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Arena - The Cry CD (album) cover





2.98 | 76 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Help me!

"The cry" is an extended EP running to 35 minutes which features re-workings of the various "Crying for help" (CFH) link tracks recorded by Arena on their "Songs from the lions cage" and "Pride" albums, plus a limited amount of new material. The sleeve notes explain that when originally written, the tracks were intended to form one continuous piece of music. That plan was then put aside, and the tracks used as interlude music on their early albums. While on the "Pride" and "SFTLC" albums the songs were all called "Crying for help", and given sequential numbers to differentiate them, here they are given their original titles. The sleeve-notes however detail which is which, as the tracks which originally bore the CFH name do not appear here in numerical order, reverting to the originally intended order instead. .

After a brief opening "Theme", "The cry" will be familiar to those who have seen Arena live, being CFH7, with the repeating "Help me" call. Many of the songs are instrumental, and when used as interlude pieces stand up well. When heard one after the other as they are here however, their impact tends to be lost, and the album becomes rather ambient and dare I say dull. There are of course plenty of pleasant sections, such as the choral effects on "Guidance" (CFH8), and the soft keyboards on "Fallen idols" (CFH2). "Only child" (CFH4) is track 8, yet is the first since track 2 with any vocals. It has similarities both lyrically and aurally to parts of "Solomon". Steve Rothery of Marillion is called in add some distinctive guitar work, although personally I would have preferred to hear more of John Mitchell.

The "new" tracks tend to fair best, with "Isolation" bearing echoes of Steve Hackett's "Horizons". The final track "The healer" is a much more traditional Arena piece, which sounds as if it has been lifted from their excellent "The visitor" album. Here, while sounding rather out of place, it does tend to make the album a necessary purchase for fans of the band.

In truth, "The cry" fails to live up to the extraordinarily high standards set by their principle releases, against which it inevitably must be judged. Given that the "Crying for help" interludes worked best when used as just that (interludes between the main tracks), they do not benefit from being bundled together to form a single piece, even if that was the original intention.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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