Now, when the mighty "Peppers Ghost" was released and not long after, Arena members went off to do their own individual things, I thought well at least they went out on an absolute high - so no tears. However, when it was announced that the band was back together and recording a new album, I was quick to add my name to the waiting list and now that it's here and I've had a dozen or so listenings, I have to say that I am thrilled with it! No, it's not a continuation where "Peppers" left off, but contains more little tunes than just a handful of epics and, does it rock....oh yes indeedy!
Kicking off with The Great Escape, we're soon into the power chords from John Mitchell and thumping rythmn from John Jowitt's bass and the drums of Mick Pointer. The voice, is that of Paul Manzi although, you'd be hard pressed to guess that it wasn't Rob Sowden as it fits precisely with the music and sound that is Arena - Clive Nolan has chosen well and added his towering keyboards to weave in and out of the powerful melodies on display here - and none more so than on The Ghost Walks, Bed Of Nails, Burning Down, The Tinder Box and the epic Catching The Bullet - my oh my, this is an almost faultless collection of songs, brilliantly played and brilliantly recorded - well, nothing less than a very, very high bar is what we have come to expect from this band!
Mention must also go to the DVD documentary of the making of the album as it does give an insight into what truly goes into the making of an album. And mention must also be made of the packaging - full of brilliant photo's that go to make up one very
sound investment for any British Prog Rock follower.
If you like Arena, this has to be a purchase - for those who have not yet been smitten, you'll go an awful long way to top this class outfit - BUY!