Released: 2005, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This is another debut band signed to Frontiers Records. This Norwegian band started out in late as 2000 under the influence of Michael and the brothers Mats and Truls Haugen, Espen and Glen. Almost every member is involved with another band besides Circus Maximus. The band plays modern progressive metal with hints of melodic hard rock. Now and then the music borders into riffing heavy metal guitars and there sure are a lot of really competent musicians involved on this album because there are a lot of difficult passages to play.
The bands bio claims that the lead vocalist has similarities with Tony Harnell, Joey Tempest and Ronnie Atkins… this is totally absurd. Michael has a very melodic voice that sure fits this kind of music, but in my opinion he’s sometimes way too high up and takes on some really high notes and it wouldn’t hurt if he had used his lower voice range a bit more on this album. It was the band’s two highly rated demos that landed them a deal with Frontiers. The material to THE 1ST CHAPTER was written during last summer. They recorded the album in various studios in Norway and Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids etc) did the mixing in October at Denmark’s Jailhouse Studio. The band has done all the production work by themselves and the production is somewhat stiff.
There are 9 tracks featured on the promo album, one of them is a European bonus track called “Haunted Dreams”, a song that’s about 7 minutes long. Overall we find some very long songs on here. The title track ends at 19:07 and after that comes a track lasting 10:27. If you put such long songs on an album, you’d think that the writer had inspiration to write really ass kicking songs… Unfortunately that isn’t so here, it only feels like this album was made for the members to show off on their instruments and that somewhere along the way they forgot to write memorable music.
I can only recommend this to hardcore prog-fans out there because this is nothing you I can appreciate beyond the band’s musicianship.