68 | 235 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I had a hard time with this album, since I bought it right after I had fell in love with Arena when I heard their brilliant The Visitor CD. There´s the problem when you start by an artist´s masterpiece: their previous effords usually sound inferior. It took a long, long time to finally appreciate Pride for its own right. Even their astonishing debut Songs From The Lion´s Cage did not get my full atention at the time either, for the same reason. Anyway, they both are excellent works, even if different from their latter and more personal sound.

Pride was the follower of the band´s debut, an year before. Although the first to feature singer Paul Wrightson and bassist John Jowitt (IQ, Jadis) it kind of disappointed fans because the songs were basicly more of the same and the songwriting this time was not so strong. Which doesn´t mean they were not very good. In fact, the album includes what is generally considered to be their best epic ever, the 13+ minutes opus Sirens. That track alone is worth the price of the CD, but since it was put last in the tracklist, not too many people notice at the time how strong and powerful this song was (and a hint of things to come). Besides, there were another excellent stuff here like Empire Of The Thousand Days and Medusa. The playing is also terrific: Clive Nolan´s stunning ´wall´ of keyboards sounds never fails to impress, Keith More´s guitar is highly emotional and melodic, Jowitt is one of prog´s best bass players and Wrightson proves why he is considered Arena´s best remembered vocalist (even though he sings too much like Fish for his own good).

The problem here seems to be that the songs are not as exceptional as they were on Songs... and the sequence of the tracks could be changed for a better flow of the tunes. Besides, the Cry For Help interludes don´t work so well on Pride as they did on their debut. I guess those small problems contributed a lot for the misplacing of the otherwise excellent set of songs.

In the end I found Pride to be better than I initially thought it was. The `Marillion syndrome´ is again present (it was excusable since Arena did include one ex member of that band and by the fact that Marillion itself resembled nothing of their former glory by that time). But they were already showing they were firmly heading towards their very unique sound and personality. It may not be as remarkable as their previous one, nor a masterpiece of prog music as its follow up, but it was still a strong collection of fine songs. final rating: a little more than 3.5 stars.

A must have to any neo prog fan, and recommended to anyone who likes fine, melodic symphonic prog music.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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