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Arena - The Seventh Degree Of Separation CD (album) cover





3.49 | 279 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars The seventh studio album is separated from the others in terms of quality

Six years after the previous Pepper's Ghost, Arena returns with this album, their seventh studio album overall. Being a big Arena fan I was naturally excited to hear this, but while it is an enjoyable listen, I must say that I am disappointed. Pepper's Ghost was already a bit of a disappointment for me, but The Seventh Degree Of Separation is inferior even to that album. Hearing this album one wonders if this really is by the same band that made such amazing masterpieces as Contagion, The Visitor and Songs From The Lions Cage.

The first thing to notice is the new lead vocalist Paul Manzi. He is not a bad vocalist, but he is not as dramatic and distinctive as previous vocalists. He sounds good, but somewhat anonymous. Still, it is not primarily with the vocals that I have a problem. Another thing to notive directly is that with only one exception all the songs are between two and a half and four and a half minutes long! This is, of course, not a sure sign of a musical decline, but it is an indication of something and in this case it is very telling. While albums like Contagion and The Visitor runs like complete pieces of music, The Seventh Degree Of Separation is rather a set of individual songs. Yes, there is a concept, but musically the songs are independent from each other. The concept itself revolves around the borderline between life and death. Wait a minute? Is that not the concept behind The Visitor? Not very original.

The songs are mostly strong and melodic, but rather conventional in structure. There are almost annoyingly catchy choruses in every song and the guitar and keyboard solos are close to nonexistent! Where are the dynamics? Where are the instrumental workouts? The tempo and mood changes? The dramatic twists and turns? Even the lyrics, which are usually brilliant, fall somewhat flat. The Arena of old is sadly hardly recognizable at all.

This fan must conclude that this is certainly the least good Arena album of all. A decent album in its own right, but definitely below the standard we expect from such a great band.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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