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Flying Circus: Flying Circus (Best Of)

This 30 year anniversary re-recored retrospective from German progressive rock outfit Flying Circus couldn’t have been any better timed as far as I’m concerned, what with me only previously having sampled their short Ones And Zeros release back in 2013. Admittedly, across those years Flying Circus have hardly been prolific, with (I believe) only five full length albums to their name. My previous and limited experience with the band revealed them to be a 70s inspired hard rock outfit with strong prog leanings. However, this excellent fifteen track retrospective, which finds all bar one new song and a couple from 2020’s 1968 album all being re-recorded by the band’s current line-up, is undeniably prog and no mistake. Vocally Michael Dorp almost immediately reminds of Damian Wilson (Arena, Threshold and Rick Wakeman), with a similarly strong but fragile attack suiting this varied prog attack perfectly.

It really should be no surprise given the period of time this collection of songs covers that many styles within the prog framework are explored - symphonic, rock, Middle Eastern, pop and so on - however, the clever decision to re-record nearly all of the music gives this collection a much more ‘album feel’ than most compilations could hope for.

From the hard rock push and keyboard surge of “The Edge Of The World” to the Middle Eastern swirl and shimmer of “Seasons”, the quality remains high throughout, with the keyboard and occasional violin work from Rudiger Blomer exemplary in any setting, while guitarist Michael Rick is just as comfortable hammering out bulging riffs as he is the almost Latin inflected infection of “The Hope We Had (In 1968)”. Add in the near avant-garde of the violin fuelled, chant driven “Cut It Deep” and the beautiful “Follow The Empress” where Dorp’s vocals really are quite something, and not only is the eclecticism welcome, but it’s expertly handled. New cut, “Dystopia”, which certainly seems to be relating to recent world events and then some, illustrates perfectly, that as age and experience become unavoidable factors in this band’s make-up, there’s no desire to compromise or ease off, such is the harsh, intricate impact.

From the smooth and mellow, almost Santana like “Fire (I Wanna Go)” to the Irish jig and classical violin of “Derry”, there’s something new and interesting to discover at every turn and Flying Circus are undoubtedly capable of handling it all. As compilation albums go this self titled offering is really very impressive and while, at this stage, I can’t guarantee that the band’s entire body of work is up to this standard, I’m certainly inspired to find out.

Track Listing
1. The World Is Mine (8:37)
2. Dystopia (3:40)
3. Fire (I Wanna Go) (5:20)
4. Seasons (6:52)
5. Bedevere’s Wake (6:13)
6. Cut It Deep (3:25)
7. Derry (1:59)
8. Follow the Empress (5:16)
9. Carpe Noctem (4:58)
10. Living a Lie (4:05)
11. The Hopes We Had (in 1968) (6:48)
12. Voices in the Rain (5:16)
13. Pride of Creation (4:45)
14. The Edge of the World (7:05)
15. The Jewel City (5:26)

Added: August 6th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Flying Circus online
Hits: 1154
Language: english

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