Arena - The Visitor

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Verglas
Catalog Number: VGCD 012
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:37:00

Ok, I know I'm a bit late with this one, but this is one of those sadly overlooked gems that I feel deserve more attention. This is Arena's fifth CD release (including the live discs), and what an album this is!

The Visitor offers classic Arena stuff, and sees the band better than ever. The Visitor is a concept album and the CD has great packaging, which offers superb photos in the CD-sleeve. The production is exceptional. It's crisp and clear, powerful and soulful, and let's you discover new elements for each listen. Arena blends the finest of neo-prog with melodic prog-rock. This doesn't mean they can't be heavy and powerful, because at times they really are. The songs vary from pompous up-tempo verses to atmospheric melody-lines and arrangements. The vocals of the now sadly replaced Paul Wrightson is soulful and alive. The incredibly melodic melody-lines and harmonies are spectacular. And of course, the guitar-work is nothing less than awesome, providing powerful rhythms, acoustic passages and crying solos with superior feeling. And throughout the album lies a wall of keyboards, key-effects and piano, fulfilling the sound to the complete. The strength of Arena, besides the obvious fact of being brilliant musicians, lies in the ability to write incredible melodies, which ooze confidence and routine.

There is not a filler in sight here and I recommend this album to all prog fans who doesn't own this CD yet. No serious prog fan should be without this CD. A true classic!

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

A Crack In The Ice (7:25) / Pins And Needles (2:46) / Double Vision (4:24) / Elea (2:36) / The Hanging Tree (7:09) / A State Of Grace (3:26) / Blood Red Room (1:47) / In The Blink Of An Eye (5:29) / (Don't Forget To) Breathe (3:40) / Serenity (2:10) / Tears In The Rain (5:43) / Enemy Without (5:05) / Running From Damascus (3:44) / The Visitor (6:13)

Paul Wrightson - vocals
John Mitchell - guitars and backing vocals
Clive Nolan - keyboards and backing vocals
John Jowitt - basses and backing vocals
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 25th 2005
Reviewer: Bjørnar Bevolden
Artist website:
Hits: 939
Language: english


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