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Pays : England
Genre : Rock Néo Progressif
Dates : 1995
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1995 is the year it all begins. The first album of Arena, then consisting of Clive Nolan and Mick Pointer plus Cliff Orsi (bass), Keith More (guitar) and John Carson (vocals), sees the light. This excellent piece of work, entitled Songs From The Lions Cage and released on Arena's own Verglas label, is very well-received and a new progressive rock legend has instantly been born.
Although some react by saying that Arena is a Fish-era-Marillion clone, with Mick on drums and a vocalist whose voice resembles that of Fish, the music is fresh and the album contains instant classics like Jericho, the epic Solomon and the emotional Crying For Help IV. Typical for the album are the short instrumental interludes (the Crying For Help-series) that separate the non-instrumental tracks; a format that returns on their next album.
Unfortunately, the band has to deal with the swift departure of two band members: singer John Carson in September 1995, and bass player Cliff Orsi in May 1996. However, Arena do not grieve for very long and introduce two excellent replacements: Paul Wrightson as the new singer, and John Jowitt (well-known for his contributions to both IQ and Jadis) on bass. This of course led to curiosity: what effect will this have on the new album?
In 1996 the answer is given. Pride is the new album, with renowned producer Simon Hanhart behind the mixing desk. The result is astonishing, and despite the changes in the line-up the music and cover feel comfortably familiair. Paul's voice is not totally unlike John's, but there is just a tad more power and agression, if you like, in it.
Besides proving that Arena has not lost the ability to write excellent songs, this album displays the musical capabilities of the individual band members, with perhaps the best examples being the a capella Crying for Help VII, in which new singer Paul gets the chance to stretch his vocal chords, and the closing epic Sirens with its fierce instrumental mid-sect ...
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