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Arena - Smoke & Mirrors CD (album) cover





3.83 | 61 ratings

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3 stars Arena is one of my favorite modern progressive rock groups. On the Smoke & Mirrors dvd we get to see the tour of the 'Pepper's Ghost' album, which was a minor letdown after the much appraised 'Contagion' album and accompanying 'Live & Life' album. By adding a lot of songs from the new album the overall tracklist of the Arena shows became less interesting than before, but we still get to hear a long list of classics like 'Crack in the Ice', 'Butterfly Man', 'The Hanging Tree', 'Chosen', 'Witch Hunt' and 'Solomon'. Considering how much of a classic 'Contagion' was, it's notable that there are few songs from that album.

The amazing energy of the 'Live & Life' album is - alas - nowhere to be found! Rob Sowdon is one of my favorite vocalists, yet on this footage he doesn't seem to feel very inspired or celebratory at all. The white wig and sun glasses of the first halve of the show don't help to sympathize either. The band plays really tight and the sound recording is good, yet I can't help but missing the spark, especially in the newer material. The guitars by John Mitchell are still brilliant and I love to see him play on this dvd. This would prove to be last footage of the band with Sowdon and after it the band would grow into a more mainstream symphonic metal style. Recently I started to appreciate the 'Pepper's Ghost' album a lot more than I did when it was released, but this live dvd remains a bit underwhelming.

friso | 3/5 |


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