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Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover

IMMORTAL?

Arena

 

Neo-Prog

3.93 | 465 ratings

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Emperor
4 stars That's where we have the heaviest album by Arena. I even cannot say exactly what style is it: heavy Progressive or Progressive Metal. Practically the only Climbing The Net hasn't elements of Metal, the rest of the tracks in less or more degree are characterized with the "Metallized accent". And what is rather surprisingly, neither heavier sound, nor even the vocal in some moments close to growling don't spoil the impression of the IMMORTAL? Album. I even can say that this one is the most innovative and my personal favorite studio album in the band's catalog.

And also it was a very first record by Arena I've heard (it was more than two years ago). Though I remember that the starting impression was rather negative, mainly because of the 1st song Chosen, which is performed in close to new-metal style (like Red Hot Chily Peppers or Limp Bitzkit - the kind of "music" I really hate) so popular last years, and even with recitative rap-like vocals in the beginning (it's really a horrible experiment with Prog-Listener's ears!). Though after several listens I even has gone to like Chosen - it's moody-dark (even rather evil), has clever sound-effects and poisoning synth-sounds, which are adequate for the theme of the song anyway. By the way, unlike several commentators I'd like to say that the album is conceptual: it's about clones, human experiments and life after death maybe... On most of the album's space the band as if tries to remind us that all we need to be more serious and ready to dangers to avoid a human catastrophe. Yes, the album is almost drowning in dark notes and apocalyptic atmosphere. New vocalist Rob Sowden has no especially strong voice or good diapason, though his vocal is also very addition to the gloomy atmosphere of IMMORTAL?

But we know that Arena won't be Arena without a couple of weaker and unnecessary. At 1st I mean absolutely uninspiring, unoriginal and uninteresting ballad Waiting For The Flood, at second I mean another ballad Friday's Dream - the album's closer. The first one reminds me something from the most unsuccessful Queensryche's album of 1997 (HEAR IN THE NOW FRONTIER), the 2nd one is pretty similar to the banal metal-ballad The Unforgiven by Metallica (as it's melody, as it's style, look ;-)). Fortunately these fillers take less than 5th part of the album's length.

Most of the listeners prefers the almost 20-mitutes-long epic Moviedrome, but I personally stand with the excellent 9-minute The Butterfly Man at first. This is the darkest track here, polyrythmic and heart-pressing with its desperate vocals and really sad melody. Another highlights are mentioned above Chosen and also a bit mystical Ghost In A Firewall. Climbing A Net is very good too, but even without especial attention you can recognize the rip-off to Marillion's Market Square Heroes in it...

Surely, this album is recommended as for the fans of Neo-Progressive, as for the fans of Queensryche, Dream Theater and other Prog-Metal bands.

Emperor | 4/5 |

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