Author Topic: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"  (Read 7598 times)

Offline PH

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Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« on: Mon, 2011-10-24, 11:09:14 »
Hi everyone!

Because of the launch of Arena's new album "The Seventh Degree Of Seperation" I thought it would be a nice idea to review each Arena studio album. All Shattered Room members are invited to join me in this.
At this moment there are six studio albums and the seventh will be released in six weeks on Monday 28th November.

Today, Monday 24th of October, will mark the "Songs From The Lions Cage" week. Everyone can post his/her views in this topic. Preferably in a true review form. Giving a rating is not necessary, but not forbidden either.

Next week, will be the "Pride" week. And so on. Which means, that on the day of release, we don't review their seventh album, but their sixth: "Pepper's Ghost". That way we have enough time (a week) to get to know the album before we review it.

What do you think? I love to read reviews, and I love to talk about my favourite albums. Especially with you guys. So let's get this going!

24 October - 30 October: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
31 October - 6 November "Pride"
7 November - 13 November "The Visitor"
14 November - 20 November "Immortal?"
21 November - 27 November "Contagion"
28 November - 4 December "Pepper's Ghost"
5 December - 11 December "The Seventh Degree Of Seperation"




"Songs From The Lions Cage"

From today (24 October) till Sunday (30 October) we will review Arena's debut album! Have fun!

« Last Edit: Mon, 2011-11-14, 10:10:02 by PH »

Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 2011-10-24, 11:12:00 »
I'll start. After all I've been thinking up this idea in secret and spent my free hours to listen to this album! ;)

Here goes:

Songs From The Lions Cage

The first time I heard this album was in the summer vacation of 2005. I was still in the dawn of my Prog evolution and Arena and Genesis were about the only bands I listened to. At that time I had no physical CDs, but only downloaded mp3s (shame!). I took all mp3s of Arena with me on vacation and there I listened all day to those great albums.

Nowadays I have a legal copy of every studio album and the new album has been preordered too, so it all worked out in the end. But I do not regret those delightful discoveries I did in those holidays. Each album for me is linked to emotions and images of that time. When I put on "Contagion" these days, it is as if I'm walking through those French forests again. With "The Visitor" I drive through the mountains. And in "Songs From The Lions Cage" I am sitting outside the tent and I look at the beautiful view. Music can be so very beautiful!

I'm glad I now own "Songs From The Lions Cage" because it has nice artwork too! But let's take a look at the songs...

Out Of The Wilderness
The first song already starts with a great intro. Clive's keyboard loops around 1:10 are exactly what I find so great in his keyboard playing. When that loop returns around 4:20, it gives such an awesome effect. The rest of the song seems always to be building a tension. In a really good way. This way it also puts the singing and thus the lyrics on the front, although most of the time I don't really know what they are about. Still the lyrics feel like they are clever, mystical and mysterious (perhaps mythical?).

That guitar solo from 5:50 lifts the song even further and carries it through the rest of the song. When John Carson starts singing "I'm breaking out of this wilderness" it gives me so many great feelings and nice memories. Nice change from minor 'depressive and hopeless' key to major 'uplifting and hopeful' key. It makes for a very positive feeling afterwards.

Crying For Help I
Acoustic guitar only. If someone would tell me that Steve Hackett is playing, I would have believed it. Very beautiful and perfectly positioned between Out Of The Wilderness and...

Valley Of The Kings
As if they wanted to say: "Let's get down to business immediately!", already a great guitarsolo before the first minute is up. But it gets even better, because this is the best song of the first half of the CD. The keyboards sound very much like that of Genesis at the time of "Wind & Wuthering".

At 3:00 a synth melody is played and later on in the song it will be played again, only to be extended to one of the best synth solos I've EVER heard. Beautifully backed up by acoustic guitars and choir sounds. Whenever I hear this, I can't help but get emotional and spontaneously let my tears flow freely. Like Out Of The Wilderness, Valley Of The Kings also takes it easy in the middle of the song and will again be built up with tension for a bombastic and powerful "I will live forever!". Really, this song is one of the best!

Lyrically, again I'm not so sure what it's about. The title suggests that ancient Egypt is involved. Possibly the building of the pyramids and the (leading up to) exodus of the Israelites. They were slaves and had to build big structures with stones. I think some lyrics are from the point of view of the Israelites and Moses, and some from Pharaoh. Yet it still remains unclear to me.

Crying For Help II
Another splendid instrumental featuring harpsichord and flute. Perhaps it drags on a little bit too long, but they are forgiven because, again, this moment of peace is very well positioned and necessary.

Jericho
The lights and the sounds may be forgotten, but this song will go down in history as the audience favourite. Nice guitar solo by Keith More. I must say, his guitarplaying on this album is excellent! I wonder what he's doing nowadays. Halfway, the song speeds up and Clive pulls another very uplifting synth motif out of his sleeve. The lyrics are not really 'happy', but still positive in a sense: "Gonna turn the tide against you! Gonna make this private revolution!" A revolution is at hand, better times ahead!

Crying For Help III
Yet another instrumental. This time it really drags on too long. Actually one can debate whether this can be called music. It's more reminiscent of New Age music than Progressive Rock. In this song a phone is constantly ringing and it the end you can almost hear Fish tell you not to give him your problems.

Midas Vision
Instead, it flows into Midas Vision. This time no build-up, or busy parts followed by calm parts. Midas Vision stays in the same mood and tempo during the entire song. Because of this, it seems as if this song doesn't really fit with the rest of the album. Halfway, once again a very nice and more than sufficient guitar solo by... David Gilmour? At least it sounds like him! Still, it's not enough to keep this song on the same scale as Out Of The Wilderness or Valley Of The Kings.

Crying For Help IV
This 'Cry For Help' is different from the others, because this one actually has vocals. And it's a very good song! A nice guitarsolo by Marillion's Steve Rothery while the others are holding back a bit.

Solomon
This is the song where Arena got their name from ("When you fed me to the lions in your personal arena"), as well as the name of the album ("In the lion's cage we're all the same"). I could write a review on this song alone as it's truly the best of the album and goes everywhere in the emotion-spectrum. Of course, with almost fifteen minutes it has every opportunity to do so. Still Arena makes it feel like one song and not like four songs. This is very rare because Octavarium by Dream Theater or even Supper's Ready by Genesis don't sound like one song. Arena does make it happen.

It seems as if the song (at least the first three minutes) is about someone who felt betrayed. A friend turns into an enemy. Then it moves on and the song is suddenly about two women and a child. The two women both claim to be the mother of the child. King Solomon makes the decision: "cut the child in half". Then comes a great instrumental section (almost four minutes) with very cool guitar and keyboard solos. Then again the story of the women and the child continues. The true mother wants to give the baby to the other woman to spare its life. After that a section is addressed to the listener: "Does it matter to you?". I always love the last three minutes, with the bombastic choirs and everything. It's a goosebump moment and a great way to end the album.

Conclusion
Arena's debut album is a masterpiece. In my opinion it is one of the best Neo-Prog albums of the nineties. Better than Pendragon's "The Masquerade Overture" and Marillion's "Brave". Better than "The Visitor"? Who knows! I'll let you know in two weeks! ;)
« Last Edit: Sun, 2011-11-13, 22:29:16 by PH »

Offline erik

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 2011-10-24, 17:25:48 »
Thanks for the extensive review and initiative for an album review series Paco! *horns*

Songs.. is also were it started for me with Arena, I read a positive review that immediately grabbed my attention, both because of the review of the music as the names of the involved band members mentioned in it. I was already very much into Marillion, Genesis, Pendragon and I obviously had to get the  debut of this new neoprog "supergroup".

It's inevitable - Songs being Mick's "second album" - to draw comparisons with Marillion's debut 12 years earlier. It already starts with the album title and both albums are a debut that's an instant classic. What Songs.. achieves so well for me is taking a vintage neoprog sound and giving it a new boost and sound for a new decade. Songs.. sounds a lot more massive and heavy than Script. Then there's the lyrics and artwork, that create a historical, mythical and biblical flavour, from ancient Egypt to the walls of Jericho to the Kings Midas and Solomon, mixing it with personal emotions and situations. Both musically and lyrically, the album is packed with Arena anthems that have remained live staples (notably Jericho, Crying For Help IV, Solomon and I'd like to see Out Of The Wilderness and Valley Of The Kings return to the setlist sometime). There's not a weak song on there in my opinion, apart from Cry III (and overall the Cry series are welcome quiet interludes, that remind me a lot of Clive's project Strangers On A Train). There are just so many great, enduring moments on the album.

Songs has been surpassed by later Arena releases but remains a cherished debut and classic that still retains its magic, the first mighty roar of the lion!

We stare at our screens
All our lives
What a waste of eyes..

Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 2011-10-24, 21:42:20 »
Thanks for the extensive review and initiative for an album review series Paco! *horns*

You're very welcome Erik. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I like your review too. I think it's great to share memories/emotions with other fans. I just hope that more people will join us on this.

Then there's the lyrics and artwork, that create a historical, mythical and biblical flavour, from ancient Egypt to the walls of Jericho to the Kings Midas and Solomon, mixing it with personal emotions and situations.

So it seems you know a bit more about the lyrics of the album? Can you tell us more?

Offline The Butterfly Man

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 2011-10-24, 23:09:05 »
Yeah, good idea Paco. 8) I'll try to participate as well!

So it seems you know a bit more about the lyrics of the album? Can you tell us more?

I know that Erik wrote a nice article about the lyrics of 'Songs' and 'Pride' in one of the fanclub magazines . You can read it here: http://www.verglas.com/cage_page/login/follow/follow_songs_pride_victims.htm

Tom
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Offline The Butterfly Man

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 2011-10-26, 15:43:27 »
Instead of writing a review, I will point out some of my personal highlights on the album.

- “Who gives a damn?” followed by a briljant guitarsolo and a nice ending with a great riff in Out Of The Wilderness.

- The keyboardsolo in Valley Of The Kings. I’m usually not very fond of keyboard-extravaganza (you might ask yourself why I even bother with prog then ;)) but this bit is just so beautiful. Still gives me shivers.

- Crying For Help IV. Beautiful song. The guitarsolo by Steve Rothery is well executed. It’s soaring, it’s melodic, it progresses nicely………but in all honesty I think John Mitchell outdoes Rothery on Welcome Back! To The Stage. I feel that Rothery plays on auto-pilot whereas JM gives his all here. At least to me it sounds that way. That’s why I prefer this live-version over the album-version. Yet it’s still one of my highlights of Songs From The Lions Cage… 8)

- Solomon. I haven’t really got anything to say about it. I just like every section of this song and I still can’t hear it enough, even after all those years.

Tom
« Last Edit: Wed, 2011-10-26, 18:14:07 by The Butterfly Man »
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Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 2011-10-26, 20:28:13 »
Instead of writing a review, I will point out some of my personal highlights on the album.

Which is fine! :)

People, when you don't want or can write a review, or simply don't have the time for it. Do like Tom. Let's make this our "Songs From The Lions Cage appreciation thread"!

And my review was perhaps too long. When you want to do a small review, it is fine!

- “Who gives a damn?” followed by a briljant guitarsolo and a nice ending with a great riff in Out Of The Wilderness.

Yeah that's great! *horns*

- The keyboardsolo in Valley Of The Kings. I’m usually not very fond of keyboard-extravaganza (you might ask yourself why I even bother with prog then ;)) but this bit is just so beautiful. Still gives me shivers.

Me too. I'm going to put that song on right now, just for that solo!

- Crying For Help IV. Beautiful song. The guitarsolo by Steve Rothery is well executed. It’s soaring, it’s melodic, it progresses nicely………but in all honesty I think John Mitchell outdoes Rothery on Welcome Back! To The Stage. I feel that Rothery plays on auto-pilot whereas JM gives his all here. At least to me it sounds that way. That’s why I prefer this live-version over the album-version. Yet it’s still one of my highlights of Songs From The Lions Cage… 8)

It's a nice guitar solo, but to be honest, I'm sure Keith More could do it too. I'm really positively surprised by Keith's playing! Rothers playing on this album was more for advertising than for his solo, because I think (although he plays very well) his solos are quite samey...

Offline Teunis

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 2011-10-27, 18:57:18 »
Just played the album, is had been long time ago. Beautiful album, really love the keyboard- and guitar solos on the album. And the 'Crying For Help' songs are nice 'pauses' between the more uplifting and *horns* songs left on the album. 'Solomon' and 'Jericho' are my favourites, had the pleasure to hear both songs live last year.

Nice idea PH, so we are 'forced' to play an Arena album each week, which is no punishment at all naturally ;).
« Last Edit: Thu, 2011-10-27, 18:58:57 by Teunis »
'I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh, our love doesn't end here, it lives forever on the wings of time'
-------------------------------------------------------
Toto - Wings of time (Kingdom of Desire)

Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 2011-10-27, 19:24:11 »
Nice idea PH, so we are 'forced' to play an Arena album each week, which is no punishment at all naturally ;).

Indeed! ;)

Offline Draco chimera

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 2011-10-27, 21:35:00 »
A very good album. Some songs, like Solomon, Jericho or Valley of the Kings are real masterpieces. Yet, some things (can't tell what, precisely?)for example in Midas Vision (though the song is not bad at all!) made me think that Arena was not completely fulfilling its potential (is that correct? to fulfill a potential?). Great album overall, especially for a debut one.  *horns*
Let your conscience decide !

Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 2011-10-27, 23:58:28 »
'Solomon' and 'Jericho' are my favourites, had the pleasure to hear both songs live last year.

Check this live version of Solomon!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=QXbigqdP4sI

The video quality is not too good, but still, I mean, c'mon, it's Solomon! ;)

Offline Bupie

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 2011-10-28, 11:39:01 »
Thanks for opening this thread, PH.

I hadn’t listened to SFTLC for years so I listened to it twice again for the purpose of this thread. I also re-read the part of “The Salt and the Sand” captivating biography (brilliantly co-written by Erik if I don’t mistake  ;)) devoted to this album. Finally, I re-read the interview of Mick and Clive about the art cover.

My favorite song is the radio-friendly “Jericho”, maybe because I always had a soft spot for light and melodic pop/prog … that others would call commercial. The song (and the whole album) IMHO clearly carries a Marillion heritage. It’s striking during the passage from “Please forgive me …” to the 5’15’’ mark. But it also develops Arena’s own personality. Anyway, I find it to be a great song.

My other faves are the other radio-friendly tune “Crying For Help IV” (with a great Rothery’s solo) and the epic “Solomon”, which is highly enjoyable although giving me the feeling of a patchwork somewhat lacking unity.

The two other epics that start the album are good but fail to really impress me, although I really like the lasting minutes of “Out Of The Wilderness”. The “Crying For Help” interludes are nice but the third one is maybe too long and derivative. Finally, “Midas Vision” is my least favorite song of the album : not bad but it leaves me cold.

When it comes to the artwork, I don’t like it much, I think it seems rather amateur although the aforementioned interview shows that Clive and Mick really gave attention to concept and details (I don’t see that mobile phone in the audience, by the way  :)).

At last, I don’t connect to the lyrics, they are too abstract for my taste and don’t move me much.

In the end, it’s a good album and the guys really deserve some credit for daring releasing it at a time where neo-prog was not really up-to-date.

Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 2011-10-29, 13:46:52 »
Great review Bupie!

Both you and Erik are right. Arena's debut album sounds a lot like early Marillion indeed.


Hey Nicky! I miss your review about this album!

Offline Iggy

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 2011-10-29, 18:23:57 »
It is a brilliant debut album.

As someone already commented the Crying for helps feel like punctuation to me.

The highlights are definitely Solomon and Jericho.

I felt it was more Genesis influenced than Marillion but then I guess Marillion were influenced by Genesis.

I probably feel differently about the CD's as I bought all of them in a very short space of time (I think Contagion and Pepper's Ghost were the first two) which meant the release dates didn't reallty matter.

Offline The Butterfly Man

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 2011-10-29, 19:41:36 »
Funny that everyone seems to like Jericho. To me it's the lowpoint of the album. The beginning is alright, then there's a nice melodic guitarsolo, but the second half of the song is pretty 'meh' to my ears. Ah well, opinions... ;D

Tom
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Offline erik

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 2011-10-30, 10:36:40 »
Funny that everyone seems to like Jericho. To me it's the lowpoint of the album. The beginning is alright, then there's a nice melodic guitarsolo, but the second half of the song is pretty 'meh' to my ears. Ah well, opinions... ;D
The first half is one of my absolute favourite parts on the album and of Arena in general. The second half (don't know if it's really halfway, but the uptempo part) is something that's especially apt for a live setting. It's very Arena and can also be heard in Climbing The Net for example (my least favourite track on Immortal? btw), although you may also trace it all the way back to Market Square Heroes by Marillion.

brilliantly co-written by Erik if I don’t mistake  ;))
Thanks Bupie, yes I contributed to the biography, but the lions share (pun intended) of the credits really go the JJ II who put in a huge amount of work.

Finally, “Midas Vision” is my least favorite song of the album : not bad but it leaves me cold.
"Reaching out, so cold!" ;)


At last, I don’t connect to the lyrics, they are too abstract for my taste and don’t move me much.
I tend to agree on that one, although not all the way, Crying For Help IV and Jericho are hardly abstract and do move me. But overall they lyrics are a bit more distant and abstract and harder to relate to.
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Offline maddox

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 2011-10-30, 14:57:15 »
I must admit that it has been ages since I last heard the album but I do remember at the time it was released I just knew I had to buy this one.
I mean, the first album of Mick Pointer since his departure from Marillion and Clive Nolan...
Those were the days that when you heard the names Clive Nolan and Carl Groom you know which way you were heading to and most of the time it was more than okay.
I had no idea who the others were but I didn't care.
If it was a bit as the beginning of Marillion it had to be good. I already read that that Carson dude had some similarities with Fish so what could go wrong?
Nothing for I'm concerned.

The production of the album isn't really great to be honest.
The songs sound like they come from far away and although sometime it comes out just fine, like with Valley of the Kings for instance (that bombast, that grandeur is just breathtaking), it is more or less quite hollow, flat.
One of the instruments that goes under in that production are the guitars, but also the bass.
A little more attention on the production and maybe also on the vocals since that is for me the weak point on this album, could've made it a really good debut.
Now, it's just one of the many... (people will kill me for this...)

The songs however, are pretty nice, pretty decent.
The first part of Out of the Wilderness is superb, but then the second part almost kills the song. The end is a bit too happy, too uplifting which isn't a bad thing but when you first had to go through the drama of the first part, the second part for me is a let down.

The Crying for Help interludes serves it's purpose, quite like it with the magnificient prt IV with no less than Steve Rothery that is doing the guitar solo.
But also prt II and III are really pleasant with that phone ringing and the answering machine.
Way to go, guys!

Well, I may have given you the hints but for me the album really starts with Valley of the Kings.
That song has it all, it has everything what Arena is about, the keyboard solo, the threatening ambiance, the mystic, the grandeur, the drama and theatrical when needed.
And it all comes to a brilliant climax at the end.
This is were the album starts. Out of the Wilderness is just an intro, nothing more nothing less.

But even on this track, the weakness is John Carson's voice.
I really believe that, although needed, Arena could've done a better job to wait for a different singer, maybe Paul was available that time, I don't know.

Jericho is a classic for me.
I think it has all the elements that are needed in a song to finish a show.
Even more than the Crying for Help Rock version they usually end with.
This is Arena, more than a Marillion clone that is potent enough to deal with things on their own way.

And then Midas Vision.
Great song for I'm concerned.
Even in this track a lot of mythological directions but a marvelous chorus.
It's slow, it's a bit bombastic but very Arena.

When you like a song with a story line, synthersizers, time-changes during the magnificient solo in the middle of the song and most of all a majestic finish, you're in for a treat when you take a listen to Solomon.
Granted, before the solo-break and a bit after the break it tends to be a bit slow but just like Valley of the Kings, this song represents everything that Arena is about.
Despite the Marillion-ish vocals and the presence of Mick Pointer, the album gives you more than a overrated Marillion-clone and people has to realize that after hearing Valley but especially after hearing Solomon.

To me, Songs from the Lion's Cage is a really good debut from Arena.
Like I said, it could've been better production-wise and for me also singer-wise but to begin your career with such an album...

A lot of bands only get the chance to dream of this.


Cause of Injury: Lack of Adhesive Ducks.

Offline Nicky007

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 2011-10-30, 18:14:24 »
Hey Nicky! I miss your review of this album!

OK, I'l give it a couple of runs this week  :)

In fact, I'l wait with reading you guys' reviews in detail till I'v formed my own opinion  ;)

Nicky.
« Last Edit: Sun, 2011-10-30, 18:17:03 by Nicky007 »
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Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 2011-10-31, 07:54:56 »
OK, I'l give it a couple of runs this week  :)

In fact, I'l wait with reading you guys' reviews in detail till I'v formed my own opinion  ;)

Nicky.

Today, "Songs" week is over. Which doesn't mean you can't write a review about this album anymore, but it DOES mean we will write reviews about "Pride" now too! Check it out!

Offline Nicky007

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 2011-10-31, 14:15:14 »
Today, "Songs" week is over ....

You have some way of complicating my life, Paxi  ;D

Nicky.
So you've come of age
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Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 2011-10-31, 14:52:21 »
You have some way of complicating my life, Paxi  ;D

Nicky.

It's all in the opening post, Nicky. ;)

Offline Nicky007

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 2011-11-19, 11:33:56 »
Currently I'm enjoying getting properly into Lion's Cage and Pride. Never really did before, as The Visitor and Contagion balled me over. Then a lotta other groups came pouring over me - I think ya know how it is, guys  ;)

It's a nice surprise to discover how good these first two Arena albums are - I thought you guys were culting, but they really are fine. And the lyrics sure are challenging. It's obvious that Clive is a learned person, a real philosopher-musican ... and not only that, but he pushes the Biblical and mythological stuff further to the point where, like: Hm, what the f*s goin on here  :-[

So, as a first, thanx, Paxi, for gettin me onto these two fine albums  :)

But it's goin to be a while before I can say anything further about these albums, as there's a lotta other music runnin these days, like at the X we're sharin a lotta new and interesting stuff  ;)

As an aside, looks like I'm gettin involved in planning the next Copenhell  8)

What's a workplace like where one can't share music  :(

Nicky.
« Last Edit: Sat, 2011-11-19, 11:39:15 by Nicky007 »
So you've come of age
And so you want to meet God
Sure you can
He's right here next to me

Offline PH

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 2011-11-19, 20:47:14 »
So, as a first, thanx, Paxi, for gettin me onto these two fine albums  :)

I'm glad to be of help! ;)

As an aside, looks like I'm gettin involved in planning the next Copenhell  8)

What do you mean?

Offline Nicky007

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 2012-01-18, 16:06:34 »
So, how to make sense of the following text:

Soon there will come a time
Whether a life like mine
Reaches you
Touches you

Under a cloud of fear
No longer need me here
Feeling secure
Part of the cause

Dramatic setting for
Friendship is not so pure
Innocence ... Influence

Now we have come so far
Etched on my mind unsure
Commonsense ... Confidence

Far reaching consequence
Born from indifference
Leave me here now

Forgotten with pretence
Forward and sufferance
Leave me here now?


Beginning with a spacy mood, quickly seguing into a noisy incarnated state, we are ushered into the world of Arena, or a tale of the human arena.

What an adventure  *horns*


"Soon there will come a time
Whether a life like mine
Reaches you
Touches you"

And what a wonderful start. I would have logically preferred "where" instead of "whether", being the nitpicker that I am, but OK, we can pretty much deduce, or induce, the same meaning outta this verse:

Yes, we've been thrown into earthly life, we've evolved up to a high degree of self-consciousness, and now we want to reach over to other individuals, experience for real that we're part of a oneness. "Whether" could indicate that we're always in doubt of whether this is really happening.

Dwelling on this verse evoked in me the thought by some people that each of us has his/her own star in the universe, and that our presence here has been a journey from each our star to this planet where we want to find each other and melt together.

Well, each human encounter has its hopes, desires, dreams, and doubts - so this is the Wilderness.


"Under a cloud of fear
No longer need me here
Feeling secure
Part of the cause"

Fear is definitely a constantly recurring moment in the human condition, we all experience it, and the fear is basically of dropping out of the oneness, becoming estranged. So in order to avoid that, we become more or less comfort addicts, seek security, which feels good, but also prevents us from moving forward in the human project; so security becomes part of the cause of maintaining the wilderness.


"Dramatic setting for
Friendship is not so pure
Innocence ... Influence"

Otoh banging the other guy on the head, or throwing bombs, is not a way to further the human project; rather being meek - "The meek shall inherit the Earth" - or innocent, that can induce real influence.


"Now we have come so far
Etched on my mind unsure
Commonsense ... Confidence"

We have come far, definitely, but it's also part of the human condition to be unsure: What have we really attained ? Maybe we have come too far in some ways, like technologically, and we're now becoming estranged to each other and destroying our life conditions; what we would seem to need now is some more commonsense - slow down and find real values - and this turn could give us some more confidence.


"Far reaching consequence
Born from indifference
Leave me here now"

Yes, our indifference to true values has brought us close to the edge, and the natural human reaction is to opt out, "just leave me alone, don't bother me with all this, I can't deal with it".


"Forgotten with pretence
Forward and sufferance
Leave me here now?"

We try our best to pretend that we're not part of this madness, that it's the fault of our leaders, and of big egoists (always the others), but being honest, we realise that the only way we can move truthfully forward is by taking the full human condition upon us, as it is presently, with aaall the suffering involved. So do I really wanna be left alone ?


So, Welcome to the Wilderness. I hope that my ruminations will enrich your experience of this seminal album.


Now I have no idea of what Clive and Mick think of all this. It would actually be quite cool to get some response from them - and of course also from you guys  :)

My journey with Arena has been a tremendous experience - the music, the thoughts, the Room - and of course, I'm expecting a lot more.

For one, it would be quite fun if one of you guys would continue this line of thought into the following lyrics of the album ... or even surprise me by taking an entirely different approach  ;)


Big thanx to Erik, for your keys to understanding the Wilderness in welcometothecage.com, without which I may not have been able to make sense outta these lyrics  :)

Nicky.
« Last Edit: Wed, 2012-01-18, 16:27:12 by Nicky007 »
So you've come of age
And so you want to meet God
Sure you can
He's right here next to me

Offline erik

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Re: Review series: "Songs From The Lions Cage"
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 2012-01-20, 13:38:13 »
Interesting analysis, thanks for sharing Nicky! Actually, reading your take on the lyrics of "Wilderness" I see a lot of parallels with Moviedrome, which also deals with the state of mankind, society dominated by technology and the individual that wants to break out of it all. There are certainly some themes that occupy Clive's mind throughout the albums.
We stare at our screens
All our lives
What a waste of eyes..