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Arena - Immortal? CD (album) cover





3.91 | 438 ratings

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4 stars Arena - Immortal? (2000)

Arena was the first real progressive rock act I listened to. After I listened Contagion I got my hands on Immortal. First I though some of material was a bit abstract, but soon I discovered this was a very logical neo-progressive record that had much to offer for me.

Chosen is the great opener with a dark opening section that is soon followed by a symphonic keytheme that's rightfully bombastic. Let's get this thing going! Rob Sowdens first vocal line for Arena is impressive and powerfull. He seems to realy give it all! The solo's are very well here and we have better then normal opener for a neo-prog album. Waiting for the flood brings us to an acoustic setting with gentle guitars. The song evolves nicely, but is no real progressive masterpiece. Still enjoyable melodic rock.

The Butterfly man is a track I consider to be among the best Arena creations. A dark low volume opening part with vocals, a dark melodic guitar theme that realy hits it for me and nice lyrics about a dark figure consuming on our very souls. This is devoted prog at it's best, early Marillion fans should be very comfortable listening to it. This is the moment Rob Sowden proves to be a better singer for me, though other's don't agree with me.

Ghost in the Firewall is again a downtempo song, with more synthisizor-like sounds. Some might argue it's a bit to modern and sciencefiction like, still I think it's a great experiment to expand the reportoire of neo-prog band.

Climbing the net is an uptempo neoprogger with some more happy melodies. This is just what we needed after the bit too slow Ghost in the Firewall! A song that has nothing that's realy special but still is highly rewarding.

Then came Moviedrome. This is one of the best and most progressive neo-prog epics ever made. It deserves to be mentioned when talking about tracks like 'Supper's Ready'. A variety of guitar and key parts with different moods, from dark to hopefull and gentle to harsh make this a great track to remind us what prog was all about. I personally find the sci- fi theme to be very succesfull, I get sucked into the story ("We're all succed in, part of the core collective"). The song is about a technical future in which the machine fights againt the human being.

Friday's Dream is a bit out of place here. Though a nice acoustic ballad, this record should have ended with Moviedrome. The Dutch say "water after the wine" and it applies perfectly. They shouldn't have place the song here.That said it isn't a bad song either and may be I might change my mind about it one day.

Conclusion. Well... just good neo-prog with the highlight 'Moviedrome' making up for some weaker moments like 'Ghost in the Firewall'. I love the devoted vocals and the great guitar solo's of John Mitchell, one of the best guitarist to arise from the neoprogscene. Four stars!

friso | 4/5 |


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