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Arena - The Visitor  (Revisited) CD (album) cover

THE VISITOR (REVISITED)

Arena

Neo-Prog


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4 stars A great album, and surely a good addition to your Arena collection, a must have album for Arena fans really.

the first part of the album is an accoustic session featuring Nolan on keyboards, Mitchell on guitar and new-commer Rob Sowden on vocals, very good accoustic music, which shows another face of Arena, stripped down songs, away with the bombast that is an integral part of Arena's sound. And it gives Sowden a crack at the songs he wasn't part of.

The music is very good, well produced and close to the originals, mostly because these songs lends itself well for an accoustic treatment. Sowden performs very well, reaching the original vocals from Paul Wrightson. Nice element is the version of Only Child (Crying for help IV) all singers in Arena sang this song, starting with Carson on the debut, Wrightson on The Cry, and now Sowden gives it his best.

The second part is a live recording in Paradiso Amsterdam, with Paul Wrightson on vocals. Good live versions of some of my favourite Arena tracks. The Hanging Tree starts far more restrained and slow than the original, giving it a more sad sound in the beginning. The sound production is not optima forma, with the music a bit in the back, but that doesn't stop the version of Solomon being really great, play it loud.

The album ends with a demo version of Enemy without, with Clive on vocals, the song sounds pretty much finished, great version of one of my favourite Visitor tracks.

Great album, and worth every europenny. For fans of Arena this is a worthwile addition if your not a fan, you might enjoy the accoustic session, for it really are great versions of great songs.

Buy, Listen, Enjoy.

Report this review (#95391)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I feel that the title of this album is a bit misleading. It sounds as if it was a live version of their last album at that time, the very good "Visitor". Actually we will get three songs out of it indeed in a live version and another two during the acoustic set. A bonus track will feature the sixth track of this album.

This CD is made of two very distinguished part.

A full acoustic one featuring the new lead singer (and still in duty in 2007) Rob Sowden. At least Arena won't make the mistake that some other great bands have done. I mean changing completely the style of their lead vocalist (like Marillion have done). Rob sounds pretty much like Paul Wrightson. No dramatic change then, and it is a great relief.

This set will be the occasion for him to get familiarized with Arena's back catalogue. But, honestly, I have never been found of acoustic (unplugged) sets. My worst experience in the genre were some encore of a Who concert. Having suffered a lot during an acoustic version for "Won't Get Fooled Again" ! So my enthusiasm here is also limited. "Breathe" passes the test quite nicely and "Crying" as well of course (it was already an acoustic one in its studio version).

IMO, the most appealing part of this record, is the live one. Of course, "Jericho" and "Solomon" were already featured on "Welcome To The Stage" but they are so good that I can hardly blame Arena for proposing these ones here. Again, the highlights here.

The most interesting parts are the three songs from "Visitor" with Paul on the lead (although one is an instrumental). Sound is not that great, though.

Two of them were almost my preferred ones from the original album. These versions will be rather faithful to their originals (this was also the case with "Welcome To The Cage") with the exception of "The Hanging Tree". This part of this live set was recorded in The Netherlands. A country in which Arena has been very popular for a long time. They have played quite a lot there and I guess it was with a good feeling and full of confidence that the band recorded these live tracks in this country.

I like very much "Eloa" for its great guitar break. John (Michell) was really outstanding in this exercise on "The Visitor". "The Hanging Tree" sounds even more flamboyant that on the original release, a bit slower but so emotional. A very good moment of this live set. "Solomon" being as usual the absolute highlight of this album.

This version of "Enemy Without" might be funny, but confirms that Clive is a great and gifted composer and keyboard player; but he definitely needs to stick to backing vocals at best.

This album will please any Arena lovers but I doubt that if you are new to the band, it will turn you into a fan. It is in fact not really an official release. It will be published in what the band calls "The Cage CD's Collection". Some CD's produced in limited quantities of which most of them are out of print by now. I will rate this with three stars but honestly, I am a bit generous. For die-hard fans.

Report this review (#122731)
Posted Friday, May 18, 2007 | Review Permalink

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