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Shadow Circus - Rise Maxi-Single CD (album) cover

RISE MAXI-SINGLE

Shadow Circus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 9 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Rise' - Shadow Circus (Single)

Although I have often made clear my disdain for the ironically 'retro' approach of much modern progressive rock, Shadow Circus are a band that have stood out for me. Stealing my heart with their second album 'Whispers & Screams', this is a band that retains the theatrics of the classic prog, and instead of merely connecting the dots with technical precision, manages to spark something within me. Keeping in mind that there are few bands of this style nowadays that can move me, I jumped at the possibility of getting a sneak peek at the next record of Shadow Circus. 'Rise' stands within a limbo of being a sneak peek, and an independent work of its own. As a whole, it certainly does not leave the impact that a full-length might, but 'Rise' acts as a perfect appetizer for what is to come.

While most singles tend to have two songs off an upcoming album, only the b-side here is from Shadow Circus' upcoming record. The main attraction is actually an independent 'mini- epic' to give this release some original material of its own. I don't know of too many releases that follow this format, but I think it works. On top of giving me an exciting peek at a highly anticipated album, Shadow Circus makes this experience valid and even independent from any full-length. The title track makes up most of the fifteen minute length, an organ heavy piece that certainly delivers on its promise of being 'epic'. Starting off quietly at first, 'Rise' gradually builds and erupts, all the while showing off Shadow Circus' fresh sense of theatricality and quirk. The way David Bobick's vocals sound, paired with the heavy organ presence both lead to a strong Genesis comparison, but- and I rarely say this- Shadow Circus keep on their own two feet artistically speaking, taking the symphonic prog style and making it their own. 'Rise' does not tend to have the complexity and longevity that I would expect from an epic, and while it does not compare to a true suite like 'Project Blue' (off their previous record), it is a quiet reminder why Shadow Circus stands out.

'Daddy's Gone' largely feels like an afterthought after the near-ten minute 'Rise', but in a way, it delivers more promise than the main attraction. This is the sneak peek from Shadow Circus' upcoming record, a concept album based on the classic science fiction novel 'A Wrinkle In Time'. It is something of a ballad track, with Bobick's vocals once again being a highlight of the sound. Also a particular strength here are the lush vocal harmonies and melodies, while the instruments deliver performances of similar warmth. It isn't memorable in a traditional 'single' sense, but I can see this song growing as time goes on, and especially within the context of the album.

'Whispers & Screams' caused a stir back when it was released, and as 'Rise' demonstrates confidently, Shadow Circus are only building on their charm. 'Rise' is quite successful as a very small taste of what this band is about, and as I'm sure it was intended to do, it has made me excited for the upcoming full-length.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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