Picture of Arena


Arena - Immortal? ©2000 Verglas
1. Chosen
2. Waiting For The Flood
3. The Butterfly Man
4. Ghost In The Firewall
5. Climbing The Net
6. Moviedrome
7. Friday's Dream

This one was a nice surprise for me. I'd had no exposure to Arena prior to listening to this album. The album is a technical smorgasbord for the fan of progressive rock. Fans of Pink Floyd will love it. The atmospheric guitar and keyboard work and versatile vocals are all reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here or Animals albums. The play is technical and precise. The music is clean and crisp everywhere on the disc. There is a lot of backdrop work going on making for a higher than average amount of atmosphere throughout the songs. The melodies are catchy and there are hooks aplenty. The opener, "Chosen", was originally to be the title track, but as the concept of the album grew, the album title was changed. It sets the tone for the rest of the disc with its power and energy. The emotionally charged singing captures your attention immediately and hooks you into the story of the disc.

The cohesive feel of the songs is wonderful. The tracks flow one into the next, each building off the themes of the previous track and carrying the lyrical content further into the over-arching story of the disc. It is not surprising the themes of mortality and immortality run through the words of the songs. The singing is delivered flawlessly with energy and emotion. The songs capture those fleeting moments of immortality that everyone experiences now and again in life. They are lyrical snapshots, still life paintings given an aural perspective that is very evocative and enjoyable.

The style and composition are reminiscent of Kansas, Yes, Rush and Pink Floyd. Throw it all into a blend to extract the best elements of each and give it some teeth and you'll have an understanding of what the music sounds like. The influences are used wonderfully. They are sprinkled here and there to give the songs their seasoning. This is not a rote mimicry of those who have blazed the trails of progressive rock. Rather, it acknowledges those who have come before while looking forward and stepping out from under the umbrella of those influences to make a sound that is their own. This disc is highly recommended to fans of progressive rock.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 11/2000

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