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Circus Maximus: Havoc

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!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
01.The Weight
02.Highest Bitter
06.Loved Ones
07.After The Fire

Added: June 10th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3665
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Circus Maximus: Havoc
Posted by Scott Jessup, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-06-10 20:02:20
My Score:

We certainly haven't been short changed so far in 2016 with top progressive metal albums like those winners from Redemption and Haken, and with many including our own Pete Pardo talking up the soon to be released new Fates Warning album that trend should continue. Myrath's Legacy which is still very much in the running for my album of the year is another, but they aren't as progressive metal orientated as they once were as they find more of their own sound with that symphonic/oriental styled metal. Though while still a progressive metal act Circus Maximus have also gone through some change over time taking on other influences and whist still have that technical side their songs have steered toward materiel that is much more melodically rich and catchy resulting in songs that are more easily accessible. Havoc is their latest and it's one fantastic album that is actually quite diverse, the vocals and musicianship are impressive right through to the very worthwhile bonus track "Loath" which is super cool and sounds like Circus Maximus meets Muse. No doubt this album will have some fans questioning their musical direction as I have this year with one of the other prominent progressive groups. Though while I'm probably partial to their prior releases especially those first two if Circus Maximus keep releasing albums as good as Havoc I'll still be listening that's for sure.

» Reader Comments:

Circus Maximus: Havoc
Posted by Carlos Canales Vega on 2016-10-04 08:54:58
My Score:

This is another winner album from Circus Maximus. Melodic songs full of feeling, beautifully arranged and written and expertly produced (it's clear sounding and not too loud) with just enough of their trademark musical technicality so as to keep things interesting, this is a truly rewarding listen. Definitely a must own CD!

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