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Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover

IMMORTAL?

Arena

 

Neo-Prog

3.91 | 421 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Welcome to the best Arena's line-up!

And that's because Rob Sowden is the best vocalist that Arena ever had (sorry Paul Manzi) and the first who not sounded like a copy of Fish. Ian Salmon is also one hell of a bass player, and Mitchell was fully consolidated as a capital part of Arena's sound, together with the powerful Mick Pointer's drums and the great keyboards of Clive Nolan.

The production was also the best that they took pleasure in, thanks to the last and very good production of Simon Hanhart with the band. The artwork of Hugh Syme is also over the top... But let's talk about the songs!

Chosen is like a summary of what Immortal? has to offer. Strong riff, great keyboard melodies and a very talented singer. And great guitar and keyboard solos! The style of the band is a bit stronger, harder and darker as in The Visitor. Waiting for the flood confirms that Rob Sowden is a prodigious singer, with a very personal and strong voice. This song is both mellow, progressive and it has another marvelous keyboard solo. Nolan, you are God!

The Butterfly Man is like an advance of what Contagion would become a few years later. Dark, even horrifying lyrics and a very progressive and variable structure. Another great track! Ghost in the Firewall, on the contrary, is less inspired. A bit boring and not very interesting... But the lyrics help in the strange and vague concept of the album, which talks about new technologies in a rather negative and apocalyptic way.

Climbing the Net is just the opposite. A very vivid and funny track in the style of the most optimistic parts of The Visitor, with an outstanding Nolan work and splendid melodies. Perfect to be played live! And then comes Moviedrome... The longest song that Arena ever recorded and one of their finest. Just a pleasure to the ears and a true classic of Neo-Progressive rock. It has even a melody which reminds me to John Carpenter's Halloween theme! And the final section is also anthological.

Friday's Dream, is not so brilliant, but it's mid-tempo and beautiful chorus help to end this album leaving a delighted smile on our faces.

Conclusion: Immortal? is the start of the best years for Arena, and an excellent advance of what the masterpiece Contagion would be. And despite being not so good as this album, Immortal? is a very solid effort with some outstanding moments and a song (Moviedrome) which deserves to have a golden place in prog music history.

It's a shame that Arena are not able to create so wonderful albums anymore. Both The Seventh Degree of Separation and The Unquiet Sky don't stand a chance against Immortal? Maybe their next one? With the inadequate Paul Manzi as frontman I don't think so.

Best Tracks: Waiting for the Flood, The Butterfly Man, Moviedrome.

My rating: ****

The Crow | 4/5 |

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