Exposé Online banner

Arena — Pride
(Verglas VGCD004, 1996, CD)

by Mike Grimes, Published 1997-02-01

Pride Cover art

I never thought I'd see the day when Mick Pointer became a more prolific musician than his former Marillion mates. After dropping off the face of the earth for over a decade, Mick and Co. have now released two albums in two years. Wow! After a few personnel changes which brought in new members John Jowitt (IQ, Jadis, Ark, ...etc.) on bass and Paul Wrighton on vocals, Arena returns with Pride. Jowitt's ever solid bass playing fills the bottom end nicely and, unlike the previous vocalist who was more firmly rooted in the prog tradition, Wrighton's vocal style is more in the new-wave camp and reminiscent of Ultravox's Midge Ure. This vocal style actually blends quite well with the music. Parts of "Sirens" and especially "Crying for Help VII" sound almost exactly like Midge though!

While Arena has made a solid step forward in the ingredient department, the songs have less of a momentous sound than the anthemic numbers on the first album. This is unfortunate because the band is at their peak when playing those type of grandiose epics. The guitar in particular is different — way more David Gilmour mellow than before. In fact, the guitar solo on "Sirens" could be something straight out of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." Four more mostly instrumental installments in the "Crying for Help" series appear between the other tracks, including a three minute solo a cappella piece which is about twice as long as necessary. Clive still has his lead synth and Mellotron sounding great, but the organ remains puny sounding in comparison. A few of the tunes like the opener, "Welcome to the Cage," and "Medusa" are basically straight ahead arena rock ( bad pun...) numbers. None of the tunes on Pride posses the memorable melodies of, say, "Out of the Wilderness" or "Jericho" from the debut. The trilogy that ends the album — "Fools Gold," "Crying For Help VIII," and "Sirens" — contains the strongest new material, but even these songs are a notch less interesting than anything from Songs from the Lion's Cage. The bottom line is that Pride is a good neo-prog album, but a level below their previous effort.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Arena, Clive Nolan

Latest news

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Providence - There Once Was a Night of "Choko-muro" the Paradise – Some may recall the first, very highly regarded Providence CD And I'll Recite an Old Myth... from around 1990. At that point they had already released a couple cassettes, two videos, and appeared on...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues