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Arena - The Visitor CD (album) cover





4.04 | 674 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of prog's great records of the 90's and beyond. With The Visitor Arena became a 'real' band, not just a Clive Nolan (Pendragon) project with ex original Marillion drummer Mick Pointer. Now with their best ever line up that included John Mitchel on guitar, John Jowitt (IQ, Jadis) on bass and vocalist Paul Wrightson they produced one of prog's masterpieces of all time. It was my first Arena CD and I was very impressed by its qualities.

This concept album about a man facing a near death experience is really thrilling, both musically and lyrically. Contrary to his work on Pendragon, Nolan writes all the words here, and shows he is very good on that, even if his writing is quite darker and heavier then anything Pendragon ever done. The music is also has a bit of a metal edge thanks to Mitchel's style, but not really prog metal. It just had more edge on it than your typical neo prog record. Nolan's keyboards are also more aggressive and blunt, although he is first and above all a prog musician. He knows how to balance delicacy and power.

After two good, if a little derivative, albums you can really say Arena has found their own sound and style. The CD drips with inspiration and conviction. As one long suite the album brings you into a journey through the story and it is quite a ride! Unlike most prog bands Arena concentrates in smaller pieces of music put together according to the stories feelings, so it is hard to point a highlight. But if I had to chose, certainly it would be the incredible and climatic The Hanging Tree (a classic!). But this is surely a CD to hear from beginning to end, without skipping any tracks (and paying atention to the story line). Production is very good and the booklet is also fine.

Not much more to say. Just listen and see for yourself. It was only infortunate that this incarnation of the band would be so short lived. Still they left us with the live Welcome To The Show (their best live album) and this masterpice of prog music. And this is a must have for any prog lover.

Tarcisio Moura | 5/5 |


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