CIRCUS MAXIMUS - The 1st Chapter
July 5, 2005, 14 years ago
Sometime you have to wonder where this stuff comes from. Apparently the first effort from these Norwegians, it sounds like anything but a debut. Their wares are progressive metals running a wide gamut from melodic hard rock to intensely complex prog to neck-snapping riffery. Vocalist Michael Eriksen reminds me a lot of a cross between Lance King and Symphony X man Russell Allen. There is plenty of keyboard work here, but rather than the “ballerina-metal” style, it is a swirling intense soundscape. The track ‘Alive’ is a powerhouse, with everything I mentioned and more, matching any of the best of the Dream Theater catalogue. ‘Glory Of The Empire’ starts with a classic acoustic intro and explodes into a powerful, grand spectacle of a track not more than a couple minutes later. Later the title tack will have your attention for 19 stunning minutes. Should you get the chance to see them at Progpower USA this year, you should not pass it up. An essential release, I’d go as far as to say of “desert island must have” quality.