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CIRCUS MAXIMUS Nine Frontiers (2012)

Circus Maximus

These Norwegians formed way back in 2000 as a covers band interpreting Symphony X, Dream Theater and the like. Debut album 'The 1st Chapter' was released in 2005 with follow up 'Isolate' seeing the light of day in 2007. Now in 2012, Circus Maximus return with their third album of highly complex progressive metal a la Dream Theater.

The band consists of Mike Eriksen on vocals, Mats Haugen on guitar, his brother Truls Haugen on drums, Glen Cato Møllen on bass and Lasse Finbråten on keys. They are all high technical musicians and combine well to produce some of the most memorable complex tunes this side of Dream Theater.

The production is superb with each instrument having room to breathe - nothing gets buried which is always a risk with this style of music. Special mention must be made of the wonderful vocals of Mike Eriksen - wonderful melodic style with no touch of that Scandinavian twang that is so common elsewhere in the genre.

I'm not going to single out any particular song as they are all complex numbers with so many twist and turns that you may feel a bit dizzy and need to lie down in a dark room for the next spin! If pushed however the final epic 'The Last Goodbye' gets my vote with its memorable 'I will always love you' chorus.

Pretty naff cover by the way!

A definite grower which takes several plays to get to the bottom of ... take the time with this challenging listen and you will be rewarded.


Review by Phil Berisford


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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