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Arena - Songs From The Lion's Cage CD (album) cover





3.84 | 415 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I feel that "Songs From The Lion's Cage" their debut record, and the follow up "Pride" are good albums just not too essential if you know what I mean.Their excellent albums start with "The Visitor" in my opinion. ARENA was formed by the former MARILLION drummer Mick Pointer, and the former PENDRAGON keyboardest Clive Nolan.The band thanks (in the liner notes) PALLAS for the use of thier mellotron, Fudge Smith, Peter Gee, Nick Barrett and Karl Groom. Tracy Hitchings would add backup vocals to this album. I would also mention that the "Classic Rock Society" voted this as the best album for 1995.

"Out of the Wilderness" opens with mellotron as guitars and synths trade off solos. I can't get over how much the singer John Carson sounds like Fish ! The keys and drumming are outstanding. Some excellent soaring guitar as well. "Crying for Help I" consists of Hackett like acoustic guitar melodies. "Valley Of The Kings" is dominated by synths and drums in the intro. Some aggressive guitar follows as the vocals come in. The keys swirl about and the mellotron is fantastic ! Theatrical vocals follow. "Crying for Help II" features light keys as flute melodies join in. "Jericho" has some sad lyrics and church organ. The drumming is crisp, and we get waves of mellotron 5 minutes in. The song does becomes a positive uptempo number. "Crying for Help III" has some good piano with synth washes that create a haunting soundscape.

"Midas Vision" has a nice heavy intro as passionate Fish-like vocals come in. Scorching guitar solos come and go. "Crying for Help IV" features piano and vocals until Steve Rothery adds a beautiful guitar solo (to end the song) that lasts over a minute ! "Solomon" is the epic at almost 15 minutes in length. It mentions the bands name as well as the title of this album. I'm sure this is still a significant song for the band. It opens with keys and vocals as a heavy guitar melody comes in. The mellotron 3 minutes in amazing. There is a cool vocal melody 7 minutes in as the song becomes more uptempo.This all sounds so good, and then 11 minutes in the pace slows back down.

So this is where it all began for ARENA, and perhaps that is reason enough to check out this good record. 3.5 stars.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |


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