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Arena - The Seventh Degree of Separation CD (album) cover





3.47 | 346 ratings

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3 stars This album rocks! That would follow since it's a rock album. But it is not a Neo Prog album though?

But it is a disappontment...

The addition of Manzi appears to have complemented the Arena brand. Whilst Sowden took (by his own admission) some time to accept the mantle thrown off by Carson and Wrightson and make the vocals his own, Manzi has brought a completely new dimension, heavy, gravely and accomplished. Reminiscent of another vocalist, but his name escapes me, similarities, perhaps, to John Payne of Asia??

Jowitt however needs no explanation as he's revered in most prog circles?

The five year hiatus has seen much change in the circumstances of all the individuals within Arena, so the change in soundscape and direction will come as probably no surprise; occasional elements of previous albums do surface but the overall effect is rockier, punchier and has far more pace.

But how does this fit with its predecessors? It doesn't! Think of the way that Asia went off the boil, this too falls into that category. All the musicianship is obviously superb ? it's just that it's no longer Arena anymore, natural progression aside this is still a step too far from what went before. And as for the tag 'Neo Prog' this certainly ain't! Hard Rock, AOR, or even 'cross over' would be more suitable.

I was eagerly waiting this arrival and I feel let down and disappointed.

So how do I score this? As a comparison to their previous work it falls well short, but as a stand alone album it fairs much better, though as I stated before it is hardly neo prog. So I fear with that the most I can give is a paltry 3 stars.

huge | 3/5 |


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