Friday, June 19, 2015

ARENA: The Unquiet Sky (2015)

  'Arena' was formed up in 1995 by Mick Pointer (ex-Marillion) and Clive Nolan (Pendragon). They were considered as one of the most important bands of 'Neo-Prog'. In their early years their sound was obviously influenced by Marillion and IQ (mostly). Between 1995 and 2005 they released some excellent albums, with 'Pride' (1996), 'The Visitor' (1998) and 'Immortal' (2000) being some of them. After the release of 'Pepper's Ghost' in 2005, there was a 5-year break before the release of their next album 'The Seventh Degree of Separation', in which the band appeared with a new singer, and a change in their sound. 'The Seventh Degree' wasn't much appreciated by the fans of the band, (and me as well), mostly because of the change in their sound I mentioned, which was "flirting" with Heavy Rock and even Progressive Metal in some occasions. Furthermore, many people didn't seem to like the new singer, who has been "accused" as responsible for this major change in the band's style.

  This year Arena released their 8th studio album named 'The Unquiet Sky', which in my opinion is better than the previous one, but sadly it does not even approach the standards of their earlier works. The 'Unquiet Sky' can be considered as a concept album, and it's been based on the horror story 'Casting the Runes' written by M.R James.
  The album's opening track is 'The Demon Strikes' with the heavy and impressive intro, followed by 'How did it come to this', one of the best - if not the best - songs of the album. 'The Bishop of Lufford' which comes next, is a rather heavy composition, with a nice guitar solo.
 (I'm not going to present the songs one by one here; for that you'll have to listen to the album and form your own opinion).
  The album consists of 12 songs, and has a total running time of almost 55 minutes. As you can understand, there are no long songs here, and all of them are between 2.30 - 5.00 minutes in length. The only exception is the last track 'Traveler Beware', which is almost 7.30 minutes long.
 From the 12 songs of the album, I would choose the following as the best ones: 'The Demon Strikes', 'How did it Come to This', 'The Unquiet Sky' and 'Traveller Beware'.
 Concluding this post, I would like to say that 'The Unquiet Sky' is not something superb, but it is a nice album in general, and I believe the fans of Arena will appreciate it.
            If I had to rate it, I would give 3.00 out of 5.00 stars
 P.S: In the following links you can listen to a couple of songs from the album. Enjoy! :-)
The Demon Strikes
How did it Come to This