Though their self-titled debut does not offer anything to truly blow the imagination away, UK rockers Scream Arena vein their release with an essence which makes it a very appetising and easy to return to venture. Consisting of twelve tracks which breathe from a hard rock heart whilst infusing rich spices of melodic metal aligned to a swagger related to glam rock, the album is an honestly satisfying encounter; nothing to get the passions racing but plenty to have them hungry for more.
Scream Arena was formed in 2005 by vocalist/songwriter Andy Paul in response to how he felt the rock scene was floundering at the time. Moving through numerous personnel changes, the band eventually found its potency and stability with the line-up guitarists Alex Mullings and Phil O’Dea, bassist Lincoln J. Roth, and drummer Michael Maleckyj alongside Paul. It was the linking up with US rock producer/musician Paul Sabu (David Bowie, Madonna, KISS, Shania Twain, Silent Rage) for the album which has provided the final spark to grabbing a richer spotlight for their sound and presence, something the release shines with. There is a certain Cooper-esque feel to the sound soaking each track and flavours from the likes of Motley Crue, Kiss, and Extreme seem to soak into the band’s invention which makes for a familiar offering with a refreshing and heartily pleasing presence but also a lack of uniqueness which all evens out for an easily pleasing and enjoyable proposition.
Opening track Born Ready revs itself up from the first second, riffs and rhythms a solidly coaxing lure which the guitar design of the song explores with eagerness. Once into a purposeful stride with flailing sonic flumes wrapping notes and ears as the gruff tones of Paul eagerly travels the road of the song; it is a magnetic anthem awakening attention and appetite for the impending adventure, which the following engagement of The Price Of Love takes into another gear. Again there is nothing flash about the song, just straight forward and accomplished rock ‘n’ roll cored by infectious short grooves and an excellent rhythmic tempting. The bass also adds to the irrepressible bait of the song, its dark throaty tones a prowling shadow to the punkish twist of the song and the fluid addictive call of the band vocals across the chorus. The song easily confirms, alongside its predecessor, the strength and potency of Scream Arena’s sound and the strength of the album though levels do ebb and flow throughout its remainder.
Racing To The End Of Night is the first lull in the contagion of the album, its melodic balladry and sensitive sonic enterprise excellently crafted alongside the kiss of eighties bred keys but the spark which made the previous songs notable is a dull light. Nevertheless the song makes for an evocative companion before the sturdier slightly antagonistic House of Pain brings its muscular body and rhythmic caging to bear on thoughts and emotions. The song is an instantly accessible pleasure with bass and drums again stealing the limelight before the stylish skill and colour of guitar takes its fair share of the spoils. With a chorus quite incendiary on the passions the track makes for a gripping incitement which is hard to say is equalled by the cover of Heartbreak Hotel which comes straight after. The song is a mixed bag and leaves thoughts undecided. Certainly the fact that the band turns it into their own song rather than producing just a straight a cover is commendable and very pleasing but it feels like something is missing, a vital ingredient to pull all their ideas into the gem it threatens but fails ultimately to be.
Another Night in London makes for a very easy to immerse in stroll whilst the lively and boisterous Knave Of Hearts romps with feisty intent and gripping invention to steal best track honours with ease. It arguably marks a more adventurous turn in the album with the excellent Forever unleashing emotive guitar expression and skilful rhythmic enticement alongside a similarly potent vocal lure. Goodnight LA is a paler and predictable if admittedly very decent meat between the previous slice of quality and the following pair of Somewhere and the sultry Queen Of Dreams. The first of the two is a hazy breeze of evocative sonic hues and spicy melodies which cradles thoughts and emotions bewitchingly whilst the second of the two soaks the ears in a warm melodic embrace clad in a smouldering glaze of sonic temptation.
With bonus track Heart Of The Rock rigorously and enjoyably bringing the album to a close, Scream Arena has provided a weighty persuasion which marks out their potential in lively colour. It is not a powerfully dramatic introduction to the York based band but certainly leaves no doubts that they are upon a potent ascent.
The Scream Arena album is available now via Mighty Music.
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