|Review: Dark Arena - Alien Factor|
Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2020
Originally released in: 2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 21, 2020
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (3 Votes)
Dark Arena have been slugging it out in the underground since the '90s in one form or another, mostly without any recognition, and this is a Pure Steel Records re-release of their debut from 2006, the dark, dense, complex Alien Factor. I am glad this dropped into my queue, because not many bands make metal like this anymore, and every band that does is a treasure.
There is a line of descent from Scanner and Agent Steel, through Helstar, Steel Prophet, Onward, and modern bands like Timelord and Trial, and Dark Arena are definitely part of that bloodline. This is dense, complex music with a lot of progressive styling in the riffs and melodies, but maintaining a heavy, propulsive US-Metal sound. Add in the sci-fi themes and the high, strong vocals of Juan Ricardo, and you have the mix down exactly. If you enjoy any of the bands I listed, then I promise you will be glad to have Alien Factor in your hands.
The band is apparently very different now, with nobody who played on this album still on the roster. So I can't speak to the quality of subsequent releases or how any new stuff would sound. This album, however, is a delight, and I am glad it is being rescued from obscurity.
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