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Cirkus - III - Pantomyme CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.17 | 9 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars i recently won this off ebay in a most fortunate fashion. Let me explain during the early 2000 I was downloading like crazy. One song off those sessions is Letter to Simone, which is a true gem. Thus began my hunt for this album, which is a bit tough. Imagine you type the band name in ebay, the closest results are usually an album by King Crimson. Searching for the album title doesn't help much also.

then out of the blue, in one of a follow-up email listing "more from this seller" this just shows up there, as cheap as around 3GBP. nobody might have looked for it and bid for it. Of course a used copy on Amazon is on sale for 69USD, so this is a great bargain for me.

As there has been no review from this elusive album, I will try to do this in song-by-song.

Overall, I found this album a missed effort. The sounds are too 80s AOR for me. Actually 1998 gave us magnficent albums like Arena's the Visitor or Tubular Bells III, i found it hard to believe a highly acclaimed band like Cirkus would be doing something like this in the year when Van Halen is led by Gary Cherone, Coldplay is formed, Bruce Dickinson walks off from Iron Maiden, etc. It just sounds like it had been produced 10-15 years, shelved for the whole decade or more and released just before hte turn of the century.

Anyway, the album has some merits. There are many of brief interesting ideas that promise the guys still have it in them, unfortunately it was not developed to a ripen maturity.

Let's go through it now. Live for the Moment by Miller/Weatherburn clocking at 5.15 min, opens up with some atmospheric synths like Pink Floyd or Eloy, but instead the patches of choices sound rather cheesy. The guitar hitting the first note at 1.10 and thus ending any similarity to the said great bands. All the sounds interesting points to mid 80s Foreigners. The refrain part is catchy, but too poppy for me, with some synth fill-ins that sound that they are from the 80s. The chord progression, the riffs, and the song structure are commercial uplifting pop song.

No Fun by McDade (3.53 min) a harder-rocking AOR. The vocal harmonies just is just too torturing for me. Drums are too loud in the mix (true the drummer writes this song, but doesnt need to be so prominent.)

Polariod Pictures by McDade (4.33 min) sounds more reserved. intro sounds good with nice acoustic guitar solo. Mid tempo, good bass sounds and performance throughout. The chorus bit is quite pointless and forgettable. I don't like the vocal harmonies here. Spoken words after second chorus lead into a tempo change is the most interesting part in this song. Sadly it's a bit short.

Letter to Simone (5.03 min) Great ballad with good vocal perfomance. The lyrics, the song structure and the chord progression are obviously radio-single oriented, but it just works. Maybe this is biased as I've listened to this song a thousand times in the past. Nice melotron sounds also. Not sure how popular this got in the late 90s though. The solo doesn't showcase any particular musician but a good passage that is a contribution from all members here. The song nicely ends with acapella chorus, and background melotron. Next tract Fat Cat also by McDade (4.45) starts out quite interesting. Sounds almost techno music, but this is ruined by the main vocal part comes in at around 1.35. The solo has harmonica and guitar interplay, which sounds nice but a bit too thin.

The Pantomime epic (altogether 9.22 min) consists of two parts. Part 1 The End opens with pompous string section and then make way for fast strumming acoustic guitarin majestic 3/4 and vocal. Very very strong melodies here. The string section later develops into some interesting arpeggios (think of all those in Doomsday afternoon). Wonderful, if they can produce everything like this they deserve to be in Symphonic sub-genre rather. The solo is a bit long and everchanging, including good atmosphereic build up to some distorted guitar melodies, which dies down to a flute passage, before a more rocking section with panned distorted guitar and double bass drumming takes the lead.

War and Peace is the part two of the epic sounds terrible with very bad lyrics (please give me peace, peace, peace, please, etc.), but after 1.42 this sounds more interesting with a little counterpart singing. too bad they didn't develop this too much.

Art of Survival by Miller this time, at 9.52 mins long. The intro section sounds interesting with some nice details, but at least the first part upuntil mid solo at late 4 min mark is forgettable. Then a tempo change and the guitar gets to be a bit more agressive (AOR aggressive anyway). at around 7.25 there is a very interesting synth lead melody but unfortunately very brief.

Sweet Dreams by Miller/Weatherburn (6.07) is a nice lullaby in 6/8 that will put you to sleep in a synth paradise. I don't like most of the vocal harmony styles in this ablum, but this song is a good exception. The song should have ended around 4 min mark, but then it develops into something else, something very pointless and 80s-ish, that drags on for a minute and a half. the rest of the track sounds like a sample from the recording section, where the band is jamming with bluesy harmonica lead. I would love to hear this developed in full actually.

I know this will hurt the album's ratings and the fans' feelings, but I can only give it 2.5 stars at most, rounded up of course.

[edit] did I say anything about the cover art? I thought the cover art image here on PA looks like a bad scan. It obviously isn't. There's no lyrics also.

terryl | 3/5 |


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