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Arena - Pride CD (album) cover





3.64 | 336 ratings

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5 stars This was my introduction to Arena, just another chance encounter in the local music store, atracted by the typical 80's/90's progressive covers, and recognising the names Nolan and Pointer from resp. Pendragon and Marillion (two of my favourite bands at the time). I listened the album at the store, and it only took me 30 seconds to recognise the style as the kind of music I like, heavy and symphonic like the early work of Marillion so i bought the album and became a big fan of Arena's music.

The music on this album is a continuation of the style and format Arena used for their great debut album 'Songs from the lions cage' (which i bought shortly after this album) heavy bombastic symphonic rock songs separated by quieter musical interludes (The crying for help songs).

The Crying for help songs are nice, but don't stand well when judged on their own merit, but within the confines of the album I enjoy the soft instrumental breaks, the songs range from soft accoustic guitar parts, a piano part, an accapella piece (great voice from Paul Wrightson, always make me smile, bordering on cringe level, but great nontheless) and a synthesised piece which i don't really like, being the last part of the Crying for Help series.

The album starts with the rocker "Welcome To The Cage" which always reminds me of Market Square Heroes from Marillion, with hints of Camel's Aristillus and even Queens We Will Rock You (you have to want to hear it very badly else you won't hear the last reference) very fast heavy keyboards, great guitars and bass and a great voice that takes the song to great heights. after the accoustic guitar based "Crying" track we get the first of three long songs "Empire of a thousand days" which again echoes the roots of neo-prog with a Marillionesque sound, though heavier than Marillion ever played, great lyrics and compelling guitar and Bass. A great song.

"Medusa" is one of my least favourite tracks, very nice and even good on occasion, I like to hear it once in a while, but not up to par with the rest of the material. Fool's Gold is another heavy rocker, in the same vein as Empire, Out Of The Wilderness (from the previous album) and again early Marillion tracks very heavy and bombastic, with very good bass guitar lines, and fabulously sung.

Like the previous album Pride closes with an Epic Song, the lyrics tell the story of a ship at sea caught in a hurricane, and the lyrics and music are in perfect sinc. very heavy parts, and suddenly the boat floats in the eye of the storm, the music displaying that calmth perfectly only to reach full force again as the ship get's caught in the storm again and eventually crashes in the rocks. very fabulous song listen to it yourself if you get the chance.

This is one of the great albums of neo-progressive rock and a must for all who like the neo-sound. Highly recommended, and I can't reward it with less than 5 stars.

tuxon | 5/5 |


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