September 13, 2020

Dark Arena is an American progressive power metal band was formed originally around 1994 by guitarist Paul Konjicija (Antithesis) and they do appear to have something of a ‘dark’ past too. The original vocalist was John Marshall until his untimely death and he was briefly replaced by Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens with Owens then making way for Juan Ricardo in 1996 which coincided with the band taking on the names Arena, Arenah and ultimately Dark Arena to avoid confusion with a certain ‘European’ band with a similar name, I think we can all guess who.

They released their debut Alien Factor in 2006 Flowing Back in 2009, Ode To the Ancients in 2012 and the compilation Non Human Contact in 2013 amongst extended periods of dormancy which included numerous personnel changes. The debut, Alien Factor, is now getting a welcome re-release and those who missed out first time around can get a chance to revel in this glorious slab of American metal that fuses elements of US and British rock into a Fates Warning meets Diamond Head triumph. Juan Ricardo (Ritual/Sunless Sky/Wretch) gives an awesome performance on vocals as he screams and wails through the impressive and hard hitting collection of songs which are all so perfectly formed and delivered. Paul Konjicija, who sadly passed away last year, gives an incredible performance and shows just how stunning a guitarist he was with able support from Chris Thomas on bass, Rhiannon Wisniewski on keyboards and Emery Ceo on drums. The sound was also beefed up by the addition of guests Dale Robertson as second guitarist and Michael Siefert on organ.

This is classic metal for the new millennium but so obviously it is rooted in the greats of the ’70s and ’80s when times were so much simpler and probably better for it. This is a great opportunity to re-visit a classic metal album that still sounds as fresh and vibrant as it was when it was recorded, great fun.

Alien Factor track list

  • Freedom
  • Fear of the Night
  • Alien World
  • The Sight
  • Vicious Circle
  • Subterranean Man
  • Somewhere
  • Dark Sorrow
  • Crystallized