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Arena The Cry album cover
3.00 | 85 ratings | 14 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Theme (0:55)
2. The Cry (3:10)
3. The Offering (2:33)
4. Problem Line (4:02)
5. Isolation (1:59)
6. Fallen Idols (4:12)
7. Guidance (5:09)
8. Only Child (5:03)
9. Stolen Promise (2:58)
10. The Healer (5:44)

Total Time: 35:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Clive Nolan / keyboards and backing vocals
- John Mitchell / guitars
- Paul Wrightson / vocals
- John Jowitt / bass
- Mick Pointer / drums
- Steve Rothery / guitar (8)

Releases information


Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Desoc for the last updates
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ARENA The Cry ratings distribution

(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

ARENA The Cry reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
3 stars The easiest way to describe what kind of mini-album this is, I quote the text on the album's jewel case: "THE CRY is a theme and variations featuring original and new versions of the CRYING FOR HELP series from the album SONGS FROM THE LIONS CAGE and PRIDE, together with new material based on the original concept." On this album these pieces have been put together again together with new material.

- The keyboard player Clive Nolan (PENDRAGON, SHADOWLAND etc.) is magnificent as always. There's not much to say about this release other than that it's very good, and a must have for all ARENA fans out there. Recommended!

Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This E.P. shows ARENA at their most lyrical, musically speaking. A theme ("The Cry") is played in many different ways but mostly in ethereal, sometimes sad, nostalgic tones. The gem of the album is a trio of successive tunes showing the richness and depth of ARENA's compositional abilities: the first, "Fallen Idols", is a smooth keyboard instrumental with a most moving melody. Without your noticing it, it slides into "Guidance", an eerie instrumental where you can feel the ashes smouldering under every note, as if something ominous is about to happen. Then a haunting female choir slips in, humming a melody that slowly takes shape and at times bursts into feverish, operatic wails. Finally, the music breaks out into the most exquisite track of the trio, "Only Child" - it is basically a reprise of the wonderful "Crying for Help IV" from their debut album, but arranged in a slightly different way (although I prefer the old version as far as the arrangements are concerned, I find the vocals on "The Cry"'s version more convincing). The CD closes with "The Healer", a solid rocker with an anthemic beat ā la "Jericho".

I can't honestly consider this E.P. a collectors' item only. Not only does it clock in at almost 36 minutes but without it, I think you'd be missing out on some essential ARENA material, if only for the trio mentioned above.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Help me!

"The cry" is an extended EP running to 35 minutes which features re-workings of the various "Crying for help" (CFH) link tracks recorded by Arena on their "Songs from the lions cage" and "Pride" albums, plus a limited amount of new material. The sleeve notes explain that when originally written, the tracks were intended to form one continuous piece of music. That plan was then put aside, and the tracks used as interlude music on their early albums. While on the "Pride" and "SFTLC" albums the songs were all called "Crying for help", and given sequential numbers to differentiate them, here they are given their original titles. The sleeve-notes however detail which is which, as the tracks which originally bore the CFH name do not appear here in numerical order, reverting to the originally intended order instead. .

After a brief opening "Theme", "The cry" will be familiar to those who have seen Arena live, being CFH7, with the repeating "Help me" call. Many of the songs are instrumental, and when used as interlude pieces stand up well. When heard one after the other as they are here however, their impact tends to be lost, and the album becomes rather ambient and dare I say dull. There are of course plenty of pleasant sections, such as the choral effects on "Guidance" (CFH8), and the soft keyboards on "Fallen idols" (CFH2). "Only child" (CFH4) is track 8, yet is the first since track 2 with any vocals. It has similarities both lyrically and aurally to parts of "Solomon". Steve Rothery of Marillion is called in add some distinctive guitar work, although personally I would have preferred to hear more of John Mitchell.

The "new" tracks tend to fair best, with "Isolation" bearing echoes of Steve Hackett's "Horizons". The final track "The healer" is a much more traditional Arena piece, which sounds as if it has been lifted from their excellent "The visitor" album. Here, while sounding rather out of place, it does tend to make the album a necessary purchase for fans of the band.

In truth, "The cry" fails to live up to the extraordinarily high standards set by their principle releases, against which it inevitably must be judged. Given that the "Crying for help" interludes worked best when used as just that (interludes between the main tracks), they do not benefit from being bundled together to form a single piece, even if that was the original intention.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unlike typical EP that usually precedes a full-fledge album, The Cry was released as follow-up of two previous albums of ARENA namely "Song From The Lions Cage" and "Pride". If you have already enjoyed both of them, enjoying this EP (with cheaper suggested price than the regular CD) is a rewarding experience. If you haven't, it's still a very enjoyable and accessible mini album to enjoy - especially on the use of acoustic guitar by the band's new guitarist John Mitchell, who contributed in the "Welcome to the Stage" live album and whom later would become the band's key member. One might say that this EP was a test case for John Mitchell doing studio work.

The opening track "Theme" (0:55) is an ambient music that welcomes the acoustic based "The Cry" (3:10). The original version of this appeared under "Crying For Help VII" song in Arena's second album "Pride" which has only vocal acapella without accompanying musical instrument. John Mitchell's guitar work enriches the original song textures. "The Offering" (2:33) is a light classical music exploring Clive Nolan's keyboard. It's a relaxing music and very accessible and an alternative version of "Crying for Help V" (Pride). While "Problem Line (4:02) is an alternative version of "Crying for Help III" of debut album. "Isolation" (1:59) is an acoustic guitar outfit newly created by the band. Excellent guitar work.

"Fallen Idols" (4:12) is for those who love a touchy classical outfit "Crying For Help II", featured originally in Song From Lions Cage album, because this alternative version is very entertaining as the keyboard work by Nolan gives a floating nuance. The most interesting track featured in this EP is track number 8 "Only Child" (5:03) which has a guest guitarist, Steve Rothery of Marillion. It's really a melodic track that represents the best track, in my opinion, of the whole EP.

Overall it's a very good record and if you are an Arena fan, this is a must. Observe the differences between the studio versions with this alternative arrangement. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars In my reviews for their respective two first albums, I expressed a moderate interest for the "Crying For Help" songs. I called them interludes, and I wouln't have been sad if they would have remained so (even if they were intended originally to make part of a separate work).

Some of the "Cryings" were good, though. Especially some of the ones from " Songs From the Lions Cage ". "Only Child" featuring a great guitar solo from Rothery was one of them (slightly different here). It is my fave from this "Cry" compilation. What was known as "Cry VII" was an a cappella dull song. In this version, called ... "The Cry" it profits from a subtle acoustic guitar background. I prefer to hear this version. The short "Theme" was meant to be featured on their first album but was not.

"The Offering" is a beautiful and melodic track. All in lightness and peacefullness. "Problem Line" (or "Cry III") is another tranquil moment : 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". Hence this title...(I already made this comment when reviewing the original work).

"Isolation" is a variation of "Cry I" (not featured here as such). Almost a carbon copy. The atmosphere is also 100% Howe ("Mood For A Day") or or Hackett ("Horizons"). "Fallen Angels" sounds more "atmospheric" as its original "Help II" which was rather medieval. Again, I prefer this version.

We'll even have a true Arena song with "The Healer". It was written between their two studio album but was left aside for "Pride". It is an average Arena track. On their heavy range. Not bad, but not a masterpiece of course.

This regroupment of the "Help" songs (even if some are nicely revisited) is not really a must own. I would say that only die-hard fans could be interested. As such, it is a collector item. But nothing more. Most of the versions here were the original ones.Two stars.

Review by friso
3 stars This Arena EP is made up of unused interludes an a few good songs, most notably 'The Healer'. 'The Cry' is also a fairly good song and it links the band to the dramatic/sentimental tradition of Marillion's type of neo progressive. Most tracks are however more like electronic music with little guitar and vocals. The Ep does form a whole and offers a variety of atmospheres. I did listen to it for a while and I can imagine some others doing that as well. If you don't expect to much this little record just might leave a strong impression. Heavy dramatic neo-prog has become a bit scarce as of 2020, whereas a lot of it has become particularly poppy.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The Cry is all eight parts of crying for help from their first two albums put together and reworked as a single concept. Add to that a couple of new songs including the rocky song The Healer, and you have a very decent short album (35.47 running time) which would be normal length when I was a ... (read more)

Report this review (#100245) | Posted by laghtnans | Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, this is not an album in the strict sense. Maybe we should say itīs an EP (in fact, it is) but the important thing is here are the complete "Crying for Help" with all parts with different arrangements but preserving the original project. To close the album appears a heavy song ... (read more)

Report this review (#51054) | Posted by incubus | Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Good grief!!! Why release something like this one?I am a huge fan of this amazing band, but i have no patience for this one.Why do not release THE HEALER (the only thing I can listen here) in other album ? This 'Cry for Help' crap almost ruined their first 2 albums.Thank goodness they have aba ... (read more)

Report this review (#981) | Posted by | Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Frankly speaking, I still cannot understand why the band has decided to release this strange and unnecessary short (36 minutes) compilation with the two only new tracks, one of which is just the 55 second introduction to the rest of material. I think this EP had no sense except to improve the ... (read more)

Report this review (#982) | Posted by Emperor | Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Crying for Help songs from the former two studio albums (Songs from the lions cage, Pride) are combined, rearranged, and given a proper name for this EP. Some songs where rerecorded, and two songs where newly added (Theme and The Healer). Theme is the intro for an alternative version of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#983) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I like very much this band, but this album....... I don't know is a very different style. It seems to be other band. Maybe you would like if you didn't sleep well the last night. I bought this album and found it very boring. I was expecting something else. The music is just too slow and soft. ... (read more)

Report this review (#980) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars the first two arena albums included a series of mainly instrumental songs called 'crying for help'. these eight tracks are put together on this EP, in addition there is an intro and the final song 'the healer'. if you have the first two albums, you won't have too much benefit of buying this one ... (read more)

Report this review (#977) | Posted by | Monday, October 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A short album, mostly consisting of alternate version of Crying For Help I to VIII from the previous albums. This album is not typical for Arena and only recommended for Arena fans. Nevertheless I like this remake of the Crying for Help cycle, thus I rate it a very good album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#973) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 11, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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