Circus Maximus - Nine

(CD 2012, 57:29, Frontiers Records FR CD 557)

The tracks:
  1- Forging(1:15)
  2- Architect Of Fortune(10:11)
  3- Namaste(4:02)
  4- Game Of Life(5:00)
  5- Reach Within(4:59)
  6- I Am(4:20)
  7- Used(4:52)
  8- The One(4:00)
  9- Burn After Reading(8:48)
10- Last Goodbye(10:00)

Circus Maximus Website        myspace        Frontiers Records

Circus Maximus is a Norwegian band formed in 2000. Personally I regard them to be the new Dream Theater from the north. Especially long tracks like Architect Of Fortune, Burn After Reading and Last Goodbye are excellently composed and extremely well-played progressive metal tracks, that can easily compete with songs from Dream Theater and Symphony X. These pieces are packed with prog metal clichés like staccato riffs and hooks, melodic guitar solos, keyboard layers, romantic piano passages, strings, bombastic passages and heavenly vocals - Michael Eriksen really did a great job - but they are ever so beautiful. I really love these three tracks! The remaining seven songs are good as well, but Circus Maximus is at their best in the long tracks wherein they get room to experiment.

Game Of Life is a rather heavy track with a fast and quirky guitar solo, while Reach Within is a typical power ballad with a catchy and maybe a too sweet chorus. Used is again fairly guitar driven, up-tempo and sounds like the good old Dream Theater as well. The only 'weak' song on the album is the pop-like track I Am, which actually sounds like the Danish band Pretty Maids. However, if you listen to the three aforementioned highlights you'll probably agree with me that these guys rock and are progressive as well. I think Architect Of Fortune is one of the best prog metal songs I've heard this year, so if you like Dream Theater and Symphony X, then this album is a must. If you're not convinced then listen to Architect Of Fortune at maximum volume and you'll buy this CD without further ado. I love to see Circus Maximus on stage in the near future!

**** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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