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Arena - The Cry CD (album) cover





2.97 | 73 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Not Arena's proudest moment (but parts taken from their Pride)

This half an hour of music is primarily based on material already released on the band's first two albums, Songs From The Lion's Cage and Pride. Much of this music is instrumental and some of it is quite laid back and relaxing in nature. Some parts can perhaps even be characterized as New Age music and as such this is very different from the rest of the band's output. The vocal pieces are The Cry, Only Child and The Healer and these three tracks, together with the new John Mitchell acoustic guitar piece Isolation, are the highlights of this disc for me. The first of the vocal numbers is a new version of Crying For Help VII from Pride. While the original version was entirely a cappella, here the song has been given an acoustic guitar backdrop. I must say that it works really well and it is a beautiful and moving song (in both versions). Only Child was originally called Crying For Help IV and was originally featured on Songs From The Lion's Cage. While the original version of this song had John Carson on vocals, this version is with Paul Wrightson who also sings this song wonderfully. This song also has a great guitar solo by guest player Steve Rothery from Marillion. Finally, The Healer is a previously unreleased song and as such it (is?) sounds a bit like a leftover from the Pride sessions. It is a good song with a catchy melody, but it has a clear Marillion influence (think Incommunicado) and therefore fails to sound truly like Arena.

For fans of the band this disc is a welcome addition as it demonstrates a very different side of Arena and it also features a few songs that are not available elsewhere and some interesting takes on previously released material. But for casual listeners, there is not much reason to get this disc as it offers very little genuinely new and it is certainly not very representative of Arena's distinctive style. I would therefore advice the newcomer to go for the original studio albums to get most of this material and much more. However, I am sure that there are people out there who doesn't like Arena's main albums, but that would enjoy this!

Good, but hardly essential

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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