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Arena - Songs From The Lion's Cage CD (album) cover





3.86 | 392 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Arena? Guarenteed every time.

Even 10 years after the launching of Songs from the Lions Cage, the sound's fantastically bombastic. Powerful prog done with experience and a keen sense of melody.

Fans of complex and pushed-forward progressive, this is not for you. Arena never really invented a genre, instead they improved a formula popularized by Marillion by pumping up the VU meter on the producer's mixing console. Bigger sound and harder edge, néo-prog needed that intensively. The néo-prog genre tends to be more sappy, melancolic and generally more on the softer side. While Pendragon, Marillion, IQ, Illuvatar and other such are betting on harmony, softeness and many times marshmallow-lame-afternoon-soap- opera, Arena is standing on the edge of mental anxiety and questionning. This gives the lyrics a dramatic sense but on the darker side of life. On paper this could sound rather negative or depressive, but with the music it takes a real sense.

With the Visitor album, this album is at the top of the shelf. Why? The melodies are so keyboard-catchy and the songs are longer with some of the best they made. Give a listen to Solomon, Valley of the Kings and the Crying for Help suite. The melodies are simply carved for life in your head. Nolan and Pointer are really proving themselves to be a killer team as time goes by, but the icing is that it's been like that since the beginning!

If you're aiming for Arena be sure to know what you want. Don't expect complexity or stratospheric performances and long solos. This is not a performance band. The songs are done with energy and professionalism BUT the main goal of Arena is to entertain with good melodies. If you want catchy stuff with punch, passion and more attitude, you got it.

Despite being a Fish era inspired by Marillion record, this album stands for one of the best of the 90's. Arena really tooked an old recipe and shot some grandeur steroids in it's veins. This was supposed to be a one-time experience!

This records stands as a standard in the 90's renaissance of the genre. If you see it, don't think by the cover that it's another obscure band, this one's for real.

Menswear | 5/5 |


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