CIRCUS MAXIMUS - review added 11th June 2012
Album Review: Nine (2012)
For fans of: Prog Rock/Metal
I haven't had chance to hear any Circus Maximus albums before, though singer Michael Eriksen featured on last year's Rock Realms album of the year fronting the self-titled album by The Magnificent...so you could call that a good start.
The band released their first album "The First Chapter" in 2005, followed by "Isolate" in 2007. "Nine" is the third LP, and shows a strong bent towards early Dream Theater-esque prog rock/metal. Eriksen's vocals are not unlike James LaBrie's in places, and the overall musical style - though not as deeply progressive as DT - is still very much from the same neck of the woods.
The musicianship throughout is exemplary. Everything from light rock to double kick drum metal is pumped out, with enough disparate time signatures to please all but the most hardcore prog fans. The vocals are the definite high point though. The man is so smooth and tuneful, and has such a warmth to his tone, he makes most other vocalists obsolete. Michael Eriksen is definitely one of those vocalists who could sing the phone book and sound fantastic.
The songs split the difference length-wise between normal hard rock and prog. A few are down nearer 4 minutes, with three tracks pushing 9 minutes and beyond. Whilst it is mostly the performances that carry the album, not the standard of song construction, there are fleeting moments of genius and plenty of moments of excellence. This is definitely an album to listen in one swoop, not to pick tracks from to play individually. However, the heavy 'Namaste', the twisty-turny 'Used', the occasionally grungy 'The One', and the epic 'Burn After Reading' all make a convincing case for themselves.
Amazing singing, great musicianship, and a fine overall album. A few more standout tracks wouldn't have gone amiss, but that's all. Prog, rock and metal fans should all find something to love here.
Overall (Not An Average Of The Above):
02. Architect of Fortune
04. Game of Life
05. Reach Within
06. I Am
08. The One
09. Burn After Reading
10. Last Goodbye
Michael Eriksen - Vocals
Lasse Finbråten - Keyboards
Mats Haugen - Guitars
Truls Haugen - Drums
Glen Cato Møllen - Bass