Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Various Artists (Label Samplers)

Various Genres

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Various Artists (Label Samplers) Lions & Fables - Verglas Music Sampler vol. 1 album cover
3.51 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Write a review

from partners
Boxset/Compilation, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Valley of the Kings - ARENA (10:10) from "Songs From the Lions Cage", 1995
2. Fading Out - THE URBANE (5:20) from "Neon"
3. Mephisto Bridge - SHADOWLAND (6:48) from "Mad As a Hatter", 1996
4. Medusa - ARENA (4:28) from "Pride", 1996
5. The Healer - ARENA (5:44) from "The Cry", 1997:
6. Ring of Roses - SHADOWLAND (6:31) from "Ring Of Roses", 1992
7. When I Leave This Land - DAMIAN WILSON (4:55) from "Cosmas"
8. Beyond That Door - CASINO (11:40) from "Casino", 1992

Line-up / Musicians

- Arena
- The Urbane
- Shadowland
- Damian Wilson
- Casino

Releases information

CD VGCD017 (1999)

Thanks to Matti for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) Lions & Fables - Verglas Music Sampler vol. 1 Music

VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) Lions & Fables - Verglas Music Sampler vol. 1 ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) Lions & Fables - Verglas Music Sampler vol. 1 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
3 stars Neo bands don't easily enter my top list; often there is some disliked factor like the singer's voice (IQ, Pendragon) if the style is otherwise, though rarely, up to my taste. But yes, I do have a certain appetite for the genre in all its clichés, and I was delighted to get very cheaply this compilation from the Verglas label (led by Clive Nolan?). It pretty well satisfies my curiosity in that particular field, but also I must say I enjoy strongly when I listen this CD through. When I'm in the mood for Neo-Prog's adolescent adrenalin dose!

ARENA seems always have had same sort of singers. The most FISH-clone is the first, Paul Wrightson. 'Valley of the Kings' is a gorgeous 10-minute opener with tasty keyboard/guitar sound patterns. The two later Arena tracks are not as good but the naive pompousness doesn't fail. SHADOWLAND is another Clive Nolan band, and the style comes a bit closer to early 80's new wave pop with almost DuranDuran/ABC-reminding singer. As long as you're in the right mood, everything's just fine.

URBANE was Arena guitarist John Mitchell's side step. 'Fading Out' is not proggy but more like 80's chart-topping pop - that said, rather good. Fine-voiced DAMIAN WILSON's track is a gentle one and pleasantly free of Neo's adolescent atmosphere, but rather close to oversweetness. CASINO featured Nolan and 12th Night singer Geoff Mann in '92, year before Mann's death. Wow, I'd like to hear the whole Casino album!

As I said, very enjoyable compilation for a certain mood, recommended to those who wish for tasters only from ARENA et al. (The cover sucks; I designed a better one with a SciFi-like urban landscape.)

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The Clive Nolan show

Verglas music is the home of Arena, probably the finest neo prog band to come out of the UK. The label is their own, allowing them the freedom to release the side projects of the various band members, plus albums by other artists with whom they have developed links.

It is no surprise then that three of the eight tracks on this budget priced sampler (currently available from their website for £2-99) are by Arena. The package has however been put together in a logical manner, the tracks being presented in the order of catlaogue number of the source albums.

Thus, the opening track is "Valley of the kings", a 10 minute opus from Arena's first album "Songs from the lion's cage". Being from their first album the Marillion influences, which the band would later suppress, are very much to the fore. Clive Nolan slips in some fine synthesiser work on this early masterpiece. At the time of Arena's first release, John Mitchell had yet to join the band. The guitarist does however feature on track two here, The Urbane's "Fading out". This is one of the stand out tracks from their first album, a reasonably simple but highly infectious up-tempo number, with a killer chorus.

Clive Nolan returns with another of his projects, "Shadowland" for track three. "Mestapho bridge" is taken from that band's third album "Mad as a hatter". This Nolan composition features the said keyboard maestro on vocals; he actually has a decent voice not unlike that of Paul Wrightson of Arena.

The following two tracks are both by Arena. "Medusa" is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the "Pride" album, while "The healer" is the only essential track from the EP "The cry", the remaining tracks on that album being the "Crying for help" tracks extracted from the first two albums.

We return to Shadowland, this time to the title track of their first album, for another Clive Nolan composition which also features his dulcet tones. This Pallas like track has a more commercial feel, perhaps because of the "Kayleigh" like melody and lyrics. Damian Wilson may not be an instantly familiar name, but his CV includes work with Rick Wakeman, Threshold, Arjen Lucassen's Stream of Passion and Shadowland. He has also been voted Best vocalist six times by the Classic Rock Society. Included here is "When I leave this land" from his "Cosmas" solo album. This dreamy, symphonic ballad shows off his talents well.

The compilation closes with another Clive Nolan project, "Casino". "Beyond that door" is the 12 minute closing track to their self titled debut (and in light of the untimely death of Geoff Mann, only) concept album. In view of Nolan's involvement, it is logical that the track has an Arena feel, Karl Groom's lead guitar work being similar to that of John Mitchell or indeed Steve Hackett.

For those unfamiliar with the excellent music of Arena and their related bands, there is no better place to start than this. It is to the label's credit that they have not sought to simply include the most commercial offerings by their signings, but have selected a superb cross section of highly representative tracks. This compilations stands proud not only as an introduction to five highly talented acts, but as a highly enjoyable album in its own right.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) "Lions & Fables - Verglas Music Sampler vol. 1"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.