ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

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ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Fri May 18, 2018 8:04 am

Wow !!! Just wow !!!!!!

This disc could have been the make or break disc for me with this band ...... I know others are really digging their last couple of discs with Paul Manzi, but they never fully clicked with me, until now. I'm 3 songs deep into this disc and I am enjoying this to the max !!!!

What I'm hearing is this ..... they seem to have taken old school Arena with the epic backdrop keyboards and guitar riffs, married them with a more aggressive guitar sound, and they have injected Paul Manzi's voice with more of the drama that made Arena special from the beginning. Some of you may say this is no different than their last few discs, but this is clicking instantly with me. I may go back to the others at some point, but what I'm hearing right now is no comparison to what I've heard from them recently......

The production is no different than other Arena discs -- it's excellent, a wall of sound, and really nothing to complain about as the vocals are right up in the front of the mix.....

There are only 7 songs on the disc - ranging from 4:20 on up to the 23:00 monster that closes the disc, and I haven't even gotten that far yet.......

To me, Arena is back !!!!!! This is what I've been wanting to hear from them for so long .....for others, this may be just another continuation of their greatness, but for me, this is an exciting new disc that brings back old school Arena with their new emotion and aggression ....... one look at the artwork tells you that someone is feeling a bit angry or distorted - yes the emotions coming off the disc are dripping with warmth and syrup. It's a great winning combination.

I can finally say once again about an Arena disc - buy or die !!! This is awesome.

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Fri May 18, 2018 8:07 am

Great to hear! I was going to buy regardless, but you may have just helped accelerate the trigger finger. "Seven Degrees" was OK, but very disappointing compared to the rest of the catalogue. "Unqiuet Sky" was much improved, but if you're saying this is even better..... Very cool!
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Fri May 18, 2018 9:07 am

Sir Exar Kun wrote:Great to hear! I was going to buy regardless, but you may have just helped accelerate the trigger finger. "Seven Degrees" was OK, but very disappointing compared to the rest of the catalogue. "Unqiuet Sky" was much improved, but if you're saying this is even better..... Very cool!


***Yeah I figured you'd be all over this one ......I agree on your thoughts about the other 2 discs, and yes, I feel that this one is much better......albeit a bit too short. That monster track at the end -- ends the disc much too fast and the ending is a bit anti-climatic which is what you don't expect from Arena. The songs are strong, and I'm really finally liking Manzi's voice much better on this disc than the others......overall, this is a winner.

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby introclaus » Fri May 18, 2018 9:12 am

About time ... I've told you so many times that Manzi is amazing, yet you refused to listen ;P
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Fri May 18, 2018 9:39 am

introclaus wrote:About time ... I've told you so many times that Manzi is amazing, yet you refused to listen ;P


***Maybe the music on the other 2 discs didn't make shine like he does here...... it seems like when they go back to that "classic" Arena sound, their singers sound so much better..... such is the case here.

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby ToddS » Fri May 18, 2018 5:21 pm

While not my favorites, I did enjoy the 2 disc with Paul. Haven’t heard the new one yet. Glad it hit the spot for you bro.

For whatever reason, I wasn’t feeling the need to rush out and grab this, but I’m more intrigued now.
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Sat May 19, 2018 9:02 am

This is still going strong, and I've played it now about 5 times all the way through ........ I thought it was a bit on the short side, but I see the total time is 55:00 - yet another 20 minute song or Part 2 of the first 23:00 song would have done nicely ??

The disc almost has a dark feel to it ...... almost ominous. No happy thoughts here...... I also think that Paul Manzi sounds his best on this disc, compared to the other discs he has sung on - and I still maintain that injecting classic Arena into this sound has something to do with it. A brilliant move on their part.

Of course, if you want to compare this era with "The Butterfly Man" era, you would have a problem ...... but in this new era of Arena, this disc is outstanding, and to me, the best of the Paul Manzi era. Someone in this band (Clive ?) decided that they needed to go into a more dark / aggressive style on this disc, and that they did.....

There is no doubt that this disc finally brings me into the Manzi era of Arena, and this disc is going to get much talk and play time ..........if you were on the fence about another Manzi disc, or about to be burned out on Arena, let this one take you back into the game...... it definitely has brought me back into the fold........

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby introclaus » Sat May 19, 2018 5:38 pm

LarryD wrote:This is still going strong, and I've played it now about 5 times all the way through ........ I thought it was a bit on the short side, but I see the total time is 55:00 - yet another 20 minute song or Part 2 of the first 23:00 song would have done nicely ??

The disc almost has a dark feel to it ...... almost ominous. No happy thoughts here...... I also think that Paul Manzi sounds his best on this disc, compared to the other discs he has sung on - and I still maintain that injecting classic Arena into this sound has something to do with it. A brilliant move on their part.

Of course, if you want to compare this era with "The Butterfly Man" era, you would have a problem ...... but in this new era of Arena, this disc is outstanding, and to me, the best of the Paul Manzi era. Someone in this band (Clive ?) decided that they needed to go into a more dark / aggressive style on this disc, and that they did.....

There is no doubt that this disc finally brings me into the Manzi era of Arena, and this disc is going to get much talk and play time ..........if you were on the fence about another Manzi disc, or about to be burned out on Arena, let this one take you back into the game...... it definitely has brought me back into the fold........


On the second pass-through now.

First of all, I have no idea what you are talking about with change in style over the previous two albums - both album sounds just like Arena should - no different from most other of their albums, which is a great thing. I’ve spent a lot of time with them both in the past couple of years, especially “the seventh degree...” which I had dismissed at first (it probably has the second best Arena song ever written, One Last Au Revoir, almost as good as Crack In The Ice) and totally adore them both.

The only Arena disc I never liked is Peppers Ghost, mostly because it sacrificed the good melodies for darkness. So when I read your review of this new disc that had me spooked quite a bit. Luckily the darkness and heaviness here isn’t used in the same way, so that’s quite a positive thing - pheeew :)

Will this rank up there with The Visitor and Songs fromthe Lions Cage, only time will tell - for now I’m digging what I’m hearing and a few more spins should reveal more...
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Sun May 20, 2018 8:22 am

First of all, I have no idea what you are talking about with change in style over the previous two albums - both album sounds just like Arena should - no different from most other of their albums, which is a great thing. I’ve spent a lot of time with them both in the past couple of years, especially “the seventh degree...” which I had dismissed at first (it probably has the second best Arena song ever written, One Last Au Revoir, almost as good as Crack In The Ice) and totally adore them both.


***This one is much darker than the previous two - and this one also brings back that classic wall of sound Arena to the fold ...... I didn't hear that on the previous discs....I heard more "songs" where now I'm hearing "stories" - and dark ones that that ........it's got an ominous feeling that the other two did not .......soon, I'll go back to those two and do a comparison so we can debate this more, but there is a reason I'm loving this one, and not the others .........


The only Arena disc I never liked is Peppers Ghost, mostly because it sacrificed the good melodies for darkness. So when I read your review of this new disc that had me spooked quite a bit. Luckily the darkness and heaviness here isn’t used in the same way, so that’s quite a positive thing - pheeew :)


***And I love Peppers Ghost - because of that very darkness and gloomy feel to it ........


Will this rank up there with The Visitor and Songs fromthe Lions Cage, only time will tell - for now I’m digging what I’m hearing and a few more spins should reveal more...[


***Not gonna happen -- nothing in their catalog comes close to those two discs in greatness -- normally, bands only put out one masterpiece in their careers.....Arena has been lucky to put out at least 3 ...... the ones you mention, and Contagious........

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Wed May 23, 2018 12:19 pm

This disc is so good ....... if you did or did not enjoy the last two Arena discs, this is a no brainer....... I plan on going back to them both, as I didn't care for either, but this one is hitting the spot nicely........ cannot stop playing this -- that's a good sign ...........

"Poisoned" is such a great song -- and one that fits my current situation in life ........... I'm not sure if it helps me feel good or makes me want to cry.........regardless, it's so beautiful .........

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Wed May 23, 2018 2:37 pm

Just have been waiting for Ken to get one or two more new things in to pull the trigger on a new order, so I clicked over and first thing on there is the new Tomorrow's Eve.

So, yeah....

Time for a new order!!!
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Wed May 23, 2018 2:52 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:Just have been waiting for Ken to get one or two more new things in to pull the trigger on a new order, so I clicked over and first thing on there is the new Tomorrow's Eve.

So, yeah....

Time for a new order!!!


***Funny you say that -- just ordered the T-Eve, Subsignal, Ostura and Wilson / Wakeman ............ musical life is good, the rest sucks ............. :(

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby artension » Wed May 23, 2018 6:37 pm

Personally, I found a big difference in the previous 2 Arena offerings, with The Unquiet Sky a big step forward from 7 Degrees. Really only listen to that one song Larry mentioned on 7 Degrees, as I found Manzi a little too "full throttle" in the vocal department on that album. Of course, I was a BIG Rob Sowden fan, and loved that almost plaintive hopelessness he brought to the lyrics - a good match for the dark themes of Arena. But regarding Manzi, I felt that by The Unquiet Sky, he had acclimated better with the band's style, fairly song-based, yes, but GOOD songs. I am still taking in the new CD, but definitely feel that Manzi is fully integrated now. Enjoying the abundance of keys, acoustic guitar passages, and as Larry says so well, "wall of sound".
Also enjoying the new Tomorrow's Eve disc. Don't know that it will measure up to Mirror of Creation 2, but it is really good. Ostura on the way.

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby introclaus » Sat May 26, 2018 6:45 am

Not many bands are able to release outputs w 4 different singers and still sound the same. Kudos to Pointer and Nolan for their vision with this band.

I was thinking of this when I read an article where the bassist of Riot explained that they now are on the fifth singer and that’s why they changed name to Riot V ... ehmmm no, you guys changed the name because you realized none of you were able to write songs that actually sounded like classic Riot after Mark passed away.

Not many bands have done what Arena have accomplished and that’s super impressive in itself.
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby gazinwales » Sat May 26, 2018 7:17 pm

I agree with Claus here, all 4 singer that Arena have had, all sound pretty much the same to me.
The biggest difference in the change of sound was the arrival of John Mitchell.
He brought a far more metallic sound to the band.
While Keith More was more rock player on the first two albums.

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Mon May 28, 2018 1:18 pm

The biggest difference in the change of sound was the arrival of John Mitchell.
He brought a far more metallic sound to the band.


***One of the best additions any band has made - ever.

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Wed May 30, 2018 1:51 pm

Couple rotations through.... Fantastic disc! Definitely the best of the Manzi era. "Unquiet" was a good disc, but felt like it was recovering from "Seven Degrees", which came off as flat out lazy. This album feels like they are fully back in the groove.

I will point out, though, that this feels like the shortest 53 minute disc ever..... Just as it's really still building, it comes to an end. Another 1-2 songs would have helped. "Elijah Shade" is an absolute monster, possibly better than "Moviedrome".

Overall, I get a feeling of "Immortal Pt 2" from this disc.... Certainly a good thing!
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Wed May 30, 2018 3:01 pm

Sir Exar Kun wrote:Couple rotations through.... Fantastic disc! Definitely the best of the Manzi era. "Unquiet" was a good disc, but felt like it was recovering from "Seven Degrees", which came off as flat out lazy. This album feels like they are fully back in the groove.

I will point out, though, that this feels like the shortest 53 minute disc ever..... Just as it's really still building, it comes to an end. Another 1-2 songs would have helped. "Elijah Shade" is an absolute monster, possibly better than "Moviedrome".

Overall, I get a feeling of "Immortal Pt 2" from this disc.... Certainly a good thing!



***I knew you were going to love this !!!!! Awesome ......... and I agree that this disc feels so short - it just ends out of nowhere and leaves you wanting more......another 1-2 songs would have definitely sealed the "awesomeness" of this disc ......that's my only complaint against it.

However - YES - Elijah Shade is a monster. NO - it is not possibly better than Moviedrome. :wink:

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Wed May 30, 2018 5:02 pm

On a side note - some of the Frenchies got to see ARena play in Quebec the other night, and they the entire "The Visitor" disc...... can you believe this ? They fly over here to Quebec, play that and then go home ...... unreal.

The Frenchies said that Manzi nailed it - and the show itself was incredible. Doesn't America want to see Arena ??? :?: :(

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby GaetanL » Wed May 30, 2018 5:45 pm

Great show indeed! Yes, they played "The Visitor" album entirely and other songs...
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby GaetanL » Wed May 30, 2018 11:07 pm

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby gazinwales » Thu May 31, 2018 2:25 am

Larry you should be asking the promoter of the sole Canadian gig this.
Could be that it's not economical to pay for visa's flights etc to play for a few hundred people in the USA?

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby GaetanL » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:00 pm

Now, about the album...
I love it! An essential Arena disc!
Of course the epic song could not be better than "Moviedrome" but this is still a great one!
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby Chris R » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:08 pm

I'm going to get this after checking out a few clips..

Yeah...music is getting interesting right as the summer heats up
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:31 am

Same for this disc ..... just keeps getting better and better. I find myself playing this and the new Tomorrow's Eve constantly day in and day out ......... Not one filler song to be found, and I have to finally admit that Paul Manzi sounds great. Pepper's Ghost (2005 gasp !!!) was the last Arena disc I adored, and I can't believe it's been 13 years of playing back Arena discs from the past until this one. How weird time is.........

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby introclaus » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:05 pm

LarryD wrote:Same for this disc ..... just keeps getting better and better. I find myself playing this and the new Tomorrow's Eve constantly day in and day out ......... Not one filler song to be found, and I have to finally admit that Paul Manzi sounds great. Pepper's Ghost (2005 gasp !!!) was the last Arena disc I adored, and I can't believe it's been 13 years of playing back Arena discs from the past until this one. How weird time is.........


Now
Go back and listen to the other 2 Manzi albums - and the live album - they measure up perfectly fine with the rest of Arena’s catalog (especially considering you like Peppers Ghost which I found very weak)...
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby GaetanL » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:23 pm

To me, "The Seventh Degree Of Separation" with Paul Manzi on vocals is truly excellent! Ok it doesn't have an epic / prog song, but it doesn't matter because now we have it with the last disc!
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:41 pm

Based on Uncle Claus' suggestion that I go back and check out the previous two Paul Manzi discs, I played "The Unquiet Sky" and "The Seventh Degree" back to back-- after playing "Double Vision" ........

"Double Vision" blows those two others away ...... hands down ........ they really upped the game on this new one, and it will end up in the Top 5 easily this year.......that said, after playing the other two back to back, I find that I'm enjoying "The Seventh Degree" much more than "The Unquiet Sky" and I know lots of people prefer TUS to the other one .......

Of note -- neither of those discs have the epic 20:00 plus track that other Arena discs have - and I'm grateful they put one on this new disc ... I love when Arena goes epic.

To me, " Double Vision " is the best thing Arena has put out since "Pepper's Ghost" in 2005 ..... that is a long time " not " to enjoy an Arena disc to the fullest........

I will definitely include "Seventh Degree" into the mix from this day forward -- thanks to Uncle Claus for putting me in the right direction again .........

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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby Chris R » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:44 pm

Thanks for bumping this up ...
Forgot all about this and will be purchasing tonight with a bunch of other things
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby GaetanL » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:22 pm

LarryD wrote:Based on Uncle Claus' suggestion that I go back and check out the previous two Paul Manzi discs, I played "The Unquiet Sky" and "The Seventh Degree" back to back-- after playing "Double Vision" ........

"Double Vision" blows those two others away ...... hands down ........ they really upped the game on this new one, and it will end up in the Top 5 easily this year.......that said, after playing the other two back to back, I find that I'm enjoying "The Seventh Degree" much more than "The Unquiet Sky" and I know lots of people prefer TUS to the other one .......

Of note -- neither of those discs have the epic 20:00 plus track that other Arena discs have - and I'm grateful they put one on this new disc ... I love when Arena goes epic.

To me, " Double Vision " is the best thing Arena has put out since "Pepper's Ghost" in 2005 ..... that is a long time " not " to enjoy an Arena disc to the fullest........

I will definitely include "Seventh Degree" into the mix from this day forward -- thanks to Uncle Claus for putting me in the right direction again .........

We agree on Arena with Paul Manzi ranking:
1. Double Vision
2. The Seventh Degree Of Separation
3. The Unquiet Sky
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Re: ARENA / Double Vision ..... first thoughts.

Postby LarryD » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:40 pm

GaetanL wrote:
LarryD wrote:Based on Uncle Claus' suggestion that I go back and check out the previous two Paul Manzi discs, I played "The Unquiet Sky" and "The Seventh Degree" back to back-- after playing "Double Vision" ........

"Double Vision" blows those two others away ...... hands down ........ they really upped the game on this new one, and it will end up in the Top 5 easily this year.......that said, after playing the other two back to back, I find that I'm enjoying "The Seventh Degree" much more than "The Unquiet Sky" and I know lots of people prefer TUS to the other one .......

Of note -- neither of those discs have the epic 20:00 plus track that other Arena discs have - and I'm grateful they put one on this new disc ... I love when Arena goes epic.

To me, " Double Vision " is the best thing Arena has put out since "Pepper's Ghost" in 2005 ..... that is a long time " not " to enjoy an Arena disc to the fullest........

I will definitely include "Seventh Degree" into the mix from this day forward -- thanks to Uncle Claus for putting me in the right direction again .........

We agree on Arena with Paul Manzi ranking:
1. Double Vision
2. The Seventh Degree Of Separation
3. The Unquiet Sky



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