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The Norwegian progressive metal newcomer Circus Maximus is a welcome addition to the metal scene. Formed back in 2000, the band has honed their musicianship to the top while blending accessible vocal melodies with both melodic progressive metal tunes and ballads. The band finished the recordings of their debut album last year and got signed with the Sensory Records for American release and Frontiers Records for European release (thanks to the Danish Intromental). This is a review of the European version, which contains an exclusive bonus track "Haunted Dreams". Titled as "The 1st Chapter", the debut album of Circus Maximus starts a story, which hopefully goes on (it's such a promising album).
The music on the 1st Chapter is a blend of progressive metal and melodic metal sharing similarity to bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Queensr che, Fates Warning as well as Ayreon, TNT and even the Flower Kings. Perhaps the Dream Theater influence is most prominent, but also other influences can be clearly heard. Influences even from 70's prog-rock and pop music have been melted together with other musical styles to create that slightly unique sound of Circus Maximus. All in all, this album contains progressive music with catchy melodies, groovy rhythms as well as odd time signatures.
The sounds on this album are powerful yet atmospheric - just the way they should be. Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Wuthering Heights etc.) has once again proved his skills behind the mixing console. Also the mastering has been carried out professionally. Nonetheless, the mix could be further improved in some ways.
The 1st Chapter is a really good debut album from a promising progressive metal band Circus Maximus. Although there are few pointless gimmickry sections here and there, the overall impression of this album is really positive. I definitely recommend all listeners of progressive metal to give a listen to Circus Maximus.
Release date: May 16th, 2005
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- MAGE (May 15th, 2005)
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