Metal To Infinity

Okay, three years is no exaggeration for a Metal band to release a new CD but waiting for something you’re looking so much forward to stays a difficult mission. Especially in music I can be so god damn impatient…  

Dark Arena’s “Alien Factor” ain’t at all a CD that shocked the Metal scène in 2006  but that wasn’t at all the band’s fault. They delivered all the necessary goods, so why blame them? No, first of all the band didn’t find a decent label and a second reason was that the Metal media was (and still is) ignorant about this American super band. In an oversaturated Metal scène a band needs both to receive any attention. A pity, even a disgrace but I don’t tell any lies when I say “Alien Factor” became a record only a few die hard US Metal fanatics discovered. To be honest it was, for me, one of the best three albums of that particular year! This debut is already reviewed at our website and it deserves its place between our ‘classic ones’! Stefan? 

Amongst all interesting and superb US Power Metal bands Dark Arena is without any doubts one of the most attractive ones. The band plays typical US Power Metal in which especially the Progressive and mid tempo Thrash elements, that makes this unique genre so attractive, are present. Add some out of the ordinary guitars and fascinating world class vocals and you will understand why I was looking forward to this new release… The band contains two amazing guitar players, a keyboard player who’s a master in adding subtle – yet overwhelming – performances in the songs, an incredible technical drummer and a bass player who delivers bass lines that will leave you behind with your eyes wide shut!  

Dark Arena delivers once again a high quality record! Sophisticated riffs, technical played arrangements, a play of high power and a devastating wall of sound! The guitar solos are fast fingered, crying, sensitive and just the way Heavy Metal guitar solos should sound! These are the kind of solos that makes every Heavy Metal fanatic playing the imaginary guitar, awesome! At least it proves how this music doesn’t miss its effect on me and what kind of spelling force it has on the listener! The opening track “Eclipse Of The Sun”, introduced by an enigmatic intro, is a masterpiece to start with. This high quality standard stays available for the listener during the entire album! All tracks are incredible good written and contain – thanks to some dark samples and gloomy instrumental pieces in and between the songs – a very mysterious atmosphere. Dark voices in the back ground, grunts to make the music sound stronger, mystifying acoustic introductions, odd and bizarre keyboard performances … all are foreseen. In between you’ll discover shredding guitar solos and high energetic riffs that will suck all the life out of you! Also the foundation is amazing; more than once I can’t believe my ears listening to these lightning fast bass guitar lines and fantastic double bass drums! 

I just adore it when a band delivers that ‘extra touch’ to make a CD irresistible. Musical wise I can’t say that the band made many improvements; therefore “Alien Factor” was too strong. By creating a more intense dark mood on this release Dark Arena did actually improve. “The Dark Crusade” is a good example on the way Dark Arena succeeds in their goal creating a terrifying and scary atmosphere in and between their first class Heavy Metal songs! “Pax Et Bello” is another very good example of what I mean; it’s a short instrumental intermezzo with a creepy voice and heavenly – yet frightening – choirs on the background… Once again I receive a cold shivering! By adding it on this disc the listener stays into the right mood for this overall ultimate dark CD!  

The essence and spirit of classic 80's Power Metal as well as any band, then or now are at hand. The elements that made the Eighties Metal scène so special are here! Anyway Dark Arena was so intelligent to add modern elements and melodic refrains / choruses to it. Dark Arena sounds Progressive but without losing, not for a slice of second, any sight to their red lines! The technical arrangements and grunt voices in the back ground make everything sound even more stronger and gives this disc a modern touch! It is impossible to name a favorite song; each one of them contains its dark secrets you need to discover yourself… The production is strong, not polished but indeed clean! Furthermore you’ll discover spectacular  flowing guitar harmonies with just the right amount of power and even more spectacular guitar solos! I need to say that the solos are more spectacular than on the debut CD! The effective songwriting, ultra technical performed, will deliver you a trip through the stories Dark Arena is writing about.  

Add a vocalist who contains an unique voice and can be compared with John Cyriis (ex Agent Steel), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Tom Malicoat (Lethal), Ski (Deadly Blessing) and Warrel Dane (Sanctuary era). As a matter of fact it is a disgrace I have to compare Juan Ricardo with others because he is without any doubts one of the best singers – world wide - in the present Metal scène. Yes ladies and gentlemen; this is a vocalist extraordinaire! Juan Ricardo’s voice is clean, strong and he’s able to sing very high notes! His high screams are by the way  just fantastic!  

It took some time for me to get into this CD because every time I discover something new that sounds tremendous to me. Dark Arena stays far away from the Metal clichés and delivers a breathtaking album, unfortunately I fear it is once again meant for a select public because the band is still not signed! The chosen few who will discover this treasure will be blown away and will understand why I always say that the best Metal bands are mostly underground… Yes, Dark Arena is a top band in every way, in every aspect! No weak points on this release that will maybe end as the ultimate number one in my year list! Before the end of the year you can buy this masterpiece at:  http://www.myspace.com/darkarena  

My Points : 99 / 100 (Review by Officer Nice)