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Arena - Rapture CD (album) cover





4.08 | 31 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Arena´s latest video was recorded, as expected, at the same venue in Poland, like the previous two. Nothing against that: actually the place is beautiful and the acoustics must be special, for the sound of the recordings only gets better and better with the latest technology involved. This is one of the best features of this DVD/blue ray: the words impeccable and perfect are the ones that come to mind the most when I listen to the show. I don´t know if there was any studio overdubs, but it clearly sounds very natural. The Video quality is also top notch, the best so far I saw from this band, laced with some very fine light work, with the right lots of blue and shadows.

Having said that, I´m not entirely convinced by either the new material from their latest product, The Seventh Degree Of Separation, nor by the perfomance of the new singer Paul Manzi. Ok, the guy is probably the best singer the band ever had, technically speaking. His vocal prowness is amazing, but not really his delivering. He is just too "nice", too "soft", if you know what I mean, lacking that gloomy, almost spooky interpretations Rob Sowden and Paul Wrightson had that fitted so well to the dark themes Arena embraces. Both previous singers had a far more dramatic approach the tunes ask for and Sowden in particular could sound specially menacing on stage, giving the lyrics a liver impact. Manzi, as much as he tries, rarely comes close to that.

And while the new material works better live than on CD, it is still not on par with their earlier stuff. Not too much, but still inferior. Fortunatly only seven tracks of that CD are performed and they are all short ones. The performances of the band members are, again technically., nearly perfect. Clive Nolan and John Mitchell have gained a few pounds since the last time I saw them on stage and sometimes I have the feeling they are not playing with the same energy they used to. However, it´s good to see John Jowitt back (of IQ and Jadis fame) in the fold after a long spell.

Overall a quite enjoyable show, filled with great songs and nice perfomances. As I said before, it´s their best visual and sounding DVD ever, although the interpretation of the songs is not as powerful as they used to be.

Rating: somewhere between 3 and 3,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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