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Shadow Circus - Whispers And Screams CD (album) cover


Shadow Circus


Symphonic Prog

3.80 | 90 ratings

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4 stars US band Shadow Circus was initially founded as the solo vehicle of composer and guitarist John Fontana, which over time evolved into a full-fledged band project. Their debut effort "Welcome to the Freakroom" was released in 2006. "Whispers and Screams" is their sophomore effort, and was issued in 2009.

When describing this album, one of the vital aspects of this production is that it is very much an effort consisting of two rather different halves. The first of these is a mammoth composition clocking in at the half hour mark, divided into seven parts each taking up one slot in the tracklist. Eclectic in nature, this many-faceted construction opens with the sinister Captain Trips, a track residing somewhere between The Flower Kings and Deep Purple in stylistic expression but with dark undercurrents and arrangements adding a rather unique identity to this endeavour. From this opening number to the final part Coming Back Home, a tune that should bring a smile to the face of any dedicated Procol Harum fan, Shadow Circus twist and turn their way through musical landscapes deep set in art rock territories. Most intriguing of these the atmospheric, ominous Irish and country inspired The Horsemen Ride, showcasing just how haunting and sinister folk inspired songs can be with the right arrangements.

The remaining songs on this disc isn't as interesting as far as I'm concerned, pleasing efforts closer to vintage symphonic progressive rock in style. Well made and well performed efforts, but not managing to inspire beyond that level. Final effort ...Then in July the Thunder Came ends the CD on a high note though - or perhaps one might say a dark and sinister one - featuring dark string and synth arrangements and subtle dramatics in a cinematic instrumental number laden with a rich and distinct atmosphere.

All in all a good second effort by this band, bordering on solid, with a few moments of sheer brilliance that should interest most people with a soft spot for the progressive rock universe.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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