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“Smoke & Mirrors” by Arena

Artist: Arena
Title: “Smoke & Mirrors”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 4/25/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

Celebrating the bands 10th Anniversary comes a wonderful concert film from Progressive Rock giants Arena. Filmed at a spacious theatre in front of an apparently sold-out crowd, the folks at Metal Mind Productions have given us another quality concert to enjoy. I have to admit going in that I hardly knew what to expect from Arena since I had never followed them before or had much exposure to their material in the ten years that they have existed. This made watching the DVD film a little sketchy for me until it began and I found myself caught in some very interesting Progressive Rock music. As a long-time fan of old Marillion, I definitely caught some similarities in the style between Arena and the Fish years for Marillion. Singer Robert Snowden is a great front man with a voice that suits the material very well. He also has a couple of costume changes during the set which bring to mind influences of Gabriel and Fish from Progressive years past and help out with the overall effect of the bands music. The music is performed to perfection by John Mitchell (guitar), Clive Nolan (keyboards), Ian Salmon (bass) and Mick Pointer (drums). Readers who were up on the band as much as I was might also find it interesting to realize that drummer Pointer was one of the early members of Marillion. Overall the music is welcome to the fans of a semi-Progressive fan, it does not go off on tangents and break into too many directions for the average listener to follow but instead melds itself with some Hard Rock feels and uses the Prog influence to raise the musicianship up a notch.
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