Header

ARENA

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Arena picture
Arena biography
The gathering of ARENA's famous musicians makes a super-group: Mick POINTER (Ex-MARILLION) plays the drums, Clive NOLAN (PENDRAGON) the keyboards, and Keith MORE (ASIA) played the guitar until replaced by John MITCHELL (Ex-Kino).Vocalist Rob SOWDEN has been with the band since IMMORTAL? and the bass player is Ian SALMON. There have also been some guest appearances by Tracy HITCHINGS (singer of QUASAR, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN & LANDMARQ) and Steve ROTHERY (MARILLION's gifted guitarist).

"Songs From The Lion's Cage" is then a very professional Progressive rock, both close to MARILLION and hard-rock. "Pride", their second opus issued in 1996 (one year after the previous one) confirmed the high musical level of this band, at a time when they added a touch IQ to their music. Curiously the band's sound gained in heaviness after their 2 first albums, and the music quality increased a lot in originality and musicianship.

Recorded in 1998, "The Visitor" alternates passages inspired by Steve HOGARTH's group along with some dark instrumentation. "Immortal" shows a new heavier dimension that still remains anchored in the best neo-Progressive music. "Moviedrome" is an excellent twenty minute track. "Contagion" follows the glorious tradition of "Immortal", although I found it more hard edged and multidimensional from all aspects. This powerful and evoking concept album tells about the quest for redemption, through the vision of a dark and anguishing future. No doubt about it, people won't have to think for a long time before electing the best album of winter 2002-2003! One of the best bands on the English scene nowadays... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Arena official website

ARENA MP3, Free Download (music stream)


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

ARENA forum topics / tours, shows & news


ARENA forum topics Create a topic now
ARENA tours, shows & news Post an entries now

ARENA Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all ARENA videos (5) | Search and add more videos to ARENA

Buy ARENA Music


Seventh Degree of SeparationSeventh Degree of Separation
Import
Ais 2012
Audio CD$6.77
$6.43 (used)
Unquiet SkyUnquiet Sky
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$19.99
ImmortalImmortal
Import
Verglas Music 2000
Audio CD$18.99
$11.67 (used)
Arena: Live 2011 / 2012 TourArena: Live 2011 / 2012 Tour
Import
Ais 2013
Audio CD$19.13
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
THE BEATLES - "FIVE NIGHTS IN A JUDO ARENA", COLLECTIBLE LP, NEAR MINT USD $13.50 [13 bids]
35m 41s
CD: Johnny Philko - Songs to Swear By / Blues Roots Arena Rock / Cleveland [NEW] USD $7.95 [0 bids]
1h 6m
ARENA - CONTAGION [ARENA] - NEW CD USD $13.81 Buy It Now 1h 35m
DURAN DURAN - 12" lp album - ARENA (Gatefold) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2h 15m
Vcd x 2 TRF Live In Yokohama Arena 1997 J-POP ~NEW~ USD $18.00 Buy It Now 4h 13m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #9 Melbourne 02/20/2003 Rod Laver Arena Ten Club USD $19.99 [0 bids]
USD $26.99 Buy It Now
4h 17m
EVENT Human Condition CD Progressive Metal NEW Arena / IQ / Pallas Inside Out USD $5.99 Buy It Now 4h 18m
PROGRAMME PAVAROTTI SHEFFIELD ARENA 1992 + ticket USD $17.85 Buy It Now 4h 36m
(EH492) Mario Torchio, Freak Arena - DJ CD USD $2.96 Buy It Now 4h 40m
Landmarq - The Vision Pit Threshold Karnataka Argus Quasar Shadowland IQ Arena USD $44.22 Buy It Now 4h 50m
Various Artists : 80s G.H. Rock 3: Arena Rock CD (1992) USD $3.88 Buy It Now 5h 10m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #20 New Orleans 04/08/2003 UNO Lakefront Arena USD $24.99 [0 bids]
USD $32.99 Buy It Now
5h 14m
Arena Negra by Myrrors Vinyl Record (2015) Brand New Ships Worldwide USD $34.99 Buy It Now 5h 39m
Arena Negra by Myrrors CD (2015) Brand New Ships Worldwide USD $28.99 Buy It Now 5h 40m
Tina Arena Burn UK 3 track CD Single FREE UK POSTAGE Mask of Zorro USD $2.22 Buy It Now 5h 55m
2 The WHO tickets floor seats at Joe Louis Arena OCT 17 2015 USD $250.00 Buy It Now 5h 56m
Arena Productions - Afta Party USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5h 56m
Arena Productions - Afta Party USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5h 57m
ARENA Songs From The Lions Cage Japan CD OBI '95 Marillion Pendragon USD $9.99 [1 bids]
5h 58m
TINA ARENA - LIVE: THE ONSTAGE COLLECTION - NEW CD BOXSET USD $25.34 Buy It Now 6h 14m
Conjunto Acapulco Tropical: Ritmo Sol y Arena Otra OTR 426 Latin LP SEALED USD $75.00 Buy It Now 6h 32m
Mega RARE Fania FIRST PRESSING Cheo Feliciano JUAN ALBAÑIL castillos de arena USD $74.99 Buy It Now 6h 35m
ROBBIE WILLIAMS London Arena 2000 pair of tickets + hospitality passes USD $74.39 Buy It Now 6h 36m
Arena by Duran Duran (Cassette, Nov-1984, Capitol) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 6h 37m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #28 Lexington KY 04/21/2003 Rupp Arena Brand LN USD $24.99 [1 bids]
6h 44m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #34 Albany New York 4/29/03 Pepsi Arena USD $24.99 [1 bids]
6h 58m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #36 Buffalo New York 5/2/03 HSBC Arena Like New USD $37.99 [1 bids]
7h
Def Leppard live concert Birmingham NEC Arena 30 June 1992 A4 size poster print USD $22.30 Buy It Now 7h
Drum & Bass Arena Summer Selection 2014 5055199509389, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H USD $19.82 Buy It Now 7h 4m
Garth Brooks: 2 Western Music Cds Reunion Arena 1991(Discs Only-Work!!!) USD $4.00 Buy It Now 7h 10m
TINA ARENA DON'T ASK USD $2.20 [0 bids]
7h 26m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #43 San Diego 06/05/2003 San Diego Sports Arena USD $24.99 [1 bids]
7h 27m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #44 Las Vegas 06/06/2003 MGM Grand Arena USD $28.99 [1 bids]
7h 30m
(CD) GRATEFUL DEAD - Dick's Picks 10 [Winterland Arena 12/29/77] / 3 CD USD $35.00 Buy It Now 7h 33m
PINK - LIVE FROM WEMBLEY ARENA LONDON ENGLAND (IMPORT) NEW DVD USD $16.00 Buy It Now 7h 36m
MAX EDWARDS LP Rockers Arena EPIPHANY RECORDS Reggae 1982 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 7h 39m
Joey Beltram- Arena 12" USD $9.67 Buy It Now 7h 39m
Def Leppard live concert Birmingham NEC Arena 1st July 1992 A4 size poster print USD $22.30 Buy It Now 7h 41m
Pearl Jam Live Official Bootleg #47 Little Rock Arkansas 6/10/03 Alltel Arena USD $35.99 [1 bids]
7h 45m
ARENA - Contagion CD + Contagium & Contagious EP CDs Import EPs HTF OOP USD $19.99 [0 bids]
8h 7m
HÖHNER " 360 GRAD LIVE LANXESS ARENA" 2 CD NEW+ USD $21.14 Buy It Now 8h 9m
Gary Moore live concert Birmingham NEC Arena 19th June 1992 A4 size poster print USD $22.30 Buy It Now 8h 16m
Wild Life: Live at Yokohama Arena 2010 Hikaru Utada CD USD $37.38 Buy It Now 8h 22m
The House of Love [Digipak] by The House of Love (CD, Nov-2009, Arena Rock... USD $8.69 Buy It Now 8h 27m
Duran Duran-Arena-Near Mint Lp Record-Capitol-SWAV-12374 w/booklet and inner USD $6.26 Buy It Now 8h 40m
Merche : Cal Y Arena CD USD $6.02 Buy It Now 8h 42m
FLOORFILLA ANTHEM #5 ENTER THE ARENA 12" VINYL RECORD - Dj CERLA - PICTURE DISC USD $12.99 Buy It Now 9h 23m
DURAN DURAN ARENA CASSETTE TAPE CAPITOL RECORDS 1984 4XV-12374 USD $4.39 Buy It Now 9h 24m
In Deep by Tina Arena (CD, Mar-1999, Sony Music Distribution (USA)) USD $4.00 [0 bids]
9h 41m
Don't Ask by Tina Arena (CD, Apr-1996, Sony Music Distribution (USA)) USD $4.00 [0 bids]
9h 52m
SHADES OF BRASS -ALTAMONTE SPRINGS COMMUNITY JAZZ ENSEMBLE, MIKE ARENA Director USD $9.99 Buy It Now 10h
TINA ARENA SINGING STAR SET OF 5 MINT STAMP STRIPS USD $24.81 Buy It Now 10h 21m
DIE GROSSEN STIMMEN DER ARENA VON VERONA - 1981 Decca 6.35569 German Import USD $9.99 Buy It Now 10h 32m
CASINO ~ S/T ~ prog progressive CLIVE NOLAN PENDRAGON IQ ARENA SHADOWLAND RARE USD $39.99 Buy It Now 10h 33m
Brian Eno Another Green World 3" CD Austria The Little Music of Arena Roxy Music USD $14.99 [0 bids]
USD $19.99 Buy It Now
11h
TINA ARENA BURN C.D. NEW USD $6.19 Buy It Now 11h 23m
?TINA ARENA - I NEED YOUR BODY - 7" 45 VINYL RECORD w PICT SLV - 1990? USD $3.87 Buy It Now 11h 54m
ABBA LIVE AT WEMBLEY ARENA COMPLETE ABBA CONCERT 1979 JAPAN 2 SHM CD SET USD $42.80 Buy It Now 13h 43m
Bob Marley Tour POSTER "National Arena, 1975, Jamaica" BRAND NEW Licensed Art USD $9.22 Buy It Now 14h 3m
JOHN COHEN - DEAF ARENA CD NEW+ USD $21.83 Buy It Now 14h 22m
ARENA,TINA-SOUVENIRS (AUS) CD NEW USD $27.68 Buy It Now 14h 22m
The Grateful Dead Dick's Picks Volume Five/5 Oakland Auditorium Arena 12/26/1979 USD $19.99 [1 bids]
14h 55m
NM LP~MAX EDWARDS~Rockers Arena~[Original 1982 EPIPHANY Iss]~Shrink~ROOTS REGGAE USD $8.90 Buy It Now 15h 11m
ABBA-LIVE AT WEMBLEY ARENA (2 CD)-CD (2) POLYDOR NEW USD $23.29 Buy It Now 15h 29m
UB40 - Live At O2 Arena London 12.12.2009 - 2 CD Album USD $17.85 Buy It Now 15h 57m
Gang Starr / step in the arena / Oop Cassette USD $15.19 Buy It Now 15h 57m
ARENA - THE SEVENTH DEGREE OF SEPARATION 2 VINYL LP PROGRESSIVE ROCK NEW+ USD $43.19 Buy It Now 16h 11m
Tina Arena : DonT Ask CD (1994) USD $3.25 Buy It Now 16h 25m
STATUS QUO - THE FRANTIC FOUR REUNION - LIVE AT WEMBLEY ARENA - DVD+CD - NEW USD $10.40 Buy It Now 17h
Ligabue - Sette Notti In Arena Bonus DVD CD USD $30.49 Buy It Now 17h
Tina Arena, Now I Can Dance, Rare Digipak CD Single USD $11.59 [0 bids]
17h 40m
Tina Arena, I Need Your Body, 12" Single USD $15.47 [0 bids]
17h 43m
Tina Arena, If I Don't Love You CD Maxi-Single - Very Rare Australian Release USD $7.71 [0 bids]
17h 43m
TINA ARENA DON'T ASK CD NEW USD $9.12 Buy It Now 18h 40m
TINA ARENA JUST ME CD NEW USD $10.07 Buy It Now 18h 44m
TRF JAPAN VERSION LIVE DVD Live in Yokohama Arena JP USD $27.99 Buy It Now 18h 54m
Tina Arena 7" 45 Aussie Vinyl Single - I Need Your Body USD $5.43 Buy It Now 18h 57m
Jessie J. Postcard Flyer For Cardiff Arena. USD $1.47 [0 bids]
18h 59m
ALIAS cd MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY power ballad Freddy Curci 80's arena rock pop USD $12.99 Buy It Now 19h 3m
Duran Duran Arena LP (1984) Gatefold + booklet VERY GOOD USD $4.45 Buy It Now 19h 11m
DURAN DURAN - Framed CD Presentation Disc Display USD $22.30 Buy It Now 19h 11m
DURAN DURAN-ARENA LP 1984 GATEFOLD COVER RARE GREEK PRESS POP ROCK/SIMON LE BON USD $8.00 [0 bids]
19h 18m
TINA ARENA - GREATEST HITS ~ 90's AUSSIE POP CD Album ~ BEST OF *NEW* USD $9.11 Buy It Now 19h 50m
Duran Duran - Arena (NEW CD) USD $13.75 Buy It Now 20h 21m
SCREAM ARENA - SCREAM ARENA CD NEW+ USD $15.11 Buy It Now 20h 31m
WHITE LABEL PROMOTIONAL RECORD -EPIC -JOE SHERMAN AND THE ARENA BRASS - FEELING USD $2.69 Buy It Now 20h 34m
ARENA - TEN YEARS ON: 1995-2005 * [5029282100296] - NEW CD USD $11.47 Buy It Now 20h 38m
Proletaryat - In Concert Poznan Arena 91 - Polish Metal USD $9.00 Buy It Now 20h 58m
TINA ARENA - RESET: CD ALBUM (November 3rd, 2014) USD $15.62 Buy It Now 21h 11m
Drum and & Bass Arena - Fabio and & Friction - Vario CD USD $18.21 Buy It Now 21h 31m
Duran Duran - Arena (2727) EMI Records Australia (1984) EMC.260308 - 12" LP USD $1.47 [0 bids]
21h 36m
Martin Orford - Classical Music and Popular Songs cd Big Train IQ Jadis Arena USD $39.90 Buy It Now 21h 46m
USED CONCERT TICKET - MORRISSEY Nottingham Arena 13/03/15 NOTTS (Smiths) USD $2.66 [0 bids]
22h 11m
Eighties Greatest Rock Hits: Arena Rock, Vol. 3 by Various Artists (CD) NEW USD $7.55 Buy It Now 22h 25m
CELI BEE / "Como agua y arena" 1986 TH (Brand new sealed) USD $49.99 Buy It Now 22h 36m
Dj Surreal & Parameter II*- Arena 31 / Millennium Funk 12" W/LBL USD $12.27 Buy It Now 22h 57m
Halford - Live At Saitama Super Arena (NEW CD) USD $18.21 Buy It Now 23h 2m
DRUM & BASS ARENA 2014 [DIGIPAK] - NEW CD BOXSET USD $18.42 Buy It Now 23h 4m
12TAPES! Porcupine Tree, Deyss, Arena, Jadis, Iluvatar, Anekdoten, Fish, Galahad USD $145.00 Buy It Now 23h 18m
Conjunto Acapulco Tropical - Ritmo Sol Y Arena Lp VG+ 20131224 sexy cheesecake USD $4.80 Buy It Now 23h 26m
0 result found for "ARENA"
Visit LPCDressisues.com for more results


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 shows & tickets


  • 20th Anniversary Tour "THE UNQUIET SKY" on 27 Mar 2015
  • Rock Ittervoort 2015 on 28 Mar 2015
  • Arena at Hedon, Zwolle on 31 Mar 2015
  • Arena at Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg on 1 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Zeche Carl, Essen on 2 Apr 2015
  • Arena + The No Name Experience at Chez Paulette, Pagney-derrière-Barine on 3 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Alte Wollfabrik, Schwetzingen on 4 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Bergkeller, Reichenbach on 5 Apr 2015
  • Arena + Knight Area at Kinoteatr Rialto, Katowice on 9 Apr 2015
  • Arena + Knight Area at Proxima, Warszawa on 10 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Blue Note, Poznan on 11 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Pratteln on 14 Apr 2015
  • Arena 20th anniversary tour en Sala Bikini Barcelona on 17 Apr 2015
  • Arena + Weend'ô at Le Connexion Café, Toulouse on 22 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Le Marché Gare, Lyon on 23 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Divan du Monde, Paris on 24 Apr 2015
  • Convention Prog-résiste 2015 on 25 Apr 2015
  • Arena at Boerderij, Zoetermeer on 25 Apr 2015

ARENA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ARENA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 322 ratings
Songs From The Lion's Cage
1995
3.66 | 247 ratings
Pride
1996
4.07 | 521 ratings
The Visitor
1998
3.91 | 352 ratings
Immortal?
2000
4.20 | 481 ratings
Contagion
2002
3.61 | 332 ratings
Pepper's Ghost
2005
3.46 | 213 ratings
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
2011
3.36 | 5 ratings
The Unquiet Sky
2015

ARENA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 56 ratings
Welcome To The Stage
1997
3.83 | 65 ratings
Breakfast In Biarritz
2001
4.45 | 56 ratings
Live & Life
2004
3.00 | 15 ratings
Live Recorded 2011/12 tour
2013

ARENA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.90 | 37 ratings
Caught In The Act
2003
3.81 | 51 ratings
Smoke & Mirrors
2006
4.08 | 21 ratings
Rapture
2013

ARENA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 65 ratings
The Cry
1997
3.30 | 19 ratings
Ten Years On 1995 - 2005
2006
3.86 | 17 ratings
Contagion Max
2014

ARENA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.23 | 7 ratings
Edits
1996
3.44 | 11 ratings
Welcome Back! To The Stage
1997
3.43 | 14 ratings
The Visitor (Revisited)
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Story Of My Life
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never Alone
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Cage Unlocked
2001
3.11 | 9 ratings
Unlocking The Cage - 1995 - 2000
2001
2.84 | 41 ratings
Contagious
2003
2.47 | 23 ratings
Radiance
2003
3.10 | 37 ratings
Contagium
2003

ARENA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Unquiet Sky by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.36 | 5 ratings

BUY
The Unquiet Sky
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by Wasp

3 stars This review is based on 3 listens on receipt this week of the new album - and I'm sure my feelings may change with time and more familiarity, however, I have to say that this (to me) sounds just the same as Seventh Degree, very formulaic. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this album as I enjoyed the previous, it just is not quite up there for me. The guitar and drums are so similar to previous albums, and I'm still not convinced that Paul Manzi (great vocalist that he is) suits Arena's sound. And where oh where is Nolan's keyboards, which used to be one of the joys of great Arena albums, very memorable hooks and catchy noodlings...ha ha. Now, I search but cannot find. I will endeavour to find something in this album for me, but my initial instincts are, good, but not great and could've been brilliant. Is it time to say RIP Arena (along with Pallas & Pendragon), I sincerely hope not, but....... Sorry guys.

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Seventh Degree Of Separation by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.46 | 213 ratings

BUY
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars After a long break of six years, Arena return with no Rob Snowden on vocals and a concept album yet again (Clive Nolan is responsible for all the lyrics), this time on what they call the 7th degree of separation (or rather connection?): that to the dead. This abstract theme is recurring in the album but don't expect continuous storytelling.

There is a significant change of structure compared to Pepper's Ghost with only one composition exceeding the 5-minute mark. Paul Manzi does a good job on vocals, albeit his range sounds narrower than that of his predecessor, but that fits the overall build of the album: verse-chorus-verse compositions with a strong rock character, very good melodies and solid rhythm section but little grandiose and theatrical twists and turns. AOR does come into play and does fit nicely to the new path Arena have decided on this album, with a rather strong commercial feel and without necessarily eroding the characteristic sound of Nolan/Mitchell, at least when compared to the band's post-2000 heavier releases.

''Trebuchet'' and (the long-ish) ''Catching the Bullet'' are perhaps the only tracks with a direct reference to the material on Pepper's Ghost and constitute, along with ''Burning Down'' and the very Marillion-esque closing ''The Tinder Box'', the more interesting compositions in the last part of the album. Furthermore, there are excellent vocal sections in ''Bed of Nails'' and ''Rapture''. The Threshold-prog-metal-type sound is quite dominant and even in songs where the commercial approach might go a bit too far (''One Last Au Revoir''), Arena manage to pull the ideas and melodies to maintain consistence, with no stand-out weak tracks.

A good album that flows freely; certainly not essential, but the potential is there for a return to their excellent moments. 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).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Visitor by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.07 | 521 ratings

BUY
The Visitor
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Continuing their rotisserie of cast members coming and going from their musical theater, ARENA really pulled it together on their third full album THE VISITOR. On this release we get John Mitchell replacing Keith More on the guitar but what really works about this album is it sounds like ARENA really came into their own sound, sufficiently distancing themselves from the Marillion inspired sound of their debut album and continuing some of the sounds of the second which didn't quite come together as well as i had liked.

On THE VISITOR we are treated to a full concept album (although a somewhat nebulous one) that is a pleasure to listen to from beginning to end replete with only the most pleasant melodic progressions and outstanding musicianship to follow suit. Paul Wrightson also sounds like his voice has melded perfectly into the mix and above all the prepossessing prowess of the poetic lyrics are outstanding! With baleful lyrics such as those in "The Hanging Tree" so perfectly placed together to express themselves, it makes me wonder if poetry was Nolan's first love.

One thing that is more notable about this album the previous one is the slight toning down on the aggressive parts. There are still borderline metallic riffs that make their way into the seamless parade of moods and synth runs but nothing feels forced and enters the stage only when appropriate. The production values are impeccable with beautiful swirling synths providing the expected backbone around the vocal delivery and the rest of the band following their lead. I also want to mention how important the Pink Floydian space guitars are on this album. While Genesis rightfully gets the credit for inspiring the neo-prog sub genre, it is the brilliance of the guitars that meld the neo-prog approach well into the space rock world, only one approach ARENA utilizes effortlessly in their evolution of the sub genre.

This is about the point where Clive Nolan was proving himself to be one of the most vital forces in neo-prog as he was scoring big with both ARENA as well as Pendragon but also found time to have creative energy left over for yet one more band, Shadowland. Although the concept is nebulous and pretty much serves as an undefined heart strings tug for the most part, the murkiness of the meaning accompanied by the outstandingly beautiful music works well on my part. The continuation of a long string of high quality releases by one of my faves in the neo-prog world.

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 Pride by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.66 | 247 ratings

BUY
Pride
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars After their beautiful debut release which put ARENA on the map as worthy successors of Marillion's unique neo-prog sound from the 80s, the band went through a few changes with the loss of both a bassist and a lead singer. Out was Paul Wrightson and in was John Jowitt, who played in Ark, IQ, Jadis and Frost. Vocalist John Carson was also out and Paul Wrightson stepped in as the second vocalist of ARENA's ever changing lineup. The result of these changes gives their second album PRIDE an overall harder edged feel that has a much different sound than the debut album that really could have passed as an 80s Marillion album if you didn't know any better.

From the very first track "Welcome To The Cage" it is clear that the guitar riffs are been sped up, the vocals are more aggressive and the style has a more rough and round the edges approach. We also get a continuation of the "Crying For Help" tracks that alternate between the main tracks. The first one "V" is a nice little melody that reminds me of a lullaby and the rest serve as mood enhancers to properly transition the main tracks, although on this album it feels more forced as they don't always successfully fit in. The rest are all instrumental as well ranging from arpeggiated guitar numbers with a classical Bach type feel "VI" to one that's a cappella "VII" and one that's a great deal ambient with a choir and operatic diva belting out wordless vocals "VIII".

"Empire Of A Thousand Days" and "Fool's Gold" are two of the longer tracks both reaching just over the nine and a half minute mark. The former is a nice classic neo-prog track that incorporates all the expected moody synths, guitar textures and layers of emotional response triggers that makes a really good neo-prog song. The track "Fool's Gold" is another rocker with hyperactive keyboards, borderline prog metal riffing and a bass line that reminds of the classic Marillion sound. A decent high energy performance on this one. "Sirens" is the longest track just under fourteen minutes. This track also takes us on a journey through different moods and emotional soundscapes. IMHO kind of long and doesn't go as many places as i would like.

Overall i'm not as enthralled by this second ARENA release. While there are plenty of beautiful tracks, the consistency isn't as good as what preceded and not even close to what follows. The turbulence of the circumstances in the lineup changes seems to have affected the album as a whole. It sounds to me like the "Crying For Help" tracks fit more with the debut and the others take on the new harder rocking avenue the band was taking. To me they don't flow together as smoothly as they should. Although i really love albums that contrast sounds, such is not the case in the realm of neo-prog where i find a consistency between the tracks to be mandatory in making a cohesive album. This is probably one of my least favorite ARENA album (still haven't heard the last two) but even so there is plenty of good music on this album even if it's not their absolute best. 3.5 rounded down

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 Songs From The Lion's Cage by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.87 | 322 ratings

BUY
Songs From The Lion's Cage
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars In my opinion ARENA carried the torch of Fish era Marillion when they arrived on the scene in 1995. Hogarth era Marillion just lost me big time as it sounds like a hollow version of what came before. I know others love his vocals and their light delicate sound but i personally want some rock in my neo-prog and that's EXACTLY what ARENA deliver on their debut album SONGS FROM THE LIONS CAGE. Just as Marillion took on the late 70s Genesis sound and ruled the 80s with that new symphonic prog renamed neo-prog, once Fish departed, it left a vacuum in the market for that very successful formula. Two neo-prog veterans took notice and decided that niche needed to be revisited.

Those two veterans, of course, were keyboardist Clive Nolan and Mick Pointer. Nolan who ambitiously has fronted Pendragon since 1986, Shadowland since 1992 and ARENA since 1995 simultaneously is an ambitious one having created some of the best offerings the neo- prog sub has to offer. Mick Pointer, on the other hand, was the original drummer for Marillion playing only on the first EP "Market Square Heroes" and the first LP "Script For A Jester's Tear" and pretty much stayed out of the musical world since. This connection is evident as much of this album sounds very much like 80s Marillion but to write it off as a mere clone would be erroneous since there is so much more to offer.

This is a profound album that sounds like it was done by true professionals in the field. All musicians are outstanding but it is Nolan's Wakeman-esque keyboard wizardry interacting with the outstanding guitar acrobatics of Keith More that really give this album an electrifying energy. The only ARENA album to feature John Carson on vocals shows him display a full command of every tender passage and then able to rock out at the drop of a hat. I particularly love his vocal phrasings and he is one of my favorite voices in this particular type of prog. The lyrics are beautifully poetic with traumatic life experiences such as the loss of love which are metaphorically represented by such images of historical horrors such as the album title alludes to.

This album has it all. It really excels at clever songwriting and delivers every single passage in a perfect way. The longer tracks cleverly alternate with the mostly instrumental "Crying For Help" interludes which embellish the atmospheric mood building to great success. The cream of this fine album comes with the finale "Solomon," a sprawling fourteen minute plus prog gem that displays all the goods in one track with lightning fast keyboard runs playing with virtuoso guitars and highly developed soft spoken melodies trading off with hard rocking segments.

I really love this debut album by ARENA. I get a 5 star enjoyment level out of this one but i just can't rate it that high because it is a bit too similar in sound with 80s Marillion at times and even though it is perfectly done i just can't bring myself to rate it higher. It is a super strong 4 stars though.

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 Pepper's Ghost by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.61 | 332 ratings

BUY
Pepper's Ghost
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars 10 Years On: Arena's Pepper's Ghost

Modern neo-prog has always been an interesting scene to talk about within progressive rock. Long mocked as a 'poor man's symphonic', neo never really got all too much credit in the 80's, and for good reason. Marillion, they were good, but that was about it in terms of quality material from the new wave of bands. Even current favourites IQ and Pendragon were far from amazing in their original incarnations, really just playing weak Genesis knockoffs with a bit more synth and pop thrown in.

But despite hiding under the shadow of the absolutely incredible Fish-led Marillion for the first decade of their time, these bands, specifically the three that I call The Big Three of Modern Neo- Prog (IQ, Pendragon and Arena), somehow found their sound and compositional skill years after the genre's supposed 'heyday'. Today, if you were to ask anyone who the best bands making progressive rock today who have also been making it for 30 years, everyone would straight away jump to those three (or at least the first two, for reasons I'll get to soon). None of the symphonic bands can cut it anymore. All of the 70's bands that are still around suck, yet somehow three bands that were formed in the 80's (ok technically Arena were 90's) are making the best music of their career now.

The 90's and early 2000's saw the Big Three capitalise on the missing Marillion to make some pretty standard neo-prog that was nearly up to the quality of Marillion at their peak. Pendragon put out The Window of Life and The Masquerade Overture, IQ put out Ever and Subterranea, and even though they were a bit late, Arena's The Visitor and Contagion could be included in the list of 'essential neo-prog albums', over a decade after the microgenre had dissolved. But this sound couldn't last. The most impressive thing about these three bands is that they could stay relevant while simultaneously keeping their defining sound. Each album shifting slightly towards the new normal, but never losing their compositional style. By the early 2000's, neo-prog was beginning to sound ridiculously campy, ridiculously 80's. Floaty synths and Fish-impressions in 7/8 weren't cool anymore, even in the ultra uncool areas of modern prog. What they needed was a new sound, and although in 2015 we look at IQ and Pendragon as being the forerunners of old men understanding how to be relevant, the sound of modern neo-prog was actually an Arena invention, here, on Pepper's Ghost.

The point of this long winded historical introduction is that despite the fact that IQ and Pendragon took this sound and used it to put out albums that were consistently impressing fans, it was actually Arena who played it first. Pendragon jumped on the bandwagon with Pure, and IQ only half did with Frequency (although fully did with The Road of Bones), but it was Arena's Pepper's Ghost that first proved to the world that neo-prog could not only exist in the 21st century, but sound good. And although Arena's new material would pale in comparison to that which IQ and Pendragon put out afterwards, this album's importance is undeniable.

This was certainly the best time in Arena's career to shift their sound. Contagion, and its two additional EPs, Contagious and Contagium, were undeniably the band's best work, finally making their melodic style of neo-prog work on more than just a few tracks, creating 23 songs of which there was hardly a dud. 'Go out on top', they say, and this was certainly the best time to take a risk. Although Pepper's Ghost is hardly a big sonic change - the guitars are a touch meatier, the snare is absolutely deliciously punchy and the synths less corny, it demonstrated clearly how well neo-prog could be adapted into the 21st century, using 21st century production. Symphonic prog's organ worship never sounded truly natural amongst modern sounds, but give the guitars and drums some more oomph and the synths a dark texture and neo-prog suddenly sounds the best it's ever been.

Unfortunately, despite Pepper's Ghost being the flagship for this new way of making neo-prog, the songs themselves aren't anywhere near as influential or as fresh. The closing epic 'Opera Fanatica' is the only real time when Arena add new parts to their composition, as opposed to dressing their old style with a new coat. The song's 3-minute overture is played with punchy, almost metal distorted guitars and drums, and even the main body of the song has an energy to the instruments that neo-prog has simply never had.

But aside from that, and a couple of other choice moments, these are still standard Arena songs, at a slightly lower level than the ones from Contagion and its EPs. Arena possess the same quality melody-finding abilities as any good neo-prog band, but without anything new in their songwriting arsenal, these songs do drift into cliche a fair bit. All of them have strong melodies and riffs and ideas but they are presented in the same old way with the same old cliches, and the new, punchier production being the only thing stopping this from being a second-rate IQ ripoff or a weaker version of Contagion.

In the end, Pepper's Ghost is a landmark album for neo-progressive rock, but in itself is only decent. Like any Arena album there are some great moments, but nothing that really makes you sit up and pay attention. And even then, the new sounds aren't enough to make this a truly impressive album sonically - this is still miles away from the ridiculously dark synths on The Road of Bones. For Arena, it would be six more years and a new vocalist until the follow up to Pepper's Ghost, and by that time both IQ and Pendragon would have picked up the hint and adopted the same heavier undertones that are on this album, but to a much stronger degree, and with much better songwriting. Credit where credit is due for Arena pushing there first, but quite frankly, this was done better 10 years later with The Road of Bones and Men Who Climb Mountains.

6.9

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Seventh Degree Of Separation by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.46 | 213 ratings

BUY
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars The seventh album in their almost twenty year history, Neo-progger's Arena's `The Seventh Degree of Separation' from 2011 has proven to be a rather controversial and divisive album in their discography. While the British band have frequently offered a heavier take on the Neo sub-genre, this album presents a collection of shorter, more compact heavy AOR pieces, with fewer extended instrumental passages than found on their previous discs. While that is initially quite underwhelming and a disappointment, the trick here is to pay attention to the strong song-writing, catchy choruses and tightly reigned in but nicely implemented instrumental flourishes. Arena has offered plenty of stronger works in their career, but the idea that this is a dud of an album is completely false! Besides, any band that boasts Pendragon keyboard supremo Clive Nolan, John Mitchell of It Bites/Kino, John Jowitt of Jadis/I.Q and ex-Marillion drummer Mick Pointer will certainly deliver the goods. New vocalist Paul Manzi replaces Rod Sowden from the three previous Arena studio discs, and he makes a confident and memorable debut on this dark concept album about passing over to the other side.

There's so much confidence instantly on display throughout opener `The Great Escape', as Manzi sings unaccompanied before the band erupts into bombastic crunching heaviness. Instantly the sleek gutsy sound that will dominate this album is present, with plenty of bombast and heightened drama. Despite Nolan seemingly being quite low-key throughout the disc, he's constantly offering very subtle and classy contributions, and his gothic choir synths as the rest of the band flex their metal muscle in the up-tempo riffing finale is addictive! `Rapture' is all snarling riffs over cooled synths with a chest-beating chorus, and foot-taping driving up-tempo rocker `One Last Au Revoir' boasts an impossibly catchy chorus with an infectious and joyous classic Neo guitar and synth solo burst in the middle. `The Ghost Walks' is a chilly spoken word passage over spectral synth choirs, `Thief of Souls' moves back and forth between ghostly piano passages and brooding harder blasts (cool thicker bass from Jowitt leaping out in these spots too), and `Close Your Eyes' is an introspective AOR pop/rocker with a soaring vocal.

`Echoes of the Fall' is a frantic heavy-metal interlude with skittering electronic loops and pulsing bass, then the whole band bring immense power to `Bed of Nails', with plenty of sophistication from the chiming guitars, classical organ and a booming grand chorus. The reflective `What If' delivers another of the strongest chorus, sung with great conviction by Manzi over flowing symphonic synths from Clive, and John Mitchell's guitar solo following the vocal melody before taking flight in the final seconds is simply lovely. `Trebuchet' is a stream-of-consciousness outburst. Then, all in four and a half minutes, the gothic `Burning Down', another album highlight, works in ebbing electronics, a darkly crooned vocal and spiraling organ married to heavy riffing with not one, but two equally memorable choruses! `All signs are gone now of my tedious insistence' is a very bleak lyric in this piece. `Catching The Bullet' is the proggiest and longest piece here at almost eight minutes. The extended time allows for plenty of drama and tension to this mix of an emotional AOR chorus, overwhelming organ, cascading piano, Pointer's rolling drum fills, grumbling bass and a victorious guitar solo finale during the only extended instrumental passage of the album in the second half. The album closes on the somber yet hopeful power ballad `The Tinder Box'.

Although listeners should probably investigate most of their other albums before this one, and the hard rock/AOR direction may be a little too straight-forward for some, `The Seventh Degree of Separation' is still very recognizable as Arena, and it mostly maintains a strong consistency throughout. It contains a handful of Arena classics, plenty of worthwhile compositions and just a couple of throwaway moments, but it's still a worthwhile album all the same, one that proves to be a real grower and holds a very distinctive identity in the Arena catalogue. Don't write it off on the first few plays, give it several spins and let it reveal it's strengths, and you'll be rewarded with a fine, inspired album from this terrific Neo band. If you do enjoy it, also look into the `Rapture' live DVD where frontman Manzi proves to be a very charismatic presence and the band gives the music from this album a slightly pumped up proggy toughness!

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

(This review is dedicated to Archives member Progbethyname, aka Nick, who's the biggest Arena fan I know!)

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Seventh Degree Of Separation by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.46 | 213 ratings

BUY
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Arena - The Seventh Degree of Seperation (2011)

On this album by Arena, a major band of the neo-progressive rock genre, we get to hear quite a lot change going on. Vocalist Rob Sowden has left the group, which I myself though was a pitty. New singer Paul Manzi has a powerful modern prog voice, much less abstract and 'somewhere out there' then Sowden's. Another major change is the style of the material, which consists of shorts songs with relatively little progressive rock dynamics and originality. A third is the modern progressive metal sound with the heavy guitars of Mitchell put on the foreground and the keyboards of progressive rock veteran Clive Nolan quite timid in the mix. The effect is a less recognizable sound for Arena, which has grown a lot towards bands like Kamelot.

Former vocalist Rob Sowden often found ways to elevate songs to a degree that I thought of albums like 'Contagion' as significantly better then that of the competition in the field. Perhaps he just hit the spot for me personally. Now singer Paul Manzi sings lines that a clearly from Arena, yet distinctively more overproduced and less in the moment of the music. Most refrains are made up of vocal notes tightly bound to the rhythm and harmony and with little fantasy or liveliness. Moreover, almost every chorus has that dubbed poppy progressive metal vocal sound, which easily becomes a bore. In the couplet themes Paul Manzi proves to be more lively and slightly aggressive, which works for me.

The short songs don't seem to be out of place in the beginning of the album, but after a while the simple tight melodies on heavy, but simple chords start to become quite uninteresting. The songs are just a bit too much like the the one before it. Exceptions are mystical 'The Ghost Walks' and the up-tempo 'Echoes of the Fall'. Most songs have some great symphonic instrumental themes, but because the lack of advanced songwriting nothing falls in its right place. Even the better tracks like before mentioned 'The Ghost Walks' would have fitted better within a multi-part progressive rock track. To make things even worse, the only longer track of the album 'Catching the Bullet' fails to impress because of apparent lack of innovation or some original hook (like for instance Opera Fanatica had).

It must however be said that the band has made a good impression on the heavy metal community, getting for instance a 90/100 from Dutch metal magazine 'Aardschok' and 87/100 from online metal magazine 'metalfan.nl'. The band has most certainly not lost any of its professional sound and musicianship. So perhaps we can conclude Arena has made an effort to win new audiences in the booming progressive and symphonic metal genre.

Conclusion. This album shows the band going into a more straightforward symphonic metal direction, which I find significantly less interesting. Three stars. Still highly recommended to fans of the progressive metal 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).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Seventh Degree Of Separation by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.46 | 213 ratings

BUY
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by tuxon

5 stars What a great album this is, it took me a few spins to apreciate it as much as it deserves to be apreciated. At first I just liked it because it was easy to get into and just listen and enjoy it. But after a few years of heavy rotating I still listen to it very regularly, and that has a reason. It's a very great record, it's intriging, melodic, almost popular even. Together with The Visitor and Contagion the Seventh Degree of Separation is my favourite album by Arena, and maybe it's even their best.

The best part of the album is that with each listening a little more of the beauty is revealed, like good wine it ages well over time.

The best songs are in no particular order: 1. The Great Escape (4:38) 2. Rapture (4:22) 3. One Last Au Revoir (4:34) 4. The Ghost Walks (3:19) 5. Thief Of Souls (3:52) 6. Close Your Eyes (3:25) 7. Echoes Of The Fall (2:26) 8. Bed Of Nails (4:39) 9. What If? (4;35) 10. Trebuchet (3:39) 11. Burning Down (4:29) 12. Catching The Bullet (7:42) 13. The Tinder Box (4:16) Listen in this order and completely for the best experience, oh and don't forget to put it on replay for the more listenings you get the better it gets, and of course play it loud, your neighbours deserve to hear some good music to.

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).

Forum user
Forum password
 The Seventh Degree Of Separation by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.46 | 213 ratings

BUY
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by Fearabsentia

4 stars Arena-The Seventh Degree of Separation

'The Seventh Degree of Separation' is the seventh studio album by progressive rock/hard rock band Arena.

After Arena's well received 2005 rock opera 'Pepper's Ghost', it wasn't until six years later when Arena would release their next album. Upon it's release, many people were disappointed with the outcome of this album. Many complained that it was too bland and comparable to commercial hard rock, yet I find this not to be the case.

The vocalist has changed on this album, featuring vocalist Paul Manzi instead of Rob Sowden. They have very similar voices, so it doesn't change the feel of the music very much. I just felt like I had to point out this line-up change, even though it doesn't effect the music much.

This album is definitely hard rock-based, instead of the more progressive metal-leaning previous album, but that doesn't make this a weak album. Like usual, Arena gives us a powerful opener with 'The Great Escape' which shows Manzi's powerful vocals very strongly right at the start. The heavy booming guitar comes in at the perfect moment after the words 'Can Anybody Hear Me?'. 'The Ghost Walks' is another standout track, with a marching beat and a menacing atmosphere. 'Echoes of the Fall' may be only two-and-a-half minutes, but what a two-and-a-half minutes they are. This song is the heaviest song on the album, and is a metal song. The powerful fast riffing and catchy lyrics make this an instant classic for me. 'Burning Down' has a Dream Theater-like sound, so this will be of interest to fans of that band. The closing song 'The Tinder Box' is probably my favorite along with 'Echoes of the Fall'. 'The Tinder Box' is everything a closing song should be, a slow melodic beginning with great piano, a powerful steady build-up, and an epic finale.

The concept of the album is about the birth and death of the world, so it does have an overall darker tone; however, a lot of the songs and lyrics feel very empowering. Songs like 'Close Your Eyes' and 'The Tinder Box' are both songs that I feel are very empowering.

Overall, it is certainly no flawless album, there are a few forgettable tracks here and there. The very powerful songs make up for that though, and it remains my favorite Arena album. I recommend it to any fan of hard rock with some progressive qualities.

Hope you found this review helpful.

(Originally written for www.MetalMusicArchives.com on October 19th 2014.)

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).

Forum user
Forum password
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | 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: 2.89 seconds