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Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover





3.94 | 483 ratings

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3 stars Arena has changed from lead vocalist but the bass player will also be changed. Ian Salmon, who also played in Shadowland (with Clive) comes to replace John Jowitt who will pursue personal projects. In terms of vocals, one already had the opportunity to hear Rob in the acoustic set available on "The Visitor, Revisited".

I have mentioned in my review for this record, that their voices (Paul and Rob's ones) were relatively close to one another to avoid a serious clash of genre. We'll get here the confirmation on this : Rob (who knows John Mitchell already) will do the job prefectly.

I have said that Arena did not make the same mistake as some other great bands did (Marillion in this particular case), in choosing a to different type of singer to be the frontman.

I have to say that I have some problems with this album.

Actually it is of course a good album but most of the songs will lack in something to be really great ones. Nothing such as "Solomon", "Jericho" or "Sirens".

Even the epic "Moviedrome". Almost twenty pleasant minutes of course but it doesn't provide me the same emotions as the tracks I have mentioned earlier. The second part of the song is my preferred one, it starts with a great guitar break, but when compared to the ones we could find on their previous work "The Visitor", it is not enough. It will be followed by a very nice vocal section and we'll finally get a incredible and crazy finale like Arena knows how to produce them.

The opener "Chosen" is a hard, almost heavy song. Very powerful and a classic of their live sets. The keys are particularly effective. The band returns to its harder sounds featured in "Pride".

The contrast with "Waiting For The Flood" is total. This acoustic piece of music is one of the sweetest and lightest that the band has ever produced. I must say though that this side of their work is not the one I prefer. We'll stay in this acoustic mood with the closing number "Friday's Dream". Again a nice song. But far from being unforgetable.

"The Butterfly Man" is probably the best track of this album. It reminds me the grandeur of the fantastic guitar play in "The Visitor". One of the few tracks not dominated by the keys. It almost sounds as a response to the "Crying For Help" songs while here, Rob is asking "Save Me"...It will be buit in a crescendo which is exactly how I love longer tracks. A poignant finale (save me, again) will close this track superbly.

"Ghost In The Firewall" is a very good track as well. Bombastic chorus and imposing mood. Sounds a bit sci-fi and very dark. It has a very simple, yet powerful structure. These two songs are the ones I prefer on this album.

We'll even get a song starting almost like a Genesis one, with a very good keys intro. But this poppy song ("Climbing The Net") might well be the least interesting one. Again, not a bad song. Just average.

There won't be any weak track on this album. Keyboards are invading this album too much to my taste. And boy ! You know that I like Clive a lot, but he is omni-present here.

It also sounds as if Arena is trying to create a patchwork of their previous album in this one : a bit of "The Lions Cage" here ("Moviedrome"), a bit of "Pride there ("Chosen" ), a bit of acoustic stuff as well with "Waiting For The Flood" as well as ""Friday's Dream" to remind their acoustic set from "The Visitor, Revisited" and the fabulous flavour from "The Visitor" for "The Butterfly Man".

This leaves me somewhat confused. Arena is really a band I appreciate very much but I can not get higher as three stars for this album. But am I not only mortal ?

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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