Header

SONGS FROM THE LION'S CAGE

Arena

Neo-Prog


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Arena Songs From The Lion's Cage album cover
3.87 | 288 ratings | 40 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


Write a review
Buy ARENA Music
from Progarchives.com partners
Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Out Of The Wilderness (8:02)
2. Crying For Help I (1:22)
3. Valley Of The Kings (10:10)
4. Crying For Help II (3:08)
5. Jericho (6:50)
6. Crying For Help III (4:24)
7. Midas Vision (4:36)
8. Crying For Help IV (5:05)
9. Solomon (14:37)

Total Time: 58:22

Lyrics

Search ARENA Songs From The Lion's Cage lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search ARENA Songs From The Lion's Cage tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- John Carson / vocals and backing vocals
- Keith More / guitars
- Clive Nolan / keyboards and backing vocals
- Cliff Orsi / bass and backing vocals
- Mick Pointer / drums
- Steve Rothery / guitar (#8)
- Tracy Hitchings, Tosh McMann, Martin Albering, and Marc Van Dongen / backing vocals

Releases information

VERGLAS #VGCD001

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to arbrzo for the last updates
Edit this entry

ARENA MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

Buy ARENA Songs From The Lion's Cage Music


Breakfast in BiarritzBreakfast in Biarritz
Import
Inside Out Germany 2003
Audio CD$101.07
$4.50 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
The Who "The Kids Are Alright Tour" 1987 Wembley Arena ticket US $20.08 Buy It Now 43m 50s
Duran Duran Arena Live 1984 - Great Condiition M- US $4.00 [0 bids]
49m 14s
Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe 1989 Wembley Arena ticket (Yes) US $13.39 Buy It Now 1h 40m
INTO THE ARENA ~ THE SOUNDS ALBUM VOL 7 ~ Various Artists ~ VINYL LP US $7.51 Buy It Now 3h 4m
KIM MITCHELL - Itch CD AOR/Arena Rock 1994 US $5.00 Buy It Now 4h 3m
TINA ARENA "IN DEEP" CASSETTE TAPE US $15.06 Buy It Now 4h 11m
Duran Duran - Arena - LP Record NM NM US $6.99 Buy It Now 4h 22m
Duran Duran Arena UK vinyl LP album record DD2 PARLOPHONE 1984 US $37.74 Buy It Now 4h 30m
Arena Duran Duran vinyl LP album record USA SWAV-12374 CAPITOL 1984 US $37.74 Buy It Now 4h 30m
Fats Waller Ain't Misbehavin' Design/Arena Label Cassette Tape - TESTED US $10.04 Buy It Now 5h 21m
DURAN DURAN - ARENA CD - BRAZIL - 1st ISSUE 1989 - 368 746048 2 - MEGA RARE! US $25.00 [0 bids]
US $34.00 Buy It Now
6h 48m
TINA ARENA - JUST ME [BONUS TRACKS] - NEW CD US $11.86 Buy It Now 7h 13m
Japan ARASHI All Arena Tour Join the STORM 2001-2002 official poster US $29.99 Buy It Now 7h 16m
Japan ARASHI All Arena Tour Join the STORM 2001-2002 official poster US $39.99 Buy It Now 7h 16m
TINA ARENA Chains OZ CD 4 track Single 1994 US $7.48 Buy It Now 7h 20m
Dick's Picks, Vol. 5: Oakland Auditorium Arena by Grateful Dead OUT OF PRINT US $250.00 Buy It Now 7h 23m
The Better Button by Mink Lungs (The) (CD, Jul-2005, Arena Rock Recording Com... US $3.77 [0 bids]
US $5.77 Buy It Now
7h 35m
"Arena" by Duran Duran Vinyl LP Album (SWAV-12374) US $19.99 Buy It Now 8h
TINA ARENA DON'T ASK CD US $5.99 Buy It Now 8h 12m
Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (NEW CD) US $11.28 Buy It Now 9h 29m
AC/DC London Wimbley Arena 1991 Vol 1 LIVE IMPORT CONCERT CD US $35.00 Buy It Now 9h 46m
MARSUPILAMI - ARENA (UK) NEW CD US $24.46 Buy It Now 10h 26m
Drum & Bass Arena (Mixed by DJ Randall) (3 X CD) US $5.00 Buy It Now 10h 28m
Tina Arena - In Deep (US Version) and Je Mappelle Bagdad CDs US $11.00 [0 bids]
US $16.00 Buy It Now
11h
DURAN DURAN ARENA RECORDED AROUND THE WORLD 1984 US $2.50 [0 bids]
US $5.00 Buy It Now
11h 40m
Tina Arena - Chains - Music cd EP US $6.61 Buy It Now 11h 43m
Tina Arena - Dont Ask CD (1994) US $5.00 Buy It Now 11h 51m
J POP AYUMI HAMASAKI ARENA TOUR 2005 MY STORY 3DVD US $49.99 Buy It Now 12h 50m
HEART Magazine LP OOP late-70's arena-rock Mushroom US $2.99 Buy It Now 13h 7m
Arena - Radiance [CD New] US $24.99 Buy It Now 13h 16m
Pedro Vargas "Ahora" Arena de otras playas" Tiempo" LP VG+ RCA/MKS2082 US $5.52 [0 bids]
13h 23m
BILLY IDOL - Live at Wembley Arena - ORIGINAL DVD NEW SEALED !!! US $17.99 Buy It Now 13h 27m
LOVERBOY Keep It Up LP OOP early-80's arena-rock Mike Reno US $2.99 Buy It Now 13h 50m
ALDO NOVA s/t LP OOP early-80's arena-rock Northern Lights US $2.99 Buy It Now 13h 56m
Tina Arena , Audio CD, Chains US $7.09 Buy It Now 14h 6m
LOVERBOY Wildside LP OOP SEALED late-80's arena-rock US $3.99 Buy It Now 14h 10m
12 Inch Raheem 5th Ward/Bumbudclot/Death In The Arena US $3.75 Buy It Now 14h 11m
LOVERBOY Lovin' Every Minute LP OOP SEALED mid-80's arena-rock US $3.99 Buy It Now 14h 13m
ARENA SWEDEN - ARENA SWEDEN CD US $9.99 Buy It Now 14h 24m
AFI I Heard a Voice: Live from Long Beach Arena (CD 2003) (A Fire Inside) US $9.85 Buy It Now 14h 52m
AC/DC 1996 Nynex Arena, Manchester Concert Ticket stub US $15.06 Buy It Now 15h 35m
Tina Arena / Vous Etes Toujours La CD + w/obi -import * NEW SEALED US $23.74 Buy It Now 15h 40m
Pet Shop Boys - Pandemonium-Live At The O2 Arena London-12/21/2009 [CD New] US $25.98 Buy It Now 15h 49m
Iron Maiden ticket Long Beach Arena California 22/02/91 US $16.73 Buy It Now 16h 11m
Iron Maiden ticket Long Beach Arena California 17/02/87 US $16.73 Buy It Now 16h 11m
FOREIGNER Head Games LP OOP late-70's arena-rock US $2.99 Buy It Now 16h 28m
Greatest Hits 1994-2004 - Tina Arena (2004, CD New) US $17.37 Buy It Now 16h 31m
BIFFY CLYRO - 2013 TOUR FLYER - RARE LIVE CONCERT MUSIC OPPOSITES ARENA PROMO US $6.66 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Evanescence Bring Me To Paris (live) US $10.77 [0 bids]
US $26.66 Buy It Now
16h 51m
Arena by Duran Duran (CD, Dec-1984, Capitol/EMI Records) US $4.00 Buy It Now 17h 28m
Duran Duran Arena Capitol SWAV-12374 1984 NM GF LP US $29.99 Buy It Now 17h 59m
REGGAE/ Max Edwards - Rockers Arena (LP) US $24.99 Buy It Now 18h 3m
Tina Arena - IF I WAS RIVER (Mexican Promo Single) US $50.00 Buy It Now 18h 8m
Tina Arena - SONGS OF LOVE & LOSS (Deluxe Edition) US $75.00 Buy It Now 18h 8m
Tina Arena - DON'T ASK (Advanced Promo CD Sampler) US $50.00 Buy It Now 18h 8m
Tina Arena - The Flame (Australian Exclusive Promo CD) US $65.00 Buy It Now 18h 8m
Tina Arena - DON'T ASK (Special Edition w/ Slip Cover & Poster) US $50.00 Buy It Now 18h 8m
Tina Arena - SEGNALI DI FUMO (Jewel Case CD Single) US $50.00 Buy It Now 18h 8m
~ ARENA - THE SEVENTH DEGREE OF SEPARATION ~ MUSIC CD US $7.99 Buy It Now 18h 34m
Jesus Is a Friend of Mine [Digipak] by Sonseed (CD, 2009, Arena Rock (USA)) US $4.01 Buy It Now 18h 53m
Souvenirs by Tina Arena (CD, Nov-2000, Sony/Columbia) US $15.04 Buy It Now 18h 54m
A Dream in Sound by Elf Power (CD, Jul-2005, 2 Discs, Arena Rock (USA)) US $6.17 Buy It Now 18h 55m
Dick's Picks, Vol. 5: Oakland Auditorium Arena by Grateful Dead (CD,... US $89.99 Buy It Now 19h 9m
TINA ARENA I Need Your Body / Stagefright 1980's OZ 45 US $9.37 Buy It Now 19h 16m
DURAN DURAN ~ ARENA ~ JAPAN Made for USA ~ CD ~ RARE ~ 1st PRESS 1984 VG- US $22.95 Buy It Now 19h 24m
Darn Floor - Big Bite by Daniel Amos (CD, 2008, 2 Discs, Arena Rock (USA)) US $5.99 Buy It Now 19h 27m
LIVE JIMI HENDRIX 10/10/1968 WINTERLAND ARENA SAN FRANCISCO CA VOL 1 2CD US $24.99 Buy It Now 19h 41m
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Long Beach Arena 8/77 - NM US $18.00 Buy It Now 20h 12m
Night And Day - Patrick Arena (CD 2008) US $5.60 Buy It Now 20h 17m
LIVE LED ZEPPELIN 3/11/1975 LONG BEACH ARENA LIMITED EDITION 2CD US $59.99 Buy It Now 20h 24m
ARENA ROCK CLASSICS - NIGHT RANGER, CINDERELLA, KEVIN DUBROW, TRACII GUNS, PHIL US $4.25 Buy It Now 20h 33m
Bob Dylan Euro 2005 Manchester UK MEN Arena November 16 2005 US $9.99 [1 bids]
21h 21m
Duran Duran Arena 1984 Original LP Sealed US $7.00 [0 bids]
22h 20m
TINA ARENA In Deep CD NEW US $14.07 Buy It Now 23h 10m
TINA ARENA Just Me CD NEW US $14.07 Buy It Now 23h 10m
Le Grand Voci Dell' Arena Di Verona Vol 1, Various, Good Vinyl US $19.61 Buy It Now 23h 21m
TINA ARENA burn_RARE PROMO POSTER_ships from AUSTRALIA! US $28.23 Buy It Now 1 day
Persona 4 Arena And Devil Summoner:Soul Hackers Soundtracks US $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Mike Arena LITTLE BIG BAND - Vinyl LP VG+ / NM US $39.95 Buy It Now 1 day
SHINEE-JAPAN ARENA TOUR SHINEE WORLD 2013: NORMAL EDITION-JAPAN 2 DVD M76 US $61.50 Buy It Now 1 day
SHINEE-JAPAN ARENA TOUR SHINEE WORLD 2013: NORMAL EDITION-JAPAN 2 BLU-RAY P19 US $71.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ASIA-ARENA-JAPAN MINI LP BLU-SPEC CD LTD BONUS TRACK E50 US $25.50 Buy It Now 1 day
SHINEE-JAPAN ARENA TOUR SHINEE WORLD 2013: LIMITED EDITION-JAPAN 2 DVD T61 US $90.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SHINEE-JAPAN ARENA TOUR SHINEE WORLD 2013: LIMITED EDITION-JAPAN 2 BLU-RAY W04 US $101.99 Buy It Now 1 day
TINA ARENA "THE MACHINE'S BREAKING DOWN" 7in RECORD P/S US $16.94 Buy It Now 1 day
TINA ARENA SYMPHONY OF LIFE C.D. NEW US $5.24 Buy It Now 1 day
TINA ARENA SORRENTO MOON C.D. NEW US $5.24 Buy It Now 1 day
Willie Nelson(Vinyl LP)Love Songs-Arena-ARA 1009-UK-VG+/Ex US $30.29 Buy It Now 1 day
Willie Nelson(Vinyl LP)Love Songs-Arena-ARA 1009-UK-VG/Ex US $30.29 Buy It Now 1 day
Dick's Picks, Vol. 10: Winterland Arena, December 29, 1977 [Box] by Grateful... US $34.21 Buy It Now 1 day
Max Hits 1996 (18 tracks)- Enya,Oasis,Air Supply,Tina Arena,Seal,TLC,La Bouche US $7.52 Buy It Now 1 day
Arena,Tina - Greatest Hits 1994-2004 [CD New] US $17.99 Buy It Now 1 day
TRANCE EXPRESS end & start - Japan CD - NEW H.Garden DOMINION ARENA SWEET MOVES US $15.19 Buy It Now 1 day
ERIC CLAPTON super rare Japanese 2CD TANGLED IN LOVE London Wembley Arena 1985 US $39.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Arena - Contagion [CD New] US $23.73 Buy It Now 1 day
SYDNEY OLYMPICS 2000 OPENING CEREMONY CD (TINA ARENA/Olivia Newton John/FARNHAM US $14.07 Buy It Now 1 day
Ub40 Live (At The London O2 Arena) CD NEW (UK Import) US $14.62 Buy It Now 1 day
ARENA:RADIANCE US $11.70 Buy It Now 1 day
NEW - Dream On: The Best of Arena Rock Ballads US $4.71 Buy It Now 1 day
Smash Hits 95 CD VGC Corona Christine Anu Tina Arena Kylie Minogue Brownstone US $14.12 Buy It Now 1 day

More places to buy ARENA music online Buy ARENA & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for ARENA DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

ARENA Songs From The Lion's Cage ratings distribution


3.87
(288 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ARENA Songs From The Lion's Cage reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars What we have here are a future classic album in the progressive and symphonic genre. It has classical tracks such as "Out Of The Wilderness", "Valley Of The Kings" and the epic masterpiece "Solomon". Steve Rothery of MARILLION is doing a guest appearance on guitar on "Crying for Help IV". - ARENA was formed by the former MARILLION drummer Mick Pointer, who's also responsible for all of the song writing together with the keyboard player Clive Nolan (PENDRAGON, SHADOWLAND etc.). Keith More is doing a great job on his guitars. This album is very reminiscent to the FISH-era MARILLION albums but there's also reminiscences to both GENESIS and YES. - The music, the album cover, the musicianship and the production is top notch and there isn't really anything to complain about. If you liked the FISH-era MARILLION there's no doubt that you'll love this album as well. Recommended!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#935) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 04, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another neo progressive album in the MARILLION and PENDRAGON style. Many parts here (guitar solos, drums and keyboards) really sound like MARILLION in the FISH-era. (end of "Out of the Wilderness", "Valley of the Kings", "Jericho" ...)

"Crying For Help I" is a beautiful acoustic guitar track a la Steve HACKETT. "Crying For Help II" is a very symphonic track having a classical genre. (harpsichord-like) "Crying For Help III" is a floating new age track a la ENYA. "Midas Vision" has a GILMOUR-esque guitar solo that can be compared to "Time" on "Dark Side of the Moon".

Clive Nolan's moog solos a la MARILLION are very melodic and catchy. As a composer, he still shows us here that he can produce miscellaneous amazing sounds and patterns. Everything is never bland, rather catchy and addictive. Lead vocals are very emotive, reminding the singer FISH (MARILLION).

The best song IMO is "Crying For Help IV": it is a Roger WATERS' "Amused to "Death's" Miracle-esque jewel: listen to this floating organ + echoed piano notes; attend the song progression and the emotion from the lead vocals!! This is really OUTSTANDING!! This song ends with an excellent melodic MARILLION-esque guitar solo. We have bits of quintessence: on the last track "Solomon", at 8:00 and 10:00!! Just listen to that incredible bass!! Unbelievable!! The guitars, drums and keyboards complete those quintessential bits. WOAH!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#938) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ARENA makes a type of prog that grabs you by the throat. Call it muscle prog, hard prog, it's altogether a powerhouse of keyboards, scorching guitars, bass and drums that hit you in the right places, dramatic vocals and catchy melodious musical passages bearing the purest Clive Nolan signature. This is simple prog, however: with no frills or fancy guitar noodling à la FLOWER KINGS, for example. "Jericho", with its slow build-up to an anthemic finale, is a fine example of the style the band would go on to perfect on their subsequent albums. Other notable tunes are the opening track "Out of the Wilderness", "Valley of the Kings", "Solomon" and the devestatingly beautiful slow number "Crying for Help IV" (which will be slightly modified on the E.P. "The Cry") - my favourite twilight song as I like to call it. Although a far cry from "The Visitor", "Songs from the Lion's Cage" is a stunning debut album and as such is sure to go down in the annals of prog history.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Hibou (BETA) | Report this review (#939) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was happy the first time I got a cassette version of the band which was formed by ex marillion's drummer Mick Pointer and Pendragon's key member Clive Nolan. This album is another piece of what so called "neo progressive" music that really fit my musical taste. I love Mick Pointer not because of his drumming capability, but his involvement with Marillion, my favorite band. Nevertheless, this debut album of Arena is excellent. "Out of The Wilderness" is a track with heavy keyboard playing and some guitar, up-beat tempo. This is a typical nice track to be played after you wake up in the morning. Powerful. This album has a series of "Crying for Help" piece that is continued in their second album "Pride" as well. You must try "Crying for Help II" (track 4) which represents a heart breaking piece with deep touch on classical music. This track is a very nice instrumental music. Once it's done, the more energetic piece of music flows naturally to next track "Jericho" which then became their favorite live track. For those of you who like Hackett style of guitar playing, you will definitely enjoy "Crying for Help IV" where Steve Rothery of Marillion contributes on guitar part. This track also reminds me to "Chelsea Monday" from marillion's Script for A Jester's Tear. "Solomon" is a brilliant decision by the band to put this track as a closing to the album.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#940) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A roaring debut, with the wisdom of Solomon

Arena's first album borrows more from the band members' previous affiliations and influences than later albums did. There's less of the band's own "identity" which would be stamped so definitively on later albums such as "The visitor" and "Contagion". It's still an excellent album though, with many fine (neo) prog rock moments.

The opening track, "Out of the wilderness" has an early Marillion feel, with "Fugazi" like marching themes, and various time changes. "Valley of the kings" continues the Marillion sound, perhaps with hints of Gabriel era Genesis. There's some fine synthesiser from Clive Nolan, who moves to organ for the excellent "Jericho", a track which once again has an infectious marching rhythm.

The closing track, "Solomon" is often cited as the band's finest track. It is certainly still a live favourite, and at over 14 minutes, a well structured prog rock masterpiece. For those who like their prog to include synthesiser and guitar solos, time changes, a story line, fine vocals, and a majestic ending, "Solomon" meets the bill on all fronts.

The album includes the first four "Crying for help" interludes, which were later grouped together on "The cry" EP.

An excellent first effort from the band which demonstrated their vast potential, more than fulfilled on later albums. Essential for "Solomon" alone, but don't let that blind you to the quality of the other tracks.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#941) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Review by Menswear
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.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#951) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars No doubt about the qualities of the members (including guest musician Steve Rothery) but this prog lacks any emotion and sounds so derivative! Of course the compositions sound dynamic featuring lots of catchy melodies and exciting keyboard soli but after 10 minutes I'm longing for some warm acoustic guitar or moving flute-Mellotron, what a bombastic prog wall paper!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#45072) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars ARENA's debut is also one of their best attempt, along with follow-up "Pride" and the most recent, ambitious "Pepper's Ghost". Ex-MARILLION's Pointer turns to be a better drummer he was thought, Nolan shines in his composer's talent, other guys are doing their best as well. Supergroup's name makes it clear: we're having an arena prog here! Pompous, a bit hair-metal and loud, but isn't it the new word in the world of Neo-Prog introverts? Songs and epics ("Solomon" is obviously the main gem of the whole debut) are interrupted with short instrumental interludes, and this is a good scheme to keep listeners attentive. Strongly recommended to all Neo-Prog aficionados!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#52305) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It´s not a perfect masterpice...But almost!!!

This fisrt Arena was wonderful! The only two members remaining now of this release are the keyboardist Clive Nolan and the ex-Marillion drummer Mick Pointer, but the feeling, the great compositions and good lyrics of all the later Arena´s albums are here yet. Even the Keith More guitar sounds a little similar to the Jon Mitchell´s one...

Maybe the singer John Carson is very similar to Fish sometimes, but it doesn´t matter, because he sang with a lot of feeling, and the most important fact, he sang great songs! I really like the work of every member of the group in this album, but it´s not a problem for me, because I like the members of the other albums too!!!

The only weak point I find in this album are two songs: Crying for Help III (a little bit repetitive...) and Midas Vision (not bad at all, bot doesn´t reach the great level of all the other songs of the album...)

Best songs: Out of The Wilderness (marvellous final choirs!), Valley of the Kings (very complete song with an epic ending!), Jericho (the perfect neo-progressive song, and the best of the album in my opinion), Crying for Help IV (just very beautiful, with a superb Steve Rothery´s guitar solo...) and Solomon (another epic, grandilocuent song, with a impressive instrumental section in the middle!).

Conclusion: A MUST FOR NEO-PROGRESSIVE FANS!!! In my opinion, very better than other bands like IQ or Pendragon...

My rating: ****1/2

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#57544) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I listened to this album for the first time in 1997. I don`t have it in my collection. I listened to it because one of my brothers has it. It was given to him as a gift by a German friend who my brother met when he lived and worked in Germany for one year. I was curious to listen to this album as I read a sticker in the CD cover which says "Former Marillion`s drummer Mick Pointer`s New Band" or something like that.The CD looks more like an independent release, I mean, like an album released by the band with their own economic resources and not by a major record label, but maybe I`m wrong. Anyway, this band has their supporters and fans, and I also support the idea of "creative freedom" for bands.

This album has some interesting things, a good recording and mixing, good musicians and some good songs, but I couldn`t be very much interested in buying their new albums. The atmospheres are somewhat "dark", both in music and in lyrics. The band is obviously very influenced by other Progressive Rock bands and by Marillion`s music too, IMO. Maybe some of the Neo-Progressive bands have to work harder than old Progressive Rock bands to have an own identity. Maybe this was the case in my interest with Arena`s albums.

I didn`t like Mick Pointer`s drums playing in MARILLION`s first album, "Script for a Jester`s Tear". I think that at that time the band had good reasons for the change of drummer, but when I listened to this Arena`s first album I was impressed in how good Mick Pointer was playing the drums. He improved a lot in his playing since he left Marillion, and his playing is one of the more positive things in this album. The keyboard player, Clive Nolan, is also very good.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#81025) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 12, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Attention Marillion fans! The long lost album made right before Fish left the band has been found! Okay, all jokes aside, the first Arena album does host a lead singer greatly influenced by Fish which makes this album all the more queer. Suffice it to say, if not for Clive Nolan's fantastic keyboards, (the best in the Neoprog field?) this album for me would have gone into the 'to be sold' pile toot sweet. Now, I'm not knocking Neo like a load of prog fans do. I happen to really, really like IQ and early Marillion, but with all the riffery that goes on in this album it's too close to cheesy metal for my tastes. If I want metal, I'll listen to bands that don't have the cheese factor. Yeah, you know what I mean. I can just picture Spinal Tap and all the 80's hair bands playing this sort of thing with keyboards. Makes me cringe! What sets this particular album apart is the nice instrumental breaks between songs. Kinda gives you a breather from all the bombast. Standouts for me are 'Valley of The Kings' and 'Solomon'. Both songs have excellent interplay between Nolan's cascade of keyboards and just a smidgen of cliche guitar work via Keith More. Otherwise, it's wankery and I don't like it. A solid 3 star affair for me and probably 4 or more for huge fans of Neo. Okay Fish, you can stop using John Carson as an alias ;-p.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#85948) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 06, 2006

Review by evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A great debut album!

Since I got to know ARENA through this site The Visitor , Immortal? and Contagion were the first albums I purchased, because they had the best ratings. After having listened to those albums many times I started really liking this band and decided to buy the rest of their studio albums.

Songs From The Lion's Cage was a very pleasant surprise. The first thing I noticed between The Visitor and Immortal? was that ARENA had replaced their lead singer. And I must admit I was initially impressed more by the voice of Paul Wrightson than by the voice of Rob Sowden. However: I must cut Rob Sowden some slack, since he has proven to be a very talented singer who fits well to ARENA's music. What I didn't know was that ARENA had yet another lead vocalist on their debut album called John Carson. His voice is quite similar to Paul's and even reminds me of Fish. And we have Mick Pointer (ex-Marillion) playing the drums, so that ARENA's debut album even sounds quite a bit Marillionesque might be more than a coincidence.

What I like especially about Songs From The Lion's Cage is the variety in songs. Some songs are merely instrumental and very "spacey" (e.g. Crying For Help III ) and this stands in great contrast with the heavier edged ones. (e.g. Solomon )

Conclusion: All and all Songs From The Lion's Cage is a debut to be proud of and was already an indication of what was yet to come.

A solid 4 stars well deserved!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to evenless (BETA) | Report this review (#111867) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 12, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Arena is one of my preferred Neo-prog band. On this album, all songs are composed by Mick Pointer (ex-Marillion) and Clive Nolan (a great songwriter and a keyboard player I like very much). Rothery will even be featured on the guitar on a small piece in this album (but what a solo!). Clive and Mick are ther cement of this very good band (studio or live - I've seen them once in our prog Mecca in Belgium : Spirit Of 66 - thanks Francis). They are still in the line-up as I write this review.

The album structure is a bit strange : some long numbers interrupted by the "Crying For Help" theme.

The opener is a brilliant number. It is a complex song with an extraordinary intro : Floydian background, Crimson hypnotic guitar riff. Very promising, indeed. This is a typical Arena song. Very strong and powerful. Carson sounds at times as Fish when he tries to match his so delicate and subtle voice. This is probably the number during which the Marillion filiation is the more obvious (especially in the wonderful final section).

The first "Crying For Help" is an acoustic guitar interlude that reminds me of "Mood For A Day" (Yes) or "Horizons" (Genesis).

"Valley Of The King" is not as good as the opener, but still features a great Nolan on the keyboards. He is really amazing. The tortured vocals, are rather Gabriel oriented. A good song but a bit of additional "grandeur" would have been welcomed. The number lacks a bit in personality. An orgy of keyboards is not always sufficient to make a great song.

"Crying II" : sounds as a medieval madrigal. One could easily imagine the picturesque scene of the some noble ladies listening to a group of troubadour during the the middle ages. Very light music (like Tull at times).

The start of "Jericho" is extremely melodic. Carson sounding as ... Carson who is pretty good by the way. This is a very nice and quiet song which evolves to a similar sound (around half of it) as in "Eleven Earl Of Mar". The finale is truely bombastic and sounds finally as Arena. They should keep on like that, really.

"Crying III" : sounds 100% like Land's End. Same ocean-like -oriented music. Only perturbated at the end by a telephone ring, then a joke : "This is the problem line, we're not in right now, so please leave a message". Nice break to relax.

It fades into "Midas Vision", which is a catchy and poppier song. On the heavier edge of the band. The guitar break is fully Gilmouresque. This is another good song from this rather encouraging debut.

"Crying IV" : is a very mellowish and melancholic track for most of its part. It truely sounds miserable for about three minutes. And then, we'll have this fantastic guitar solo from Mr. Steve Rothery himself. Really brilliant. Again, David is around the corner.

The best track of the album is : "Solomon". Arena will be used to produced a brilliant closing numbers.

The first guitar break is made of pure Floydian sounds (Gilmour era). Fortunately is sounds as Arena during the vocal sections. It is rather grandiose and bombastic during the long and powerful finale. This will be a trademark of the band for other epics to come. This long piece of music (almost fifteen minutes) is extremely pleasant and varied. By no means boring for a second. Two-third of it are really personal and defines the Arena style.

This first album indicates that they had not yet made a choice about their future sound. They hesitate between Marillion, Floyd and Genesis which is fine with me since those are ones of my most beloved bands. This first album, still is very good; Arena will need some time to develop their genre. They will have a long career (still in progress) which I will be delighted to comment all the way through.

Four stars for these very good debut.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#119512) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 23, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I feel that "Songs From The Lion's Cage" their debut record, and the follow up "Pride" are good albums just not too essential if you know what I mean.Their excellent albums start with "The Visitor" in my opinion. ARENA was formed by the former MARILLION drummer Mick Pointer, and the former PENDRAGON keyboardest Clive Nolan.The band thanks (in the liner notes) PALLAS for the use of thier mellotron, Fudge Smith, Peter Gee, Nick Barrett and Karl Groom. Tracy Hitchings would add backup vocals to this album. I would also mention that the "Classic Rock Society" voted this as the best album for 1995.

"Out of the Wilderness" opens with mellotron as guitars and synths trade off solos. I can't get over how much the singer John Carson sounds like Fish ! The keys and drumming are outstanding. Some excellent soaring guitar as well. "Crying for Help I" consists of Hackett like acoustic guitar melodies. "Valley Of The Kings" is dominated by synths and drums in the intro. Some aggressive guitar follows as the vocals come in. The keys swirl about and the mellotron is fantastic ! Theatrical vocals follow. "Crying for Help II" features light keys as flute melodies join in. "Jericho" has some sad lyrics and church organ. The drumming is crisp, and we get waves of mellotron 5 minutes in. The song does becomes a positive uptempo number. "Crying for Help III" has some good piano with synth washes that create a haunting soundscape.

"Midas Vision" has a nice heavy intro as passionate Fish-like vocals come in. Scorching guitar solos come and go. "Crying for Help IV" features piano and vocals until Steve Rothery adds a beautiful guitar solo (to end the song) that lasts over a minute ! "Solomon" is the epic at almost 15 minutes in length. It mentions the bands name as well as the title of this album. I'm sure this is still a significant song for the band. It opens with keys and vocals as a heavy guitar melody comes in. The mellotron 3 minutes in amazing. There is a cool vocal melody 7 minutes in as the song becomes more uptempo.This all sounds so good, and then 11 minutes in the pace slows back down.

So this is where it all began for ARENA, and perhaps that is reason enough to check out this good record. 3.5 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#124551) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2007

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Another album that places its best material in the front song and final song. Coincidence? I think not. Either way, this album is a prog sandwich with fresh, delicious bread and on-the-verge-stale meat and veggies. Not to say that any material is bad--it's just that if it was a bit better, the whole could be something special to have and to hold forever. Hence, this is good music, but no masterpiece. Here are the highlights:

Out of the Wilderness. A very mysterious opening that morphs into a funky time led by a cool keyboard groove. This song will certainly keep your attention. It's kind of weird, but in a good way. Near the end, this song takes a nice turn into a major key with positive emotional finish. I had very high hopes for the album after the opener...unfortunately a bit too high.

Crying for Help (parts I, II, III, and IV). These "songs" may have been short brainchilds of various bandmembers or merely intended as filller. Either way, they are neither wilder entertaining nor unlistenable. We have the acoustic guitar, harpsichord/flute duet, keyboard ambience, and emotional vocal piece, respectively. The Rothery solo in the latter piece is nice, yet not spectacular.

Valley of the Kings. This is one of those prog epics where the band has the talent, motivation, and creativity to make it work, but it just doesn't quite add up. Not to say that this is a bad song by any means--it just doesn't quite hold together for me. It's probably that Carson is a bit off on the vocals (though I can't pinpoint why). Nice keyboard arrangements and fills by Nolan though.

Jericho. Evidence that Arena at this point were quite creative (dare I say progressive?), but can't quite pull it all together. Enjoyable yet not quite entirely memorable or captivating.

Solomon. This song is worth the price of admission alone. Great mellow intro, followed by a restrained guitar/keyboard instrumental that is quite well-done. Then the band FINALLY decides to kick up the tempo a bit, and boy do they ever! Where I felt restraint and hesitation earlier, I feel fun and energy here. Great interplay of bandmembers throughout, and after this section, the song moves into a delightful refrain and simple but beautiful riff to end the album. Also, this is the only song on the album where I "buy" the Carson's vocal contributions.

All in all, I'm glad I bought this for Solomon, and to a lesser extent, Out of the Wilderness, though there is no material on this album that I would consider to be grating or annoying. Certainly this album holds promise for the future!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#135662) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 01, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In the mid nineties we called this a sensation (both band as album). We already had Marillion for quite some time, this was said to be a clone but a very welcome one. I personally always thought Arena had the edge over Marillion but that has also to do with the change of vocalist in Marillion. So this was their debut and though this is not my favourite band ever I have always kept a soft spot for Arena. I am a big fan of Clive Nolan and he is dominant in the band so that's one of the reasons. I also love the recent guitarist of Arena (John Mitchell) but their first, Keith More, was hardly any less as we can hear on this debut.

The song that stands out for me is the great epic Solomon. This song starts really fairylike with some sweet tones followed by balladlike singing by John Carson, then gets a little rougher with coming up guitars in slow style, this goes on for several minutes until in the middle of the song an instrumental part starts which is legendary to me. The actual reason I'm so fond of this track. The instrumental part lasts almost 4 minutes and makes me go into raptures. It still does after more than 10 years so it's a lasting thing. Ultimately the vocal part comes again like in the beginning and the song ends with a very nice grand finale. Superb !!

Other very good tracks are Out of the Wilderness and Valley of the Kings as well as the live-cracker Jericho. Alas there is a big downside on this album and that's the "Cry-tracks" that get worse and worse, go on even on their next album (Pride) and get even worse there. These tracks are a waste of space and diminish the album, I have to say. That doesn't go that far that I will take away a four star rating for this album because the rest is too good for that. So 4 it is.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#148406) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 01, 2007

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
5 stars 4.5 stars actually...

Now,that is what I call ''the definition of a prog genre''...ARENA were formed in the 90's by some already very experienced members to deliver us qualitive neo/symphonic progressive rock...The most experienced of all was of course Clive Nolan,a master of keyboards and synths,already member of PENDRAGON,ex- member od SHADOWLAND and session member of various neo prog-related projects...Behind the drum kit we find Mick Pointer,ex-member of early MARILLION,another great musician...Guest appeareances by Steve Rothery and Tracy Hitchings just sweep the questions of how this band sounds like...

First album for ARENA and this is something special...You can find all the ingredients that make a neo progressive band firstly ''progressive'' and then popular among the prog lovers...The sound of the band is exactly what you expect from a neo prog band in the 90's,slightly better production than in the 80's,a little bit heavier guitat sound,a little bit upgraded and ''digitalized'' keyboard sound...Keith More knows very well how to use his guitar...Great melodies,great riffs,thrilling solos where they should be added...Not much to say for Clive Nolan...Grandiose keyboard playing,very symphonic at times,just raises up the whole atmosphere to another level...and what about Jon Carson?Well,sometimes he sings in the traditional english accented pop/prog way and some other ones he adapts the heavy scottish accent of Fish,transforming from song to song,excellent performer by my opinion...

The tracks?...All are amazing...''Out of the wilderness'' is the ''Forgotten suns'' of ARENA with its emotional ending melody...''Jericho'' is the best track that JADIS didn't ever managed to compose...The ''Crying for help'' series?It's where the band shows its symphonic influences...smooth tracks raging from nice acoustic guitars to mellow piano themes...and of course ''Solomon''...the epic that closes the album with its changing themes and moods that you will never realize when 14 minutes just passed...Stunning...

This is one of the debut's that every band is dreaming of...Easily I could give this album a pure 5 star rating but I will shorten it to 4.5 for two reasons:1)Enemy of the ''excellent'' is the ''best''...2)The ''best'' would be born some years later with ''The visitor''...Highly recommended and so close to a masterpiece of progressive rock!...

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#183328) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars Progressive Arena Rock? Well, not quite!

What a stunning debut album Songs From The Lion's Cage is! I did not always consider it a masterpiece, but it really is! Arena was formed by Clive Nolan and Mick Pointer, previously of Pendragon and Marillion respectively, on keyboards and drums. The line up is here completed by John Carson on vocals, Cliff Orsi on bass and Keith More on guitars. Carson is a really impressive vocalist and there are some exceptional vocal moments on this album. More and Orsi are very good instrumentalists, but they, and Carson too, would soon be replaced by other and more distinctive talents that would come to play larger roles in further shaping the band's characteristic sound. A sound that, at least in my opinion, has a lot more depth and substance, and also much more of an edge, compared to other Neo-Progressive bands. I have never been much a fan of the subgenre, but Arena is special to me - very special!

This first Arena album consists of six "proper" songs plus three rather laid back pieces that might be called 'interludes' or 'links', all of which are called Crying For Help, and three of which are instrumentals. This formula would be used again on the band's second album but it works best here. I really like the idea of having these rather mellow interludes break up the harder edged and more progressive songs. The first Crying For Help piece is a lovely acoustic guitar number. Crying For Help II is a harpsichord piece with a folky/medieval sound. Again, this is a lovely piece that really adds something to the album as a whole even if it is not in any way remarkable standing on its own. The third Crying For Help piece is less interesting, however. It is a rather repetitive New Age-style piano piece that is a bit too long for its own good as it runs for almost five minutes without anything really interesting happening. But it does let you catch your breath before the onslaught of the last three tracks. Crying For Help III also includes samples of a telephone ringing that I find bit annoying for primarily two reasons: first, it breaks the "ancient" atmosphere of the album by introducing such a modern thing as a telephone, and second, I always start looking for my telephone whenever I hear that sound! This is thus the weakest point (and the only weak point whatsoever!) of the album for me. But it is not offensive and it does not disrupt the flow of the album too much.

All of the rest of the songs are all simply amazing Neo-Prog classics and some of the strongest songs I have ever heard! The last Crying For Help-piece is a vocal and piano piece that is exceptionally good and the only real ballad of the album. The presence of a song like this one proved the versatility of the band and makes the album varied and complete in a very appealing way. Jericho and Solomon has become live favourites and eternal Prog classics and deservedly so. These songs are nothing short of exceptional! Like with basically all the Arena albums, this album too is a grower. It is surely an album that deserves repeated listens even if it is not quite as rich in detail as the equally amazing albums The Visitor and Contagion.

Extremely recommended in addition to The Visitor and Contagion

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#224663) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 05, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Arena - Songs from the Lion Cage (1995)

The debut of Arena, main act of modern neo-progressive rock, has some great moments, but makes a dull impression on me overall. The individuel members are skilled; prog vedette Clive Nolan on keys and Keith More on guitars are the main attraction here. To bad Keith More's replacement during later albums, John Mitchell, is still way better.

The sound of Arena on the debut is that of beginning neo-progressive band; many theatrical/sentimental vocals, some heavy instrumentation with loads of reverb and delays and seas of synths. The recording is a bit dull, but the sound quality ain't the main problem here. The key equipment of Nolan isn't optimal and his over-use of bombastic arrangements does not help at all. Some of his compositions are however quite brilliant, namelijk the opening track Out of the Wilderness, Midas Vision and stage favorite Soloman are strong tracks. The latter of these three is one of the best Arena epics to date. With its thirteen minutes of great song-writing and an amazing long, melodic solo's section just before the end it can be called one of the best of the neo-prog genre. I must admit that I do prefer most of the live versions, because of the better guitars by Mitchell and better vocals by Sowden.

On other tracks this early stage Arena has some in-effective song-writing, making songs like Valley Of The Kings and most of the Crying for Help parts a bit boring. Crying for Help IV does have some catchy parts, I must admit, but the acoustic guitar version of this track (found on The Cry) is more impressive.

Conclusion. A good beginning for what yet has to become one of my favorite (and few) modern prog bands I like to listen to. The opening and ending track are very good, but Solomon can also be found on all the live recordings of the band. I think Arena can get away with a small three star rating here. Recommended only to fans of the band and enthousiasts of the neo- prog genre.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#386543) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I can understand the impact this album might have had at the prog comunity in the mid 90´s, specially to Marillion fans. While the original Marillion was sinking fast in their alternative/pop new sound, here comes ex Marillion drummer Mick Pointer, when everybody thought he had retired from the music business, with a new project with Pendragon´s keyboards player that sounded a lot like Marillion in the good old times of vocalist Fish. OOHHHHH, how I wish I found out about this CD at the time!!! Ok, it was highly derivative, but also highly wonderful! It was like having ol´ Marillion back into life! Well, almost. In some aspects it was even better than the real thing.

After a few spins it was clear that no matter how much the band sounded like Marillion, it already had some personality and a big potential, specially at the songwriting department. Nolan and Pointer came up with some real classy stuff that are played even today live by the band (the stunning epics Salomon and Jericho). The duo surrounded themselves with other fine musicians, featuring Keith More on guitar, Cliff Orsi on bass and John Carson on vocals. This line up didn´t last long, but the results were great anyway. So much Arena would soon surpass any other of Nolan´s several side projects, including his former solo band Shadowland, in all aspects.

The production is good, while the tracklist is a killer, with no fillers nor weak songs to found anywhere. Even the short Crying For Help series of vignettes linking the main tunes is very interesting and work better than expected. Certainly it is no surprise that Nolan´s trademark majestic, elegant keyboards are all over the place, but More´s fluid, melodic guitar solos (obviously influenced by Pink Floyd´s David Gilmour) is also quite proeminent too. Pointer is another one to show he is a far better musician than I thought. Carson´s voice sounds uncanny like Fish sometimes, but he (Carson) has a wider range. Not very surprisingly Marillion´s guitarrist and leader steve Rothery makes a guest appearance on Crying For Help IV.

Personally, I´d like to give this record a 5 star rating, but since Arena did evolve into something totally of their own around the time of their third album, the magnificent The Visitor, I think it would be fair to say that, as good as it is, Songs From The Lion´s Cage, is a notch or two below their best because of the obvious Marillion overtones here. Still is an exceptional record: the powerful performances and the brilliant songwriting make it close to an essential masterpiece. So I guess 4.5 stars is more fitting for PA. This is a must have for any neo prog fan and is highly recommended to any prog lover in general.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#397289) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Having taken a decade away from the music business, Mick Pointer would return to the drummer's stool with Arena, alongside his erstwhile co-founder and business partner in Verglas Music, Clive Nolan. The album an impressive neo-prog piece which establishes itself as a darker and more complex affair than some of Nolan's other side-projects such as Shadowland, with decent vocals from John Carson and excellent guitar playing by Keith More (plus a guest appearance from Pointer's fellow Marillion co-founder Steve Rothery), and the inclusion of the subdued Crying for Help instrumentals between the major songs weaves a common thread through the album and lends it a fair amount of cohesiveness.

As for Mick's drumming? To be honest, it still isn't stellar - but as on Script For a Jester's Tear, Pointer proves able to set a rhythm and create a context in which the rest of the band's magic can unfold - and when you combine this with his very capable songwriting contributions, that's more than enough.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#619508) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars The very first album of an excellent band, one of my favorite bands. I discovered ARENA with The Visitor, but when I listened to SONGS FROM THE LION CAGE I confirmed my enjoyment for this band. Mick Pointer (former Marillion) joined Clive Nolan in the quest of a side project to Pendragon, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1018436) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Tuesday, August 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#998568) | Posted by Progrussia | Sunday, July 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Arena's first record "Songs from the Lions Cage" from 1995 is a sometimes powerful album. The sound is dramatic and dark and proves inspiration from Marillion and Genesis. Though I am not very impressed. What I liked was the skillful guitar and piano playing, the vocalist John Carson who almos ... (read more)

Report this review (#973658) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, June 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Really, this album is to be considered part one of a pair, with the follow-up 'pride' acting as a sequel. The structure of both such that the sequence of songs alternates between a standalone song and a short-to-medium length piece entitled with an enumerated variant of 'cry for help', usually instr ... (read more)

Report this review (#528899) | Posted by stranded_starfish | Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An excellent debut album. Arena hit the scene like a piece of rock with this album. Established by an ex Marillion member and it shows. Arena is in that area or even perhaps a lot more symphonic than neo prog. Arena does not really add anything new to me. Neither does this album. Tonnes of k ... (read more)

Report this review (#517499) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, September 08, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you are looking for neoprog gems, this one it is, unless for me. After the first two Marillion albums, and some great things in the great prog bands in the 80's and 90`s (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, Camel, etc.), Arena appears with a true progressive rock masterpiece. Everything is here: Supe ... (read more)

Report this review (#369821) | Posted by genbanks | Saturday, January 01, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This record is amongst those who assured me prog rock was really coming back to life in the mid 1990's. Of course, in the late 1980's and the former 1990's, neo prog groups still had tried to make prog rock rise again. But something was missing in the music of IQ, Pendragon and even Marillion : i ... (read more)

Report this review (#274847) | Posted by Kjarks | Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Unlike many, Songs from the Lion's Cage was my first Arena album. After a friend strongly recommended me The Visitor and made me listen to a few parts, I went to the store and intended to buy it. I although had to settle for Songs from the Lion's Cage since this was the only Arena album in sto ... (read more)

Report this review (#236481) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Wednesday, September 02, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Arena's debut is somewhat controversial here. I think it's amazing. What you have is a set of more powerful, epic songs, with the usual neo-prog characteristics, sandwiching some more atmospheric tracks (Crying For Help I through IV). This mix is an excellent way of forming an album. It's a maste ... (read more)

Report this review (#191836) | Posted by Staker | Thursday, December 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very solid debut for Arena, neo-prog at its best. I think everything has been said already (and better than I could) in the other reviews so I will just add a few words to describe my feelings towards this album. But a little background is needed to understand better my review. I'm relativ ... (read more)

Report this review (#150370) | Posted by rakam | Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There is nothing quite like the thrill of discovering a new band which just presses all the right buttons for you. When I came across this album in 1996 I was struck by the sheer melodic power it exuded, and eleven years on its impact is undiminished. Long, carefully structured pieces are inte ... (read more)

Report this review (#108275) | Posted by Lazarus | Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Arena's debut album is a top quality offering from ex-Marillion drummer Mick Pointer and keyboard player Clive Nolan, abley supported by Keith More on guitar, Cliff Orsi bass and John Carson vocals. There are five excellent tracks linked very cleverly by crying for help parts I to IV. Out of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#100242) | Posted by laghtnans | Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It makes me disheartened to see Arena get so much praise for their later albums like The Visitor and Contagion while I see the ratings for their two beginning albums, Songs from the Lion's Cage and Pride dwindle and fall yet lower in rating. It is a shame that these albums are neglected so muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#86672) | Posted by stonebeard | Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the middle-nineties this album was a fresh breeze for everyone who missed the Marillion of the eighties. Even when the Marillion of Hogarth has got great albums, the sound of Fish has gone after his last participation with the band. Well, Arena is the project of Mick Pointer, the firs ... (read more)

Report this review (#51052) | Posted by incubus | Sunday, October 09, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes , I give this one a 5-star rating. Why? Because all the tracks are written and performed at a constant high level. And above all: because this album meant the return of the old Marillion. This is true neo-prog of the early 80's at its best. And of course, the influences of Marillion, Pendr ... (read more)

Report this review (#948) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 09, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Much overrated debut from this neoprog outfit with everchanging line-ups. There's a lot of powerplay, but the compositions lack focus and sharpness. It seems like they did some overtime to have at least three songs of epic proportions. The Crying For Help concept does not work due to a lack of ... (read more)

Report this review (#946) | Posted by PROGCOM | Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By this review I start my collaboration in ProgArchives... Well, in my opinion, Arena is the classical kind of so-called Neo-Progressive (sometimes I call it "Neon-Progressive") sub-genre band with modern digital-keyboards-oriented sound, howling guitars, pompous melodies and some definite pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#947) | Posted by Emperor | Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is one of the most popular bands among the neo-prog genre. Leaded by ex-Marillion drummer Mick Pointer and Pendragon's keyboard player Clive Nolan, the main influences were from those bands although not sounding as cheesy as Pendragon. Honestly, although I like neo-prog a lot I think the ... (read more)

Report this review (#945) | Posted by Prosciutto | Sunday, January 09, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an absolute classic and an absolute must have for all who like neo-prog music. In overall sound it is somewhat similar to the better work of Marillion (Fish-era) with highpitched guitar work and a voice reminiscant of Fish in his better days, also influences of Pendragon, IQ and Genes ... (read more)

Report this review (#943) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, November 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ARENA "Songs From The Lion's Cage"

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

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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).

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

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 3.25 seconds