In the modern progressive rock world, releasing singles before full-length albums seems to be a good way to give your upcoming release a bit of hype and exposure before it hits shelves. Rise Maxi is a new single release from American prog rock band Shadow Circus, and it should definitely get old and new fans alike excited for their upcoming concept record. Their previous effort, Whispers and Screams, blew me away, so this new single definitely sparked my interest; it doesn't disappoint either. While not quite as essential as their full-length offerings, Rise Maxi is a good window into what the future holds for Shadow Circus.
The music on Rise Maxi is the distinct brand of heavy-tinged symphonic prog that gained Shadow Circus recognition on their first two albums. References to bands like ELP and Spock's Beard are abundant, but Shadow Circus still sounds totally original and unique. Both songs on this single are impressive from a compositional standpoint; "Rise" is an excellent mini-epic that features some mean organ licks, and "Daddy's Gone" is an equally great ballad-ish tune. Shadow Circus are a group of capable musicians with a knack for creating memorable compositions; and that's probably Rise Maxi's greatest asset. The production is a little rough around the edges, though, and I would've liked a slightly more polished sound in this case. It's not a major issue, but the production strikes me as a bit under par.
All in all, Rise Maxi is a solid release from one of America's most impressive modern prog acts, and I'll be very curious what they have up their sleeves for their upcoming concept album. In essence, this single does exactly what it needs to do; it sparks interest in its listener, and it's put me in the front of line to check out their next album. Though not essential, this is a recommendable release well-deserving of 3 stars. Considering that both tracks are available for free streaming from the band's website, there's really no reason not to give this one a shot!
1. Rise (9:57)
2. Daddy's Gone (5:32)