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





3.86 | 391 ratings

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4 stars Arena plays theatrical, synth-laden neo-prog with a harder edge. Later on, they would become more metallic with a prominent guitar.

At the point of their first album, they are derivative - mainly of Genesis-Marillion school (Arena's drummer was briefly in Marillion in the beginning, but this is emphasized only for marketing purposes, the main creative force here is the keyboardist Clive Nolan), and some Pink Floyd. But this is the case where an imitation is as good or better than the original (I refer to Marillion here, prog classics are untouchable :)).

Clive Nolan is a better " prog" composer (witness concise, but diverse Out of the wilderness, and epic drama of Solomon with a huge instrumental break and ecstatic Pink-floydian outro), singing is as good (Nolan isn't the singer. Vocals would get even more expressive later on), lyrics, although Fish from Marillion is also good, are deeper - or pretentious nonsense depending on your point of view - but Nolan's mastery of the metaphorical is undeniable. Like Genesis, or contemporaries Big Big Train, Arena just oozes refined Englishness. This Englishness is mythical of course, but so well marketed.

Progrussia | 4/5 |


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