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Savage Circus: Dreamland Manor

What started out as a side project for former Blind Guardian drummer Thomen Stauch became a permanent gig in the form of a 1st CD release by the newly formed Savage Circus, Dreamland Manor. Stauch was looking to drift slightly away from Blind Guardian's more melodic style to a more straightforward metal approach with Savage Circus, and boy did he score major points here. While Dreamland Manor still possesses some of Blind Guardian's melodic approaches, this CD is what I envisioned the perfect Blind Guardian CD to be, less melody, and a lot of great Euro power metal.

Joining Thomen Stauch are Emil Norberg (guitar) and Jens Carlsson (vocals) from the Swedish band Persuader, as well as long time friend and guitarist Piet Sielck. While Jens sounds a lot like former Stauch bandmate Hansi Kursch (I'll admit I did a double take), he fills the frontman roll very nicely with his excellent range. As for the guitar work, it was definitely a pleasant surprise, as it helped make this release as enjoyable as some of Symphony X's better works.

As for the songs on this CD, there is not one weak moment overall. The 1st 4 tracks are all highlights for me. I have to admit that I actually caught myself humming tracks like "Between the Devil and the Seas" and "Waltz of the Demon" to myself at work over the last few days. The CD itself clocks in at 57 minutes, so there is plenty of good power metal to go around. Definitely a 2006 release highlight for me.

Track Listing
1. Evil Eyes
2. Between The Devil And The Seas
3. Waltz Of The Demon
4. Tomorrowland
5. It The Gathering
6. Beyond Reality
7. When Hell Awakes
8. Ghost Story
9. Born Again By The Night

Added: May 30th 2006
Reviewer: Jack Toledano
Related Link: Savage Circus Website
Hits: 5110
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Savage Circus: Dreamland Manor
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-30 13:37:44
My Score:

Dreamland Manor could almost be a Blind Guardian album: There are the grand musical and lyrical themes of mysticism, the Hansi Kursch sound-alike vocals from Jens Carlsson and the over-the-top production. It's no surprise, then, that the brainchild behind Savage Circus is drummer Thomen Stauch, formerly of Blind Guardian. Some fans may argue that this debut throwback to classic albums like Tales From the Twilight World and Imaginations From the Other Side is actually better than a new Blind Guardian record. That's up to listeners to decide. But I will say this: Savage Circus has made a compelling power-metal album with the ability to excite listeners even after repeated spins. That, my friends, doesn't happen too much anymore in an overcrowded market.

The opening one-two-three punch of "Evil Eyes," "Between the Devil and the Seas" and "Waltz of the Demon" proves that these metal warriors mean business, and even later tracks like the overly aggressive "When Hell Awakes" and the creepy "Ghost Story" hold up. Meanwhile, the ballad "Beyond Reality," arriving six songs into this nine-song set, offers listeners a much-needed reprieve from the manic vocals, exhausting guitar solos and pure bombast of the previous five tracks. These guys should blow the roof off of Earthlink LIVE at ProgPower USA VII in Atlanta this fall.

» Reader Comments:

Savage Circus: Dreamland Manor
Posted by Alexis on 2006-06-09 08:43:59
My Score:

This is a very good Blind Guardian album. To my ears, it sounds EXACTLY like Blind Guardian, although it's a tiny bit more aggressive than BG's latest albums. I mean, even the vocalist sounds like a Hansi clone. I think the similarity in the music when compared to the drummer's former band is much more than when you compare bands formed by other former bandmates, as in Helloween - Gamma Ray or Angra - Shaman, for example. So, if you like BG, you definitely need to get this album, since the musical product is quite good. In fact, you can have some fun by trying to trick your friends into thinking this is the new BG album.

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