Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Arlon - On the Edge CD (album) cover




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Poland in the last years has been absolutely active in the musical area, especially in the Prog Rock area. There are tons of albums being released and bands beginning every year. I mentioned that in my Soma White review ( a few months ago and since then I've received other three albums from the country. Some people say that Sweden is a place with 'special water' because of the quantity of bands that come from there. I say that Poland has even more special one.

Arlon was formed in 2009 by Paweł Zwirn (drums), he joined forces with Paweł Szykuła (vocals), Wiesław Rutka (guitars), Maciej Napieraj (bass) and Jacek Szott (keyboards and saxophones) and started to work on their first album On The Edge (2013) recently released by Pronet Records.

As soon as track one 'On The Edge' starts you can immediately hear Riverside's influence. The same kind of Heavy Prog that is full of melodic moments and good keyboards. In Arlon's case even better because Jacek Szott plays not only the keyboards but also saxophones. A very good opening track. 'Dream' keeps the Heavy Prog path with style. Paweł Szykuła vocals are something apart. Usually Prog bands don't have vocalists with lower pitch voices, but Paweł's voice is lower and it gives them a bit of character. The middle part brings solo moments: Jacek's keyboards, then a very nice bass solo by Maciej Napieraj and then the Wiesław Rutka guitars. Another great track.

'Everything For Her' is more of a ballad, with keyboards and acoustic guitars as the main voices. In the middle Paweł Zwirn's drums go a bit wild with guitars as the background. Jacek plays very well his role in the band, smart keyboards all around. Not just that, once again his saxophone makes the difference in the sound, even if it's just for a short period. The follow up track 'Lies' has bass and saxophone playing the main melody together right in the intro and then everything turn to be more somber for a second in a suspense soundtrack kind of mood. When the verses come we have a very heavy and syncopated riff. Pawel's vocals reminded me of Marillion s vocalist Steve Hogart a bit. Towards the end the synths announce a change in the pace of the song, now frantic.

When 'The Key' starts we have a mid-tempo track with great mood created by the keyboards. This one's very Riverside like, and maybe a bit too long. The next track, 'It's Your Day' has a very good riff in the intro, but soon the track follows a Marillion line. Then we have 'Equals', the only instrumental track on On The Edge (2013). 'Equals' is different than one could imagine. Arlon follows pretty much the exact path of the other tracks. Usually instrumental tracks are used as scapegoats for musicians to show off, here the band keeps itself on the rails.

'Can I' is the next track and it starts and if it wasn't by the saxophones I would say it's just the continuation of the previous track. Just around the second minute we have some change. But it's a bit too late already. By the time 'Was It Worth It' begins we already know what kind of track On The Edge (2013) will bring us. It's a mid-tempo melancholic track.

Arlon's first album On The Edge (2013) was a good surprise, beginning with the great artwork and cover. Although in some moments the band sounds a bit too much like their compatriots, Riverside the overall result is quite positive.

On The Edge (2013) will make every Heavy Prog fan satisfied as we have many interesting parts to make you listen the album again. Great debut.

(Originally posted on

Report this review (#1064525)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Just when I thought I was finally getting my "best of 2013" lists together, the Polish band Arlon comes out of nowhere to knock me silly. The glorious artwork immediately nabbed my attention, and I HAD to hear it. Now, seeing as they are from Poland, most people (even I) would be tempted to claim Riverside as an influence to Arlon. This might be the truth, I don't know; but I want to promote these guys by saying that they have their own sound and their own ideas.

And just what is that sound? It is melancholy, pensive, and atmospheric. It is jazzy, well- structured, and brilliantly performed. In other words, somewhat like Riverside, but possibly more akin to Votum. Yes, it riffy, bassy, and keys-soaked, too. We get excellent, even technical drums, high-tuned guitar work that always catches my attention, and a driving bass style that moves the music along without overdoing it. One of the more unexpected sounds to hear on "On the Edge" is the inclusion of a saxophone. And, boy, is it done well. The sax is strong and leading, instead of being noodly. When it hits, it hits hard and you won't soon forget it.

As for the vocalist, Pawel has a thick Polish accent that I feel doesn't hold him back at all. I know accents bother some people, but they never bother me. Pawel's accent is strong, but he manages to master his lines and still have time to be emotive and thoughtful. His deeper tone is also less common in prog, so I really enjoyed his performance.

Again and again, "On the Edge" has drawn me in a little closer. I can't help it. This album is rank with mood and incredible instrumental passages that utilize technicality (sometimes), jazz, soulful guitar solos, and soaring synth lines that all lead back into the dense vocals. The tracks "On the Edge", "Dream", "It's Your Day", and "Can I" are all my favorites, though I must point out that every track is beauteous in its own way. But, when a band includes an audacious, smoldering guitar riff and a brooding bass line with ascending, ever ascending, keyboard melodies that feel so darn colossal, you know that I will be paying attention. And you know that I will love it.

So, I've got to make room. The "best of 2013" just got a little more crowded as I want to give Arlon's debut album top marks. I know that some people like to avoid giving a debut album such high acclaim, but I'm not afraid to give credit where credit is due. Arlon's debut album is one of my favorites of 2013.

Report this review (#1069223)
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars really

Everybody knowing that Poland is one of the premier league countries when is coming about neo prog genre. This style is very popular there for decades already and in each year are born more and more acts who embrace this style. One of the new younger band are Arlon. Formed in 2009 and releasing so far in 2013 their first offer named On the edge. What I was instantly hooked on this album was the melodical aproach to ther music, they play a type of neo prog here and there metalized little bit, but never sounding like a prog metal band in the end, something between in their most heavier parts with Riversidea and aswell with their country friends AnVision and in the calmer sections with let's say Collage. The voice of Pawel Szykula is excellent, he has a very warm tone in his voice fiting perfectly in this type of music. The passages are very melodical with nice guitar parts, even great in some places, a very well balance between melodic aproach and more heavier parts, very good. Pieces like opening On The Edge, Dream, It's Your Day or the excellent instrumental Equals, showing that Arlon has pontential in this scene and they are talented bunch of musicians. In the end a a nice towards great release, that worth to be investigated. 3,5 stars for sure.

Report this review (#1123406)
Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Arlon is yet another newcomer in the flowering Polish prog scene, a culturally rich country that embraces mind music like no other. The list of sonically spectacular releases from this European icon is there for all to behold. Arlon has garnered rave reviews for their debut, a neo-prog thriller that has a slew of interesting attributes that make them somewhat unique. Firstly, one will notice a vocalist (Pawel Szykula) with a deep and rich voice, slightly accented low end version of Simple Minds Jim Kerr but not enough to detract. It does however need to getting used to, as the first impression will throw you slightly off. Keyboardist Jacek Szott also doubles on sax, a seductive instrument that deserves way more prog attention as well as writing all of the material. The tracks are littered with marvellous saxophone intercessions, giving the music an unbelievable warmth and jazzy expanse. Polish bands are well-known for sailing with superb rhythm crews and this one is no exception, as both bassist Maciej Napieraj and drummer Pawel Zwirn provided vivid pulse to the proceedings, with the latter having an affinity for double-bass drumming that swerves near metal territory. Lastly guitarist Wieslaw Rutka shines brightly when needed, which is obviously often in the course of the arrangements. These lads play as a team, no show-off tendencies here as they all adhere in harmony with each other. They also provide a rich palette of intelligent detail, whether mixing acoustic and electric guitar, providing ample space for some glittering piano or that shimmering sax alluded to previously. All the tracks fall in the 5 to 7+ minute range, stating what is needed and moving swiftly to the next chapter.

Highlights are found in each track, such as the glowing title song opener 'On the Edge' , a savvy concoction with swelling drums, adamant piano motifs, hurtling guitar riffs and the first earful of Szykula' s distinctive voice timbre. The sexy sax takes its first cameo spotlight, providing some sensorial backdrop to the otherwise cool instrumentation, a rather interesting factor that makes their music matchless.

'Dream' sort segues nicely, slightly more obvious and carefree with a Collage-like groove, emotional chorus that soars nicely, organ swells and a series of solos (fluttering synth, bass modulations and some fret board luminescence). Another pleasant track.

But from here on, the quality elevates to dizzying heights with a series of pulsating tunes with memorable choruses that take the listener to the finish line. 'Everything For Her' is the obligatory 'change of pace' prog ballad, nudging closer to Believe and Satellite material, pretty, acoustic, straight forward and breezy. There is a sense of deja entendu ('heard before' for you unilinguals), the saxophone weaving its magic once again, convincingly seducing the listener.

The tremendous 'Lies' sets sail with an initial duet between bass and alto sax eventually blooming into a more piano-driven affair, Szott displaying delicate touches and innate musical skills. A blaring synth revives the edgier side with unabashed glee, kicking the proceedings up a notch, while proposing jazzy undertones with a cool acoustic guitar solo, partnered by an electric foray. Its companion piece, 'The Key' just ratchets up the power, veering into Arena/Pendragon/Riverside- like horizons, unlocking various muscular options in the listener's mind. Rutka let's fly an elongated, soaring and searing solo, very measured and restrained but bristling with sparks.

'It's Your Day' alternates power and finesse, a rambling exercise that convinces from the get-go, a roller coaster of emotions built on the stark contrasts, typical of modern neo-prog, keeping things fresh and vibrant. Once again, the main melody is quite memorable, intense and gratifying but it's the intrepid interplay between the musicians that sparks pangs of excitement. The instrumental workout 'Equals' serves not to diminish the vocal talent but rather show off the technical talents of each member and as such, deserves the highest accolades. Rutka in particular carves some stellar lines, vivacious and resourceful. Keyboard work is stunning as well as the bass/drum combo.

'Can I 'has that sweet saxophone smoking again, this time caressing the guitar with jazzy seduction, then morphing into a straightforward Cartesian rocker, guitars ablaze and beats galore. A good composition but not as good as the rest.

'Was it Worth It' is the finale and the longest title, clocking in at 7.22. The shuffling drum pattern keeps the mood vibrant, Jacek Szott's piano cattily agreeing to play along, increasing tiers of dense symphonics are layered to create a sense of magnitude that is very noticeable and satisfying. The extended guitar escapade will please the axe-fans out there, the marshaling beat will supply the right amount of power and we will all agree that it's a pretty cool ride.

Classic prog cover and artwork only add to the pleasure of such a surprising discovery! This may be a band to watch in the future, a promising formula that should consider keeping that sax around, to keep us excited and aroused.

4 nearby precipices

Report this review (#1136595)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
3 stars One of the many Polish prog bands popping up since Poland gained its new independence following the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, ARLON emerged from the tiny city of Przemyśl which is located in the extreme southeastern part of the nation literally on the border with the Ukraine. I actually had the opportunity to stay in that city for one night passing through when i was traveling in that region. The band that plays a mix of classic progressive rock with a touch of neo-prog has been an industrious act playing numerous rock festivals since its inception in 2009 such as The Festival of Progressive Rock in Gniewkowo, The Cieszanoow Rock Festival, Prog The Night as well as playing at Rock Area on Stage in Katowice which was a one time event that featured a guest appearance from Clive Nolan of Arena and Pendragon fame.

So far in 2024, ARLON has released two albums, this debut ON THE EDGE in 2013 followed by a sophomore album "Mimetic Desires" two years later in 2015. The band lineup has remained consistent since 2012 and includes Paweł Zwirn (drums), Wiesław Rutka (guitar, lyricist), Maciej Napieraj (bass), Jacek Szott (saxophone, keyboards, vocals, composer, lyricist) and Paweł Szykuła (vocals). The band was founded by drummer Pawel Zwirn. The main composer has been Jacek Szott and although emerging from a very far removed enclave in Poland, ARLON recognized the international appeal and unlike some Polish bands delivers all lyrics in the English language. ON THE EDGE is a lengthy album at nearly 58 minutes and features 9 tracks.

ARLON delivers a dreamy type of neo-prog with a blend of jazzy saxophone, soft-spoken vocals and heavy emphasis on atmospheres. The guitars play clean and soft most of the time but the band has adopted the more modern trends of using heavier guitar riffing for contrast. The band recorded their debut at the Studio Underground in nearby Rzeszˇw, a nearby business hub that is surprisingly economically robust and teaming with activity considering it is the largest city in southeastern Poland with a population of nearly 200,000 inhabitants. I also had the pleasure to spend a night there and it was much more vibrant than i could've imagined so an obvious attraction point for Polish bands of that region of Poland. ON THE EDGE easily escaped the narrow focus of its homeland and was received by many nations in Europe, the USA as well as being praised in nations like Egypt and Brazil.

ON THE EDGE is a decent if rather safely played style of neo-prog. It gets the job done but doesn't quite add that extra sauce that makes the band really stand out like bands such as Abraxas and Quidam did right from the very start. Firstly the compositions while nicely played and competently delivered just lack any kind of bite really. The band seems to lack a signature sound at this point while its getting its feet wet in the recording process. Likewise i find lead singer Pawel Szykula's vocal range to be a bit limiting and neo-prog bands really need a strong frontman to animate the musical style but on a positive note the rest of the band is tight and delivers a convincing style of neo-prog however the drums could be perhaps a bit more nuanced. Like most neo-prog, the keys play a major part and ARLON covers that arena quite well. I've been reading that the band really stepped things up with its sophomore release "Mimetic Desires" so i'm curious to find out if that is indeed the case.

Overall a decent slice of second rate neo-prog but doesn't quite deliver with enough passion and bravado to make it a compelling listening experience. Neo-prog can be so magical if done properly and in this case it sounds like a band still finding its way through the long and arduous process of self-discovery. I absolutely love the album cover though, one of the coolest depictions of a triumphant successful ascent to a celestial body lurking overhead above the some sort of ancient fortress. It's surprising the band only has two albums under its belt as it's not apparent that it has disbanded but as things go musicians have other lives to attend to and it's never clear how long hiatuses will last so anything is possible in the wild and unpredictable world we find ourselves in these days. This album is pleasant but does rise much more above that.

Report this review (#3055699)
Posted Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Review Permalink

ARLON On the Edge ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of ARLON On the Edge

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.