With more than a decade as a band under their belt and now four studio albums in, Norway's Circus Maximus have steadily solidified themselves as one of the most respected bands in progressive metal. Having a solid line-up since 2005 has also helped them to craft what is now the 'Circus Maximus sound', a highly melodic but occasionally heavy mix of soaring prog rock and AOR tinged metal. Featuring the stellar cast of vocalist Michael Eriksen, guitarist Mats Haugen, drummer Truls Haugen, bassist Glen Cato Mollen, and keyboard player Lasse Finbraten, Circus Maximus once again have delivered a home run here on their latest for Frontiers Records, titled Havoc.
Four years since their stunning album Nine, Circus Maximus have not lost a step with Havoc, and have delivered another winner rich with all the characteristics we love from this band. With Eriksen at the helm, tracks like "The Weight" and "Highest Bidder" bust out of the gate with melodic grandeur, his vocals just superb, gliding over a cascade of crunchy guitar riffs and beds of symphonic keyboards. The title cut is a bit darker and heavier, almost like a head on collision between Nine Inch Nails and Fates Warning, while both "Pages" and "Flames" focus on those gorgeous vocal harmonies that the band are known for. "Loved Ones" is more of a symphonic prog ballad, and with its 8+minute length you can expect plenty of engaging keyboard tapestries and emotional vocals. A great example of addicting, melodic progressive metal can be heard on "After the Fire", another semi-lengthy track that is pure majesty from the band, Eriksen soaring to the heavens over sumptuous keys, tricky rhythms, beefy riffs, and a dazzling guitar/synth exchange near the climax. The moody yet catchy "Chivalry" has plenty of emotion and atmosphere, plus some tasty guitar solos, and the catchy "Remember" reminds a tad of Dream Theater at their most melodic, complete with some incredible vocals and layers of dense instrumentation.
What more can you say? It's another stunningly gorgeous album from Circus Maximus, a band who have proven over the course of four albums that progressive metal can be catchy, melodic, and emotional while still dazzling at the same time. Havoc is a gem folks, so rush out and experience it now!
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07.After The Fire