Circus Maximus

1. Forging
2. Architect of Fortune
3. Namaste
4. Game of Life
5. Reach Within
6. I Am
7. Used
8. The One
9. Burn After Reading
10. Last Goodbye

Mike Eriksen − vocals
Mats Haugen − guitar
Glen Cato Møllen − bass
Truls Haugen − drums
Lasse Finbråten − keyboards

The 1st Chapter (2005)
Isolate (2007)



Released 1/6-2012
Reviewed 15/6-2012


The Circus Maximus (Latin for great or large circus, in Italian Circo Massimo) is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire. It measured 621 m (2,037 ft) in length and 118 m (387 ft) in width, and could accommodate about 150,000 spectators. In its fully developed form, it became the model for circuses throughout the Roman Empire. The site is now a public park.

The Circus Maximus can also be a norwegian progressive rock/metal band that debuted with the first album in 2005 and has just recently released their third album called Nine. Why it is called Nine is difficult to understand, it is not their ninth album as I have pointed out and neither has it nine tracks, there just isn’t anything in terms of nine anywhere on this album which makes the title a bit illogical. Which makes it logical for a norwegian, if you don’t understand what I am on about visit Norway and you’ll understand how stupid many things in that nation are. Circus Maximus is a clever name for a band though which is somewhat unlike norwegian, and Nine has a rather good looking album cover so expectations has to be quite high judging by that alone.

It is progressive rock or metal depending on how you want to look at it, complex and with some unexpected twists and turns but still surprisingly catchy. Many of the choruses are rather catchy and the album is rather easily accessible as well which is a bit surprising for a progressive band. The production is very polished and good and the band has a really good singer that carries the songs quite well. Not surprisingly it is a rather varied album and through the ten tracks and fifty seven minutes of music you get to hear a lot of things, some typical progressive elements like very loong self obsessed solos and pointless quiet parts and things like that, but also some parts you rather expect from the AOR genre. It is a complex beast this album called nine which is a ten track third album by this circus.

In part it falls into the same traps as many progressive metal bands do, they slow down and fall silent in parts, the music becomes very static at points and there are some pointless very long solos. Still, these are not that problematic thanks to the album as a whole being much better than that and most of the time the complexity lends itself to fascinating melodic escapades and adventures. I do think this is a very good album which I have enjoyed quite a bit although the second track is sort of pointless which puts the album on the back foot from the beginning which is a bit disappointing but the way it picks itself up is great. The band is definitely best in the shorter songs as all three of the very long songs tends to become boring quite soon and therefore they fall very short of excellence with those songs. Best is the third track Namaste and sixth I am, the last two tracks has some fantastic moments but as a whole they are not so great. But I think I can deduce that this album will be a treat for anyone into progressive music despite its flaws.

You know you could expect to hear the italian national anthem from a band with a name that entails circus as that is what that national anthem sounds like, circus music. That does not happen however, what we get is instead a well performed and in most parts excellent, easily accessible progressive metal album with a great singer and an album that I like quite a bit despite my little complaints. You should not overlook this album if you enjoy progressive music, if you do you’ll probably regret it.



Label: Frontiers Records
Three similar bands: Dream Theater/Atlantyca/Yes
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

läs på svenska