Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Marsupilami
Arena


Released 1971 on Estoeric
Reviewed by zmnathanson, 23/04/2008ce


If you think Prog Rock was a bunch of goblins, wizards, and King Arthur music of ice, then think again! That's right and this time it's in the battlefields of Rome with the goriest battles in a rock opera style with Marsupilami's second album, Arena. Produced by Camel's Peter Bardens, Marsupilami's second album was more darker and heavier to be more of a prog version of Black Sabbath.

Prelude to the Arena starts the album off with an Organ that is almost rising from the grave and goes straight into a heavy guitar chord introduction with narrator giving out the battledome intro saying 'I've come here today/to rip the veil from your eyes/and rip out your heads/AND PULL OUT YOUR BLOODY MINDS!' as it goes into attack mode with Tony Iommi guitar like sounds and becomes more warm with the Flute and the Mellotron. Then it goes back into the style of Fusion Metal with a Rhodes coming out of the wings and goes into the stop-and-go introduction into an evil finale.

Peace of Rome is a sinister Crimson sound from the Lizard-era that goes into classical guitar strumming and Hammond Organs are going into the Hellish arena while the 13-minute epic The Arena becomes the highlight on this album. The band are now in the gorefest ampitheatre with the Mellotron giving funeral marches that makes you feel you're inside the battle dome ready to fight to the death.

Time Shadows, a Jethro Tull flute jam style that goes into a Jazz Rockin' sound and then into a crossover of a softer side of Peace of Rome reprise style into a darker area. The last number, Spring is a bizarre twist of lushful darker climaxes with harmonica's and folky ballads that closes the album very well.

Gladiator's, Lions, Ben-Hur, and Spartacus doing a darker version of the Arena. No wonder Marsupilami was way beyond the Arkham Asylum of Prog Rock's weird music!


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