The 1st Chapter
(The Laser's Edge) Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1 I was under the impression that Norwegian musicians were all hateful people, whose hatred came out in the form of black metal and satanic fury. That's the first thing that makes Circus Maximus stand out - and probably makes their countrymates hate them. Although their sound is undeniably European, it's nothing like you'd expect based on their geographic home.
Blending influences from progressive, to 80's hard rock, to modern melodic metal, these artists mix up an original cocktail that sits well in the stomach. The progressive element is the most prominent, and is contributed most significantly by the keyboard sounds, which are typical of the genre, and the super-clean and range capable vocals. From song to song, and even passage to passage, the guitars add diversity to the record by bringing in the different influences. Some riffs follow progressive, chord-scaling leads that flirt with the keyboards, and these are performed in a way that is not terribly fast, technical, or overdone. Other songs, like the irresistably catchy "Sin" and the epic-natured title track, play around with the "circus"-like element, while utilizing chunkier, heavier melodic riffs to stabilize the eccentricity of the tune.
Although their progressive songs are high-quality, this release is most impressive for the songs where they break the mold and create new and exciting experiences. While definitely recommended for fans of Dream Theatre, Queensryche and such, "The 1st Chapter" may also appeal to an extended audience for their capability to incorporate more modern and original sounds.