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Arena - Pride CD (album) cover





3.64 | 336 ratings

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3 stars I've really struggled to write this review. It's almost impossible to say anything about this album, other than to point the reader squarely back in the direction of whatever I've said about 'songs from the lions cage'.

This really is disc 2 of that album, as opposed to a wholly separate entity. The first track references the former album's title ' naming itself 'welcome to the cage', and, indeed, the enumeration of the interspersed 'crying for help' tracks continues where they left off on 'songs'', starting at number 5.

Musically, this is still a strong album, and compliments well what has been laid down on 'songs''. In particular, the track "Fools Gold" captivates the listener, with its diversity and intelligence. This album still feels very Marillion-esque, albeit more a kind of concentrating inward collapsing of both eras of Marillion ' there are shades of both Fish and Hogarth here.

There's not a lot else, though. And that's really the problem. A few tracks in, I'm left thinking that I should put 'Clutching at Straws' on, rather than yearning to hear more from Arena. They have placed themselves in a competition they cannot hope to win ' especially when one bears in mind that this album and its predecessor were released at a time when Marillion were at the top of their game, presenting our ears with 'Brave'.

In addition, one can't help but feel that, when one combines this with 'Songs from the lion's cage', it feels a little longer than necessary - A feeling not helped by the album closer, Sirens, which at times meanders in such a way as to make one suspect its inclusion was related to some arbitrary need for a song of epic length.

Given its close ties with 'Songs'', I feel the only sensible thing to do is to rate it identically to that album. Again, it manages to be 'Good, but not essential' whilst sadly putting itself in direct competition with some truly essential albums.


stranded_starfish | 3/5 |


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