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ARENA

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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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!

''Pepper's ghost'' from 2005 sees Arena entering the realms of a quite heavy and very symphonic sound with some metal elements, a real highlight of their career. Long-time members Rod Sowden and Ian Salmon left the band in 2010 and they were replaced by Paul Manzi and John Jowitt respectively, the latter starting his second stint with the band.''The Seventh Degree Of Separation'' offers a very fresh and pounding sound, but the song structures had now become a bit conventional. Same goes for their latest entry, the 2015 ''The Unquiet Sky'', here Jowitt's place has been taken by newcomer Kylan Amos.

One of the best bands on the English scene nowadays... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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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 | 337 ratings
Songs From The Lion's Cage
1995
3.66 | 263 ratings
Pride
1996
4.07 | 537 ratings
The Visitor
1998
3.91 | 365 ratings
Immortal?
2000
4.20 | 498 ratings
Contagion
2002
3.61 | 342 ratings
Pepper's Ghost
2005
3.46 | 227 ratings
The Seventh Degree Of Separation
2011
3.77 | 82 ratings
The Unquiet Sky
2015

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

3.66 | 58 ratings
Welcome To The Stage
1997
3.83 | 69 ratings
Breakfast In Biarritz
2001
4.43 | 62 ratings
Live & Life
2004
3.15 | 18 ratings
Live Recorded 2011/12 tour
2013

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

3.90 | 40 ratings
Caught In The Act
2003
3.81 | 53 ratings
Smoke & Mirrors
2006
4.08 | 22 ratings
Rapture
2013

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

2.96 | 67 ratings
The Cry
1997
3.31 | 20 ratings
Ten Years On 1995 - 2005
2006
3.86 | 18 ratings
Contagion Max
2014

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

2.22 | 8 ratings
Edits
1996
3.43 | 12 ratings
Welcome Back! To The Stage
1997
3.42 | 15 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
3.10 | 10 ratings
Unlocking The Cage - 1995 - 2000
2001
2.85 | 43 ratings
Contagious
2003
2.48 | 24 ratings
Radiance
2003
3.10 | 38 ratings
Contagium
2003

ARENA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Unquiet Sky by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 82 ratings

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The Unquiet Sky
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Arena has gotten lazy, selling us English Victorian fantasies (hence the talk of bishops and the parchments) all over again. I've heard this album described as a return to form after the relatively simplified Seventh Degree of Separation, but neither Degree was that bad nor the new one is that good. I view them both as continuing on the largely similar path - vocal-dominated plodding gothic hard rock with that typical Arena production that sounds as if crashing down on your ears unquietly from the sky. But whereas Seventh Degree had several hit-sounding tracks on it, memorable hooks or surprising passages are simply missing on Unquiet Sky. It's just a big lump of hard rock with loud synths.

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 Immortal? by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 365 ratings

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Immortal?
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Neo-proggers ARENA entered the timeline of the millennial change releasing their fourth album IMMORTAL? and sees the edition of yet another lineup change with their third lead vocalist Rob Sowden replacing Paul Wrightson and taking the role of musical story teller and frontman. Also we get a changing of the guard on bass duties with Ian Salmon taking over for John Jowitt. While Sowden's vocal abilities don't strike me as having as wide of a vocal range as his two predecessors he does manage to get the job done and despite being put off by his addition to the band upon first listen, i have comfortably settled into the fact that they really don't dissuade from the musical experience at hand.

As far as the music itself, despite the addition of a new vocalist and bassist, this is 90s ARENA all the way with strong ties to the Marillion neo-prog sound of the 80s replete with keyboards on atmospheric steroids, melodic guitar solos and that galloping baseline that gives neo-prog its own special bouncy flavor in the greater prog universe. John Mitchell continues to ramp up the distorted power chords ratcheting the band ever closer to the more hard rock oriented sound of future albums and the music is as catchy and melodically drenched in melancholy as any of the best neo-prog releases out there. Mitchell's solos and acoustic contributions are also tasty attributes to the overall scheme of things.

Like most ARENA albums, this one is endowed with excellent lyrical content loosely based on the concept of the human perception that the obsession for technology is a panacea for taking the place of aspects in life that keep the body and soul in balance with the greater worldl environment with an album cover that reminds me of the same theme like on Roger Waters' "Amused To Death." The vocals are delivered with the usual flair and gusto that ARENA vocalists are known for and even though Sowden isn't top dog for my favorite vocalists he does fit well into this style of music that requires the frontman to accentuate the rhythms, melodies and themes that demand such bravado. Mick Pointer's drumming has improved although never flashy or out of the context of the music.

As always, despite being a tad derivative of previous neo-prog releases, ARENA doesn't disappoint with strong, well-crafted tracks that are constructed of highly melodic developments accentuated by all the icings on the cake such as the pompous bombast of Clive Nolan's keyboard runs, suave piano rolls and synthethesized atmospheres drenched with mellotron and choral samples. I initially liked IMMORTAL? less than many of the other ARENA albums surrounding it but i have to admit that the tunes are downright catchy enough to hook me and reel me in so successfully that i have surrendered to their charm. Still not my favorite ARENA album and the 90s approach to songwriting is definitely in need of an upgrade soon but this last vestige of that era is a very decent one with IMMORTAL? ranking high amongst its contemporary neo-prog rivals.

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 The Unquiet Sky by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 82 ratings

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The Unquiet Sky
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by steve-s332

4 stars I picked this album up when I went to the first gig on Arena's 2015 tour. I had enjoyed "The 7th Degree of Separation", but I didn't think it matched the rich vein of form the band struck starting with "The Visitor" and ending with "Contagion". "The 7th Degree of Separation" brought the guitars to the front of the band's sound, which I think resulted in a loss of balance - I am pleased to report that "The Unquiet Sky" has brought things back. The opening track "The Demon Strkes" starts with an orchestral type of riff that sounds a bit like the soundtrack to "Night of the Demon", the movie the album takes much of its concept from, and breaks into a great track that sets the scene very well for the album with threatening ghostly sounds floating around the track. The second track, "How Did It Come to This?" is for me the stand-out track on the album. It is quite simply gorgeous, with an excellent almost longing vocal from Paul Manzi and a superb solo from John Mitchell. The album then dips a little as it continues the story; "The Bishop of Lufford" has a nice hook, but I found the next 3 tracks atmospheric but not particularly exciting. However, the album then kicks up a gear as it enters the second half, with "The Unquiet Sky" leading a great sequence of tracks that gradually build towards the end of the story - I get the impression that Clive Nolan really enjoyed writing this, and his keyboards certainly jump out a lot more, with sterling service in "What Happened Before" and "Time Runs Out" and a great keyboard/guitar combo on "Returning the Curse". The last 2 tracks finish off the album in fine style, with "The Unexpected Dawn" reflecting wistfully on the story, and "Traveller Beware!" bursting into a sharp, driving rhythm with a ripping guitar solo, a quieter middle section and a great crescendo to complete a very good album.

Definitely worth buying this one when it is released - just be careful not to accept a strange piece of paper with seven mysterious symbols written on it.....

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 The Unquiet Sky by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 82 ratings

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The Unquiet Sky
Arena Neo-Prog

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

4 stars * Please note - this review is based on the pre-order CD sold directly from the band, one month before the worldwide general release *

Clive Nolan and his Neo-hard rocking companions return for the eighth Arena album in twenty years, `The Unquiet Sky', taking inspiration from (without being a direct interpretation of) M.R James' short story `Casting the Runes'. It's easy to see why the ghostly tale of supernatural intrigue and occult mystery from 1911 would appeal to Mr Nolan, and the album reveals plenty of the sleek and heavy symphonic rock with poetic lyrics that the British band is known for. The previous disc `The Seventh Degree of Separation' was a divisive and somewhat controversial release for a new line-up of the group that now included vocalist Paul Manzi, a transitional album that saw them adopting a more streamlined hard rock/metal sound. But long-time fans of the group will be pleased to know that, while there are still similarities to that previous album here and there, the much-loved symphonic atmospheres the band was known for are given more focus again, meaning a better balance of these two qualities together to create a truly sublime Arena work.

Some of the twelve tracks on offer still retain a hard-rock flavour, but everything an Arena fan could hope to discover is all present and accounted for here. After a more low-key performance on the previous album, virtuoso keyboardist/composer Clive Nolan is center stage again over the entire disc. Not only are his exquisite synths constant and upfront, but the artist has also implemented plenty of theatrical and orchestral symphonic textures into the group this time around, his recent work with the `Alchemy' musical being obvious right from the start, and these theatrical flourishes are a perfect fit for the group. Vocalist Manzi made a promising and reliable debut as singer for the group on `...Separation', but here he lifts his game considerably and offers endless more vocal variety. Better worked into the group, he is equally at home with heartfelt ballads, theatre flair and chest-beating rockers, and he has really become a perfect frontman for the band. Kylan Amos from Nolan's own `Alchemy' production replaces bass player and IQ member John Jowitt and makes an impressive debut here, ex-Marillion drummer perfectly drives the music forwards and It Bites/Kino/Lonely Robot guitarist John Mitchell delivers his usual tasteful and commanding guitar flair.

Of several of the highlights, listen out for the gleefully wicked and wondrous orchestral pomp that opens the album that could easily be an outtake from Mr Nolan's `Alchemy' show, the infernal and overwhelming church organ intimidation of `The Demon Strikes' and especially the shimmering dark reggae (yes, really!) chimes and sleek electronics of the thrashing `No Chance Encounter', where Kylan's bass really glides. `The Bishop of Lufford' perfectly mixes ghostly gothic mystery with soaring symphonic prog and muscular hard rock (and wait for that hair-tearing heavy finale!). `Oblivious to the Night' is a fragile little piano interlude with whimsical synths and a thoughtful vocal, `Markings on a Parchment' is an eerie dream-like introspective instrumental, and Mitchell's extended guitar solo in the classy title track even brings to mind Nolan's other band Pendragon.

Cascading classical piano spirals with snarling brooding guitars in `What Happened Before', and Clive delivers an overload of delirious synth soloing goodness on both `Time is Running Out' and `Returning the Curse' in the best Nolan tradition that his fans always love to hear! `Unexpected Dawn' is a strong ballad with warm Hammond organ and soothing acoustic guitar, and the ambitious seven minute closer `Traveller Beware' finds time for plenty of ghostly gothic tension, punchy plodding heavy riffs, creeping piano and a stirring repeated chorus with a dark lyric.

But special mention has to go to glorious power balled entitled `How Did It Come To This?'. It's a glorious emotional tune with a sombre piano melody, delicate orchestration and dreamy lyrics, carried by a perfectly controlled yet soaring vocal from Manzi. A restrained unfolding guitar solo from Mitchell in the middle ensures it may be one of the truly most heartfelt pieces ever to appear on an Arena album, and it's certainly one of their most purely romantic musical statements to date.

Along with typically fascinating and surreal proggy cover artwork and a lavish CD booklet (but what a shame there doesn't seem to be a vinyl version in the works so far), `The Unquiet Sky' is one of the most lavish, sophisticated and varied Arena albums to date, and certainly one of their most endlessly melodic. It's a fine return to form for the Neo prog institution, and it really shows what this latest line-up is capable of, so hopefully even more impressive music is to come from the mighty Arena!

Four stars.

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 The Unquiet Sky by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 82 ratings

BUY
The Unquiet Sky
Arena Neo-Prog

Review by onslo

4 stars Arena are back on form! I've had this album since their gig in London recently (a couple of weeks ago) and I've had it virtually on repeat. I won't make too much of an extensive review here but I will make a few bullet points.

* Anyone who had issues with Paul Manzi's voice on the last album should give him another chance on this one. Rob Sowden is obviously the best singer they've had. I personally liked the job Manzi did on the last album, yet it did take a bit of getting used to. But I can say that, on this album, he does an even better job and his voice is recorded and mixed in a way that suits him better.

* This is the catchiest Arena album ever, in my opinion! There are such great melodies throughout the album and I'm already singing the songs in my mind or out loud throughout the day.

* This album is not a Contagious beater. That album is so good and really hard to beat but I really feel it's one of Arena's best and I do think most people won't see it as that straight away. It is an improvement upon The Seventh Degree Of Seperation, but is also a departure from the sound of that album. One might think that 7th Degree was an indication of the sound and style they were heading in but the sound changes again for this album. It has elements of the last album but also contains some of the classic sounds of early Arena, which I think was done on purpose as this album was written to celebrate their anniversary. And with that said, this album is impressive for the time scale in which it was made. Apparently, it's the first album where Clive has opened up to let the whole band have a hand in writing.

* Track 2 (How Did It Come To This?) is one of the best songs they've ever written. Such a haunting, sober reflection on what we've come to in this world.

* Lyrically, this album is beautiful. As usual, the lyrics are very poetic and seem to roll off the singers tongue.

Summary: Make sure you give this album a chance, with repeated listens, no matter what your first impression tells you and no matter how much you want to hold onto past Arena styles. I place it in the top three albums by the band, potentially giving it the number two spot. I'm rating it 4 stars but if it were to be rated as an Arena album alone, I'd give it 5.

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 The Unquiet Sky by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.77 | 82 ratings

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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.

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 The Seventh Degree Of Separation by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.46 | 227 ratings

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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.

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 The Visitor by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.07 | 537 ratings

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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.

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 Pride by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.66 | 263 ratings

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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

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 Songs From The Lion's Cage by ARENA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.87 | 337 ratings

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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.

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