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Shadow Circus - Whispers And Screams CD (album) cover

WHISPERS AND SCREAMS

Shadow Circus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 78 ratings

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TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In the '70s (according to this website), Symphonic prog ranged from everything from Yes to Genesis to Camel to ELP - sure, there were similarities, but the bands were all pretty distinctly different. Nowadays, you say "Symphonic prog" and it's pretty easy to guess what a Symphonic band will sound like. Of course, there are exceptions, but it's not quite as surprising as it was in the past.

So it is entirely refreshing to hear Symphonic prog like this, Symphonic prog that could not in any way be confused for any other band. On their second album, Shadow Circus have come into their own sound, and what a sound! It is somewhat gritty, somewhat bluesy, somewhat symphonic, and somewhat hard rock. And, as great as all the players on this album are, I find the vocals of David Bobick and the drumming of Corey Folta (which can be described as noisy, off kilter, and precise) to be perhaps the most identifiable aspects of the music.

It seems that the average length of an epic keeps on getting longer these days, and Shadow Circus' first epic, Project Blue (based on the Stephen King novel, Captain Trips) clocks in at a respectable 33 minutes. Of course, the longer an epic, the more likely it is to flounder, but luckily Shadow Circus have avoided this pitfall, Project Blue being full of interesting sections, catchy music, great instrumentation, and definitely emotion. It is split into multiple sections on the album, and really it's not too hard imagining the sections each being their own unique song at times, but they do work best as an extended piece. The highlight for me is The Horseman Ride - wow! this is an epic bit here, once again very distinctive in both the drumming and vocals, and such a build up. "No way we're going to run and hide - when darkness comes, the horseman ride." Excellent!

Project Blue is, of course, the tour de force of this album (as an good epic should be), and takes up just over half of it. Of the remaining tracks, Willoughby (based off of an episode of the Twilight Zone) is probably my favorite. It truly is an emotional piece, and while I suppose some credit for that has to go to the excellent source material they were working with, really the band just pulled this piece off excellently.

The rest of the album is alright as well, with Angel being perhaps the weakest track. Regardless, for those looking for fresh sounding symphonic rock with a big sound and great tracks, this is an album not to be missed.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |

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