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Arena - Contagion Max CD (album) cover





4.19 | 44 ratings

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5 stars In my not so humble opinion . . .

Contagion Max is everything Contagion was plus more.

Back in 2002, Arena released one of the seminal Neo-Prog albums in 'Contagion'. At the time, there were more tracks that they could have included, but the band cut some material out to keep the release on a single CD. Over the next year, they released two EP's, Contagious and Contagium, that contained the missing material. For years fans have clamored for the complete Contagion, with the missing tracks.

In 2013, the band asked their fans if they'd be willing to pay for the compilation up front and started a crowd sourcing fund raiser. Well, the answer was apparently a resounding 'yes' and the dream finally became a reality.

I'm not going to review the entire album, you can see my thoughts on the Contagion reviews page. Instead, I'll be focusing on the new tracks and what is different.

For starters, there are seven tracks that were only on the two EP's, Vanishing Act, The Hour Glass, I Spy, On the Edge of Despair, Contagious, March of Time and Confrontation. These tracks have now been included in their proper order among the songs that were on the standard release.

'Vanishing Act' is a rockin' extravaganza that almost reminds me of something from the background of a video game. 'I Spy' is kind of a forgettable ballad though the Salamander nod in the solo section redeems the tune. 'March of Time' is my favorite of the new songs, Rob Sowden sounds particularly clean and up front here. All in all, there are three instrumentals and four lyrical songs that immensely help the progression of the original story.

The second difference is that the order of the songs are now as they were meant to be, 'Bitter Harvest' has been moved up considerably and 'Never Ending Night' and 'Spectre at the Feast' have been switched.

The third difference is the mix, to my ears, it sounds a little brighter on the remix, but still clean and pristine.

So, where do I rate this, five stars, that was easy. Seriously, it's one of my favorite albums, but better and with more music. If you're a casual Arena fan, then yeah, you probably don't need the remix, but if you love Arena or if you don't have the original, this is essential.

Roland113 | 5/5 |


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