Friday, June 17, 2011

ARABIA: "Welcome To The Freakshow"

Rating: 7/10

Label: Z Records 2011

Review by Alan Holloway

I must confess that I never heard Arabia’s debut about ten years ago, with my sole experience of them being this years Z Rock festival, at which they pulled off a really good set. I say “they”, but Arabia 2011 is basically vocalist John Blaze and whoever happens to be onstage/in the studio with him. It matters no, though, as at Z Rock he was surrounded by some great musos that made me look forward to hearing the album, so job done.

Musically, Arabia are a melodic rock band that borrow heavily from the likes of Alice Cooper (especially the title track). There’s a lot of melody here, but teamed with a darker undercurrent, making you sing along one minute and look over your shoulder the next. The highlight of the album is the nasty and nice “Scarecrow”, a murderous five minutes helped out by an atmospheric and effective intro. I don’t know why I like this serial killer story so much, but it gives the album a nice peak in the middle, with Blaze putting as much venom and evil in his voice as he can. As I said before, Alice Cooper fans will lap this up, and it‘s going to sound awesome live. There’s even a great ballad here, “No Place Like Home”, that survives being the second track only through sheer quality.

“Welcome To the Freakshow” is a solid album, no doubt about that. It’s quite dark, but full of good choruses nonetheless. It’s unlikely to send anyone into fits of excitement, but it’s certainly well worth checking out, and I’d definitely recommend you give John Blaze and his new chums a look when they play some live dates as well.

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