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Arena - Contagion CD (album) cover





4.16 | 605 ratings

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5 stars Arena - Contagion (2002)

This is were it all began. I used to love the 'special' part in Iron Maiden epics when I was about 13 years old. I loved the fact Iron Maiden did so much other metal bands I listened to didn't do, but I couldn't always discribe what it was. When I started searching for more of these 'special' moments I found Kamelot and Arena. The first isn't one of my favourites anymore, but Arena always had the honour of introducing me to the world of progressive rock. Contagion is a perfect album to start on everyone's quest for the deeper possibilties of rock.

With the knowlegde I have now about progressive rock I have a differnt view on this album than I had back then. This record might not be groundbraking, but just a offering of perfect neo progressive rock with lot's magical moments. It has those atmospheres you don't want to end and it has those technical moments that make you feel people realy had to thing this out. I like musicians working hard. The strange thing about Contagion is that it doesn't realy have a standout track or an epic. Don't let this distract you from the fact this is the real treat! Arena also uses some recycling of other tracks on the album which gives it a concept-feel.

I won't do a track by track review, but I will tell something about my favourite parts of this album. Painted man is a devoted song with a strang guitar riff and nice lyrics, resulting in the final sentence "Can't you see that we're painted the same". This way madness lies is one of the best neoprog instrumentals ever! The song is so melodic and the guitarlines of Mitchell are so adventourous! Don't get to distractet by them and focus on some of the perfect bassguitar-drums playing together very intelligent. Bass player Ian Salmon proves to be a very good musician here. Never ending Night has a great piano intro and some perfect melodic parts in the middle section. Skin Game is impressive for it's more eclectic then the other tracks, the ending section is again very touchy though. On the box is another great instrumental with particulairy great solo's of Mitchell and Nolan. Cutting the cards is a very good up-tempo track with much progressive elements and a Spanish intro. Ascension is a devoted closing track with the best of atmospheres. Great vocals of Rob Sowden and keywork of Nolan. Very emotional ending.

Conclusion. A record with great songs, great melodic progressive parts, perfect solo's and the best of atmospheres. Contagion just has so much to offer, I can't refuse giving it five full stars!

friso | 5/5 |


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