Circus Maximus - Nine

Circus Maximus Nine cover
Circus Maximus
Frontiers Records
Five years away from the scene are quite a long time, especially, for a band that’s on its way up. These Norwegians didn’t seem to fear of the time passed… they took it rather cool and now they’re back with - what I think is very important - their third release. And what an amazing album indeed!
Having matured throughout the years… they know how to combine the fine moments of their previous works and blend them harmonically with the pop-rock, AOR, prog rock/metal and heavy/power influences… presenting something rather personal and intriguing in the end. Circus Maximus have an explicit way of delivering their progressive yet very melodious music. Great & different kinds of bands have influenced them like: Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Shadow Gallery, A.C.T., TNT, Kamelot, Queensryche & Conception among others… but then again their music outcome is quite individual and prosperous in any way.
I can see why they have fans from diverse music styles and why the first thing that strikes someone that listens to them is their harmonic & melodic rock/metal approach. Michael Eriksen is a very distinctive vocalist, who was close to succeed Roy Khan in Kamelot… but in the end, he decided to focus on Circus Maximus. His characteristic & beautiful voice is offering another plus to Circus Maximus music and musical character. The production is excellent and powerful… possibly the best they have achieved to date.
Circus Maximus are here with supremacy & attitude like they were never away for such a long period… ready to claim what was left behind all these years. Personally, this is the progressive music that I prefer the most melodic, atmospheric, heavy, evocative & expressive. There’s no point to have long songs just for the sake of it, but when you do so, better do it wisely… just listen to “Architect of Fortune”, “Burn After Reading” & “Last Goodbye” to get my point of view. The song arrangements are beautifully done very harmonically and without overdoing it eventually. Naturally, the shorter songs here are also wonderful… “Namaste”, “Game of Life”, “Reach Within”, “I Am” & “The One” are among my favorite ones. The more spins you give it the more you will fall into its hidden allure.
The third step of the band is the best & the most successful so far and puts them back into the higher places of the prog metal map as they deserve to be. If they make the right steps from now on… then, they can become even more widely known and prosperous. “Nine” is, undeniably, among the top melodic prog metal albums of the year…