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Circus Maximus/ Imminent Sonic Destruction/ Ascendia

Date: 9/5/16
Venue: Webster Hall, Manhattan, NYC
Report By: Rich Catino


Ascendia had more in common with Circus Maximus, on the road for a few dates in support of the debut album “The Lion And The Jester”, before played the esteemed ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, GA. Single ‘Faded Away’ is a good example how the band combines modern guitar riffs and rhythms with smooth melodic vocals for the verses and chorus, while ‘No More Tales To Tell’ is a little harder hitting and edgy, still including melodic passages with the riffing and backing keyboards. The voice always remains strong and manly, working to their advantage for a solid cover of Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’.

Imminent Sonic Destruction are different, just the lead singer’s fashion sense alone – sweater vest over a long sleeve button down shirt, dressed more for a yuppie social country club event than a prog metal show, but that’s actually what they play. Rest of the band a little more rock n roll with t shirts, one of the four guys with long hair. But, what matters is the music, and Imminent Sonic Destruction live up their name including these Meshuggah type blasts of aggression and grooves (moments of guttural vocal) amongst very calm and soothing very Fates Warning –esque passages. It’s like a bipolar personality coming through music. See the song ‘Breaking Through’. Out in support of their latest album ‘Triumphia”, at nine minutes, ‘The Fog’ is still one of their more song oriented arrangements - a purposeful inclusion of the piano, nicely merges there aggressive and slower chunkier riffing, soloing, with melodic side between the harder hitting verses and the chorus.

Circus Maximus now have out four albums, and taking nothing away from the last two - the first two I highly recommend for fans of 90s Queensryche meets Dream Theater. Glad they played ‘Sin’, ‘Alive’, and ‘Glory of the Empire’ from “The First Chapter”– was hoping for the excellent ‘The Prophecy’ too, maybe next time. The title track from the latest album “Havoc” is obviously more rhythmic, industrial, and even Marilyn Mansonish in style in how that vocal (and backing) are delivered, the keyboards, still a solo in included amongst the contemporary grinding of the riffs. ‘Architect Of Fortune’, from the 2012 album “Nine” is more dark and moody, while ‘Arrival Of Love’ is more in the vein of their first album and melodic prog metal stylings, with singer Michael Eriksen’s vocal on top and penetrating throughout the venue. ‘A Darkened Mind’ shows off more of their musicianship, with breaks in verses to let the vocal again come through.

For these Norwegians first time in America doing some dates Circus has a good fan base so far almost filling the room in the studio room which holds a couple hundred people.

Circus Maximus Setlist:
A Darkened Mind
Glory of The Empire
Arrival of Love
Highest Bitter
Architect of Fortune
I Am
Alive v Ultimate Sacrifice
Game of Life


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