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   ARENA
Pepper's Ghost (7 Stories Of Mystery And Imagination)
2005
Inside Out
http://www.verglas.com/ArenaWorld/


rating: 4/5

1. Bedlam Fayre
2. Smoke And Mirrors
3. The Shattered Room
4. The Eyes Of Lara Moon
5. Tantulus
6. Purgatory Road
7. Opera Fanatica

I only knew the band Arena by the name...almost. I own one CD, the EP "Contagious". Well, due to the fact that I like prog in general, I thought to myself, that I'm gonna write a review for the new record "Pepper's Ghost".

And you don't have to be a fan of the British proggies to like the opener "Bedlam Fayre", it's enough to like excellent prog metal. The song is very catchy and lots of keyboard sounds are used, the total sound reminds me of another great British prog band: Threshold. Quite similar is the feeling on song two, "Smoke And Mirrors" which is no cover of the US power-proggies Symphony X, but a similar sound (being no problem with two great bands). Next one is "Shattered Room" which is a bit more difficult. The first two songs were not half as progressive as this one is, and the level is higher during the almost ten minutes. Almost the exact opposite is "The Eyes Of Lara Moon", Rob Sowden presents his smooth and quiet vocals for this ballad, a very nice song indeed! "Tantulus" again starts like a ballad, but the singing seems like a lament, and it goes on like this all the way through. The atmosphere is very difficult to describe, the best thing: listen yourself ;-) "Purgatory Road" is a bit faster, and just as the song before, the vocal lines and vocal performance is great! But even greater is the final song on the CD: "Opera Fanatica". It starts with real opera vocals (not sung by Sowden). In the following twelve minutes you can hear everything regarding the genre progressive metal. Again, the vocals are in the foreground, supported by huge choirs, before the electric guitar (played by John Mitchell) appears again and accompanies the vocal lines. Of course, Clive Nolan's keyboards are always present. Their playing culminates in the great finale, a great finish of the album!

Arena made themselves a birthday present for the ten-year-anniversary and the fans will not be disappointed. Also fans of the prog genre, who should not know Arena yet, should check them out.

submitted by Paddy 08.01.2005

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