Ok, now I have time ! Contagion
So, the album begins with Witch Hunt
. After the ambient noises of the first 49 seconds (very precisely
), loud and heavy chords introduce us to the Contagion universe and set the darkness for this journey. Rob's vocals are very powerful, the lyrics rather pestimmistic. And here comes a killer solo by John Mitchell! What a great way to begin an album.
We are given a small break with An Angels Falls
. Beautiful lyrics call to us with a nice melody on piano.
Then, we have the excellent The Painted Man
. The instrumental introduction reveals the main musical theme for the album and sound very powerful. We continue our journey further into doom, and Rob tells us of this strange man who knows the future with impressively dark vocals.This Way Madness Lies
makes a nice transition. We get a great piece of playing by John Mitchell, and also a great piece of bass thanks to Ian Salmon. The instrumental is a bit faster than previous songs, and has great rythm.
We go on with Spectre At The Feast
, with awesome lyrics. My rainbows turn to grey...
Hey, don't fall asleep,
Don't close your eyes, and drift away to some foreign land...
So beautiful ! And a frightening overdriven guitar. Are you so pure?
We are put in doubt as Noah questions man's self-confidence.
Then comes Never Ending Night
, with the piano theme of An Angel Falls
, with a more pestimmistic touch maybe. The protagonist realizes his fault: we can hear II will never wipe the bloodstains from my hands
instead of We will never...
I find it awesome to use a tune that was at the beginning to make a transition between two parts of the album. To me, the first part was real story-telling, whereas the part we are about to enter rather tell nightmares and visions of apocalypse. Skin Game
begins with frightening heavy guitar, and dark lyrics, whereas the second part goes on with lighter acoustic guitar. It's great to have a song with a non-linear scheme. Beautiful lyrics on this one, too, as the protagonist tells us of his living with such terrible secrets. I think of it as some kind of flashback, with the sentence "The problems of the world, are there for others to debate / I prefer to face my days alone
explaining the guilt he bears; he tried to put behind his responsibilities, and we know he failed.Salamander
begins with a hyptnotic synth melody. Apocalypse burns the world, and it feels like we don't try to fight it. It was one of the songs I loved most when listening to the album for the first time.
I especially appreciate the fast rythm in the instrumental On the Box
. When hearing this, I always imagine newspaper headlines, financial panic, politics trying to reassure the people that they have the situation in hands - the world facing imminent disaster. And then, with the final morse code, I imagine them all stopping whatever they were doing, freezing as they watch fate fall upon them.
Despite the fact that Tsunami
is not the most appreciated song on the album, I still think it was needed. After the morse code of On the Box
, we needed some apocalyptic tune, with a hypnotic bass line. I also think the structure fits the song title perfectly; when the music stops, and we only hear a choir in the background and a few bass note, we can feel the world holding its breath; and with the final glissendo between two chords on the guitar, we imagine well the waves coming up and down the shore after wasting everything on ther way. At least, that's my apporach of the song.
We return directly into the present time with Bitter Harvest
- or Fallow Ground
, though I think the first title fits better. After a great ballad intro, we travel around wasted cities, and watch as the world slowly gives up - while the protaginst keeps his faith. The lyrics are just so beautiful - Time may fly...
Don't have much to say about City of Lanterns
, as it is quite short. a necessary transition, and a nice prayer.
Now, here comes Riding the Tide
, with awesome synth from Clive Nolan!! Very melodic. To me the best instrumental on the album - if not the best in Arena's dicography. The main theme really gives hope. Can't find the words.
At first I wasn't quite into Mea Culpa
. Found it a bit "too much". But I really appreciate it now, especially the final chorus and the lines But I can't help you...Cutting the Cards
is, once again, a killer song. After a very beautiful intro on folk guitar, we are taken away by the fast rythm and the addictive guitar riff and anthemic chorus. Fantastic.
And we finish with Ascencion
. A powerful song, with a feeling or redemption. Great lyrics, once again, and the best way to finish this album. Rob shines on the whole album, but this song is really the one when you appreciate his vocals the most.
To sum up, this album is absolutely fantastic. Very dark, but not denuded of hope. To me it is simply the best of Arena's discography. Contagious
is a great instrumental. The main riff is addictive, and we get some really nice keyboards from Clive.The Hour Glass
is really frightening in ly opinion. The introduction makes me imagine deserted towns, with vegetation growing -well, a bit like NYC in "I am Legend". Great song, in my opinion.Contagious
uses riffs from the album, and feels very expeimental. I find it really cool, but it sounds more like a musical research, some kind of rough shape for the album. I understand why it was not on the album, but I do think it could fit on Contagion - The Max
. Very nice solos on it.I spy
is a nice song too. Not in the same way as most others, as it is much more optimistic. I really enjoy the keyboard theme that comes with the bridge.Contagium
:On the Edge of Despair
is a good piece of work. I like the way the song begins with dark tunes and then shows hope, in the music as well as the lyrics. The only reproach I could make is that I find the outro a bit too long.The March of Time
begins with an addictive guitar riff, which feels really frightening. I like that the lyrics connect to The Hour Glass
, as both songs evoke time. Same thing as the previous song, the outro is a bit too extensive in my opinion.
And here comes Confrontation
. A great instrumental, with very nice guitar. I love the mix of choirs, acoustic and electric guitars, and the almost tribal rythm in the intro. Awesome.
A short word about the remixes: usually, I'm either very excited about remixes or just plain disappointed. I was kinda scared by the notion of remixing Arena. The special remixes on the EPs surprised me, as even if I didn't find them as good as the original songs, they remained enjoyable. Salamander is a bit long, but more ambitious than Witch Hunt. Those are fine remixes.
I also enjoyed the presence of special content on the EPs. Great idea.
About Live & Life
, Caught In The Act
, I won't say much more (I already talked too much!) than this : those are great releaeses, and I couldn't be happier to have more Conatigon-related content available.
Woah. My longest post on the forum so far, I think!!