Arena - Contagion

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Verglas
Catalog Number: VGCD024
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

The cover of this album reminded me of the classic Roxy Music Avalon release. The colors and imagery are similar. This cover however belongs to symphonic progressive rockers Arena. Their latest effort Contagion fits the mold of a career groundbreaking recording. From what I know of this group, they made a big impression right from the start of their recording career and continued with several albums thereafter. If their previous work has been as impressive as what you will find on this CD, I would not hesitate in snatching up their entire catalog.

As a clever strategy to aggravate possible pirating of their music, they broke up this album into 72 tracks. I guess that would be a deterrent to burning a copy for your buddy now wouldn't it? It is quite a sight to watch that many tracks click off on your CD player.

From the opening of the startling "Witch Hunt" to the epic closer "Ascension," this is a rocking, compelling, larger-than-life journey of musical transitions. Vocalist Rob Snowden handles each track with total confidence and the results are astonishing. His voice is so powerful and smooth that it allows him uncommon freedom to move around inside the music as each song develops into a story of its own. The musicianship is absolutely jaw dropping. I got chills listening to this; it elevates your spirits and emotions in such a way that you fall prey to their sound and become completely enveloped in their magical musical spell. There are virtually no weaknesses on this CD. The sound, production, and engineering are excellent, leaving nothing to chance. Driving rhythms powered by an in-step rhythm section, forceful and precision guitar riffs, beautifully layered keyboards, and a lead singer with a purpose, makes this some of the very best music I have heard all year.

Remember the group, Arena, remember the names ? Rob Snowden (vocals), John Mitchell (guitar and backing vocals), Clive Nolan (keyboards and backing vocals), Ian Salmon (bass), and Mick Pointer (drums).

Go ahead and cut the cards, lay them on the table and place your wager, and bet the house on this group to become one of the most remembered progressive rock innovators in the 21st century.

Released in Europe by SPV (SPV 087-65062)

Witch Hunt / An Angel Falls / Painted Man / This Way Madness Lies (instr.) / Spectre At The Feast / Never Ending Night / Skin Game / Salamander / On The Box (instr.) / Tsunami / Bitter Harvest / The City Of Lanterns / Riding The Tide (instr.) / Mea Culpa / Cutting The Cards / Ascension

Rob Snowden - vocals
John Mitchell - guitar and backing vocals
Clive Nolan - keyboards and backing vocals
Ian Salmon ? bass
Mick Pointer ? drums

Songs From The Lion's Cage (1995)
Pride (1996)
The Edits (1996, OOP)
Welcome To The Stage (1997)
The Cry (EP, 1997)
The Visitor (1998)
The Visitor - Revisited (1999) (Dutch fan club only release, OOP)
Immortal? (2000)
Unlocking The Cage - 1995-2000 (2001) (Dutch fan club only release, OOP)
Breakfast In Biarritz (2001)
Contagion (2003)
Radiance (2003) (fan club only release)
Live & Life (2004) (box set)
Pepper's Ghost (2005)
Ten Years On (2006)
The Seventh Degree Of Separation (2011)
Live 2011/12 Tour (2012)
Arena XX (2016)
Contagion Max (reissue of Contagion) (2014)
The Unquiet Sky (2015)
The Visitor - 20th Anniversary Remastered Edition (2018)
Double Vision (2018)

Caught In The Act (DVD) (2003)
Smoke And Mirrors (DVD) (2006)
Rapture (DVD) (2013)
Arena XX (DVD) (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: January 12th 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 2808
Language: english


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