The third album of the Norwegian prog rockers of Airbag is again a must have for devotees of melodious progressive rock in the vein of Pink Floyd and Marillion. Airbag's previous album All Rights Removed (2011, see review) was a more relaxed album, while this new one with the daring title The Greatest Show On Earth is considerably heavier. A good example of this heavier side can be heard in the song Redemption, which features a dominant heavy guitar riff by Bjørn Riis. The music on this album is far from original, as clear influences of bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion, Anathema and Porcupine Tree can be noticed. This means that being a listener you won't be surprised by the songs since they all sound 'familiar'.
In my opinion the weakest link on The Greatest Show On Earth is the vocal performance of singer Asle Tostrup, as it is extremely predictable. However, the guitar solos and the 'heavy' keyboard layers are extremely well-played. They sound absolutely amazing making this album really interesting for prog lovers. My highlight is without doubt the epic piece Surveillance, parts 2-3 with a playing time of more than sixteen minutes. It has everything that makes a progressive rock song worth listening to. Check it out!
If you like the two previous albums of Airbag, then you can buy this one without hesitation. My advice is: listen to The Greatest Show On Earth with your headphones on; it will sound better still and blow you away!
***+ Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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