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Arena - Songs from the Lions Cage CD (album) cover





3.86 | 469 ratings

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3 stars Attention Marillion fans! The long lost album made right before Fish left the band has been found! Okay, all jokes aside, the first Arena album does host a lead singer greatly influenced by Fish which makes this album all the more queer. Suffice it to say, if not for Clive Nolan's fantastic keyboards, (the best in the Neoprog field?) this album for me would have gone into the 'to be sold' pile toot sweet. Now, I'm not knocking Neo like a load of prog fans do. I happen to really, really like IQ and early Marillion, but with all the riffery that goes on in this album it's too close to cheesy metal for my tastes. If I want metal, I'll listen to bands that don't have the cheese factor. Yeah, you know what I mean. I can just picture Spinal Tap and all the 80's hair bands playing this sort of thing with keyboards. Makes me cringe! What sets this particular album apart is the nice instrumental breaks between songs. Kinda gives you a breather from all the bombast. Standouts for me are 'Valley of The Kings' and 'Solomon'. Both songs have excellent interplay between Nolan's cascade of keyboards and just a smidgen of cliche guitar work via Keith More. Otherwise, it's wankery and I don't like it. A solid 3 star affair for me and probably 4 or more for huge fans of Neo. Okay Fish, you can stop using John Carson as an alias ;-p.
NJprogfan | 3/5 |


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