Flying Circus: Back & Forth 20th Anniversary Box Set
Flying Circus formed in 1989 in Grevenbroich, Germany. Their debut album Seasons was released in 1997 followed by Out of the Waste Land (2000) and Pomp (2004). 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the band which was celebrated with the release of Forth and a second CD entitled Back, which includes thirteen re-recorded tracks originally written between 1989 and 1995.
Flying Circus play a classic brand of heavy rock with progressive, glam, psychedelic, blues and spacey touches that recall the gloriously heady days of the '70s. If you are thinking along the lines of Sweet, Led Zeppelin and Rush you would be in the right ball park. The lead vocals of Michael Dorp are an intriguing combination of Geddy Lee and Robert Plant and I suppose that is where the Zeppelin and Rush comparisons come into play. Yes, they are retro and I get the feeling they would not want it any other way. It's hard not getting nostalgic when describing these tunes but when the music is this well done who cares if they occasionally go back and revisit the past. When all is said and done this is an excellent album, retro or not.
The main disc is Forth and it is probably my favourite of the two, although Back is enjoyable as well. The album opener is "The World Is Mine" where Floyd-like synths begin the song with a cool, spacey atmosphere. Wisps of keys and dramatic effects heightens the senses as the music slowly builds. Eastern guitar melodies conjure images of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", although this song sounds nothing like the Zep classic. The drums start to pummel and the band kicks it into full gear only to slow it down again with moody keyboards and acoustic guitar. I love how the band is able to change moods so easily preventing the music from becoming stale and making a nine minute song fly by. This is not overly complicated music, but it's damn good just the same and the melodies are spot on. The goodness continues with the psychedelic "Draw the Line" featuring droning synth sounds and inspired keyboard flourishes.
The band also tackles some meaningful subject matter. In the hard hitting "Pride of Creation" Dorp singles out the racist over a backdrop of heavy riffs and spacey/psychedelic guitar interludes. "The Rope" is a poignantly beautiful song about suicide although the meaning is somewhat concealed. Sweet acoustic guitar strums and a soft lead vocal along with violin synths set a melancholic tone. The layered vocal arrangement near the end is excellent.
The second disc entitled Forth is a more harder hitting affair dominated by heavy rock and blues. The progressive touches are less but this is still a fine album of extra tracks. "The Mover" begins the album with moody guitar chords and organ; I'm thinking Gilmour and Wright, before some hard rock crunch sets in. For a heavy dose of blues rock check out "Southbound", "Just A Few Hours" and "I'll Go My Own Way" as all three have some wonderful bluesy guitar riffage.
One of my favourites is the gorgeous "Till The End Of Time" with pretty acoustic guitar and a spine tingling melody. The song slowly builds and features some fine mood shifts before ending on a mellower note.
Flying Circus have produced an excellent double disc set with Back & Forth. If you are thinking about purchasing Forth I strongly recommend this 20th anniversary addition as you get thirteen extra songs with not a dud in the bunch. Decisions don't get much easier.
1. The World Is Mine (9:25)
2. Draw the Line (4:49)
3. In Your Hands (4:05)
4. Pride of Creation (5:37)
5. In the Mo(ve)ment (6:47)
6. The Rope (4:31)
7. Mad Woman in the Attic (5:18)
8. Overload (3:21)
9. Holy Water (4:48)
10. Forever and a Day (6:14)
11. You're Waging a War (4:48)
1. The Mover (6:07)
2. Free (5:24)
3. Long Gone By (6:39)
4. Southbound (4:53)
5. Just A Few Hours (6:26)
6. Walk Away (5:57)
7. Magic Land (5:49)
8. I'll Go My Own Way (6:11)
9. Trip To Heaven (4:33)
10. Till The End Of Time (5:40)
11. The Heat Is On (5:55)
12. Roll The dice (4:06)
13. The Show Is Over (4:10)
Added: February 13th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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