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Circus Maximus – Isolate

Label: Sensory
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Circus Maximus, from Norway, are one of the latest talents to emerge from the progressive metal sound. "Isolate" is their second album and thankfully builds on all the elements that made the debut "The First Chapter" so memorable, for me. Smooth rich melodic vocals (Michael Erikson reminds of Geoff Tate from Queensryche, Tommy Shaw from Styx and Michael Kiske ex Helloween) are brought forward ever so in the chorus’, ex; 'Wither'. Progressive arrangements are the core to most songs, ex; the instrumental 'Sane No More' where guitar leads bring to life the track’s title.


Now while being prog essentially, Circus Maximus do have an ear for more commercial sounds like the AOR upbeat rocker 'Arrival of Love' or the ballad 'Zero' which could have appeared on Queensryche’s “Rage For Order” given Michael’s tone. 'Mouth of Madness' contends with classic Dream Theater compositions containing a slow intro, hard progressive changes and challenging musicianship and once again Michael’s voice carries so well over the players surrounding him. The dramatic element is also done very well with the choice in keyboards and backing vocals.

Even right down to the very classy approach to the black and white photography style booklet artwork Circus Maximus package themselves as a piece of art you would see in New York City's east village.

"Isolate" is an excellent follow up to "The First Chapter". I really hope these guys find an audience so they can continue I want to see what their future holds. This album goes hand in hand sonically and musically with Threshold’s latest "Dead Reckoning".

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