the '1001 Nights' record ARABIA would undergo a serious overhaul in
personnel during 2002 with only frontman John Blaze surviving,
fast-forward to 2011 and Blaze returned to the British stages after some
ten years at this years Z Rock Festival, under the Arabia moniker once
more. Joining Blaze on stage where Vince O’Regan on guitar,
Steve McKenna on bass, Lee Morris on drums and Irvine Parratt on
keyboards and they delivered one of the sets of the day for me, they
also introduced the crowd to a few songs off the new Arabia album
‘Welcome To The Freakshow’.
album itself is a harder edged beast than the bands debut release '1001
Nights', which at the time was a fine album, but 'Welcome To The
Freakshow' is a stronger release and more fitting with today’s Hard
Rock scene. This is felt from the off with the opener and title
track ‘Welcome To The Freakshow’, a hard rockers delight that gets
started with the obligatory intro, before the full force of the track is
unleashed with a big tuned out guitar lick before Blaze unleashes a
Cooperesque vocal. Never mind 'Welcome To The Freakshow', it's
more like 'Welcome To My Nightmare'. As a big Alice Cooper fan
this one really gets the old juices flowing and there is an angst in the
vocal that AC would be well proud of.
hard rockin' continues with ‘No Place Like Home’, the intro gets
this one underway before the gentle almost sombre vocal from Blaze that
really hits home on this one. This like the opener, I heard for the
first time at Z Rocks and I was blown away then, just as I am now with
the studio versions of both these opening tracks.
album continues to impress with the stunning ‘Last Temptation’, a
real hard nosed rocker that just oozes class with its fiery licks and
thumping rhythm section. Then it’s the modern rocker ‘Strange
Days’ featuring a much darker vibe than the previous tracks.
of my favourite tracks off the album has to be meaty lick filled
‘Jesus Wept’, a real slice of Heavy Rock with the emphasis on the
Heavy, but this is ballad in comparison to the massive
‘Scarecrow’. Now here’s a monster of a track and I mean
MONSTER. This one has a Zodiac Mindwarp / Alice Cooper ‘Feed My
Frankenstein’ feel about it. Big chunky bass lines running
through it against Blaze's angst filled vocal which really brings this
monster to life.
back to the traditional Hard Rock with ‘Crush’, again big licks
drive this one ever forward, then it's time for another slice of the
darker side of Blaze with the excellent ‘Blood Runs Blind’.
This one has a kind of early Sabbathesque feel to it, right from its
heady bass and deliberate stirring riffs.
of grinding riffs ‘Beggars Bag’ is full of them. Another dark
hard rocker that leads into the album closer, the all revved-up
‘Drive’. A real pedal to the metal closer the mixes GnR with Judas
Priest. An unusual mix that works really well. This closes a
quite different album from the bands 2001 debut and a change which I
think is going to appeal to a larger audience. This is Arabia
extreme and I for one can’t wait to see Blaze return to these shores
because this album rocks big style and these songs deserve to be heard
Welcome To The Freakshow
All content copyright of The Mayfair Mall Zine unless otherwise stated.