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Arena Contagious album cover
2.89 | 50 ratings | 7 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vanishing Act (4:13)
2. I Spy (6:07)
3. Contagious (4:23)
4. The Hour Glass (2:45)
5. Witch Hunt (Special remix) (3:42)

Total Time: 21:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Clive Nolan / keyboards
- Mick Pointer / drums
- Rob Sowden / vocals
- John Mitchell / guitars
- Ian Salmon / bass

Releases information

Verglas VGCD023

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Buy ARENA Contagious Music

Contagious EpContagious Ep
Inside Out 2003
$5.00 (used)
Contagious by Arena (2003-07-28)Contagious by Arena (2003-07-28)

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ARENA Contagious ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

ARENA Contagious reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars It's spreading fast

The first of two EPs issued to complement the "Contagion" album, "Contagious" contains five tracks plus a multimedia section. Four of the tracks are completely new, and come with instructions on where to "insert" them into the original album. Musically, they fit right in of course.

"Vanishing act" is a fast paced instrumental piece which sees Mitchell and Nolan trading licks on guitar and keyboards. "I spy" is slower and more majestic, with some superb guitar once again. At over six minutes, this is actually one of Arena's truly great songs, a mini "Solomon" if you will. Rob Sowden sings "It's cold, so cold" with such conviction, he'll have you shivering with him!

"Contagious" is more of a link track, which allows Nolan to display his keyboard prowess by including a good old fashioned organ solo. "The hour glass" is a brief acoustic piece, with echoes of "Crying for help". Themes from the original album can be spotted drifting in and out at different stages.

The final track is a remix of the opening track "Witch Hunt" from the "Contagion" album. Unlike the remix of "Salamander" on the other EP "Contagium", this one works well, dance beat and all.

At some stage I must make the effort to play the album plus the additional tracks on the two EPs in the order dictated by the band. It does seem like hard work though, perhaps a double album release which included all the material would have been in order.

The enhanced section has a live video of "Skin game", ghost vocals by John Mitchell of many of the album tracks, and some other PC extras.

Review by ZowieZiggy

As "Arena" mentions on their web-site, aside of "Contagion" their fine album release, there are two companion mini-albums to complete the main work. One multimedia section and five musical tracks will sit on this one.

The opener is a very strong intrumental number. Almost hard-rocking / metal. But this is not new for Arena. They often flirt with these genres, offering a very interesting and diversified mix in their repertoire.

"I Spy" is the most elaborate of the whole. Since this EP is complementary to "Contagion", none of these songs can be regarded as left overs and this one really belongs to the good Arena songs. Great keys and an inspired Rob on the vocals. This prolonged his very good work (his best so far IMO) on the main album.

The title track of this EP is another instrumental number. Not as catchy as the opener and the next song "The Hour Glass" is an average acoustic number. I have never been over-enthusiastic about remixes. This one is no exception. While the original "Witch Hunt" was a dynamic and solid piece of rock, this "mix" sounds rather poor and useless.

Although this EP is essential for die-hard fans, it makes the whole of the "Contagion- Contagious-Contagium" suite, an expensive story (around 30 ? for the whole). Non Arena fans could hardly find this one interesting. Two good songs are not enough. Two stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Very tasty leftovers!

Contagious is one of out two EPs (the other one is called Contagium) that Arena released in the wake of their full length masterpiece album Contagion. Stemming from the same sessions and originally intended to be included on the actual album, the extra songs presented on these two EPs are - not surprisingly - very much in the same fashion as those that ended up on Contagion. While hardly as strong as the Contagion material itself, these "leftovers" are very tasty indeed!

Apparently, the two EPs come with instructions on how to insert these extra tracks (not including the remixes, of course!) into the running order of the original Contagion album. Since I don't own any of the EPs in physical form, I had to look up this information elsewhere. And while listening to the album with these extra songs from the Contagious and Contagium EPs inserted according to the instructions of the band is a worthwhile experience, I think that this long version (apparently known as 'Contagion Max') does not flow as well as the original, short version. I therefore fully agree with the band's decision to keep these songs off the actual album. (A future release of Contagion Max on double CD has been discussed though!).

(The original) Contagion runs for just under an hour and that is just the right running time, in my opinion. With all the extra tracks added (from both EPs), we get a further 36 minutes of music to digest! Another 36 minutes of Arena is indeed very good news for us who already love the band and the Contagion album in its original form, but for those yet to discover this masterpiece I strongly recommend to start with the short version. However, anyone who has fully digested the original Contagion and rated it highly should definitely get these extra tracks too! And while they don't offer any musical surprises for those who known the band and the Contagion album in particular, they add pieces of the intricate story that the album is based on.

Contagious contains four of these extra Contagion tracks. Vanishing Act and Contagious are instrumentals similar in style to those great instrumentals that made the original running order. I Spy is an acoustic song that does not have an obvious counterpart on the album, but fits into the overall sound of it. The Hour Glass shares some lyrics with a couple of songs from the album. Musically it is a slow and dark song with a great vocal.

Good, but only essential for fans of Arena and the Contagion album in particular.

Review by Flucktrot
2 stars To their credit, Arena realized that they didn't have enough top material to justify a double album (or at least someone involved in Contagion's production did), and that serves to strengthen the central album.

However, that makes the companion pieces less essential, although if I had to rank order, I would place Contagious over Contagium, mostly due to the two instrumentals, Vanishing Act and Contagious. The former is an upbeat rocker that visits the central theme just a bit too much, and that latter has that standard Arena plodding rhythm but is enjoyable for its atmospherics and an absolutely blistering solo from Mitchell.

I usually include the instrumentals in my Contagion playlist, so I suppose that makes this worth obtaining, but certainly only if you are craving more Contagion-style material.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Clive Nolan's original intent for the "Contagion" album from his band ARENA was for it to be a double album with several instrumental tracks appearing at certain points in the album for there to be a smoother flow between the segments that spell out the storyline. But the record label had other ideas and the band was forced to scrap the idea and instead trim the album down to a single disc and with the leftovers created two separate EPs released simultaneously with the "Contagion" album.

There are several head scratchers about this decision of how to release these extras though. First of all instead of releasing one compilation album of the seven extra tracks, they were instead issued on two different releases, one called CONTAGIOUS and the other "Contagium." On this release CONTAGIOUS contains the tracks "Vaninishing Act," "I Spy," the title track and "The Hour Glass." In addition to these surplus musical tidbits, there is a "Special Remix Of Witch Hunt" which sounds more like an early 80s new wave band than ARENA.

While the music on this one is quite good, this EP has been made somewhat irrelevant since in 2013 an anniversary release called "Contagion Max" was finally made public and included all the extra tracks in their original intended ordered on a double CD. That means only the "Witch Hunt" remix is unavailable anywhere else and believe me it's certainly no reason to track this down separately. It's also strange that these tracks don't appear sequentially on the "Contagion Max" edition and are scattered about randomly on both discs.

Latest members reviews

2 stars The left overs from a dinner. This is the second left over EP from the Contagion session. This is supposed to be a good album and one I have yet to listen too, although I have a copy of it. This EP contains some good and some lesser good songs. I Spy is a very good song with some lingering ... (read more)

Report this review (#476979) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Contagious and Contagium are kind of extensions to the brilliant contagion album including remixes of tracks from that album. Witch Hunt gets the treatment on Contagious, but personally I prefer the original version. The EP also contains some great multimedia extras including skin game live vi ... (read more)

Report this review (#100256) | Posted by laghtnans | Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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