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Cirkus Voodooland album cover
3.90 | 20 ratings | 2 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. How to Kill (7:54)
2. Sidewalk Steam (8:49)
3. Arrival (9:02)
4. Blind Parade (9:31)
5. Sandcastle (6:57)
6. Catch the Beast (7:07)
7. Like a God (9:23)
8. Masterlord (11:29)

Total Time 70:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Alain Proulx / bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, lead & backing vocals
- Serge Doucet / 6- & 12-string guitars
- C. Lucas Proulx / lead & backing vocals
- Guénille / chimes & noises of all kinds

- Martin Vincent / drums, 12-string guitar

Releases information

Label: Self-released
Format: CD, Digital
August 1, 2019

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CIRKUS Voodooland ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

CIRKUS Voodooland reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Cirkus is a Symphonic Prog band from Quebec, Canada founded in 2015. The band has only released 2 albums, one in 2017 and one in August of 2019 called "Voodooland". The band line-up has pretty much remained the same with lain Proulx (bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals), Serge Doucet (6 and 12 string guitars), and C. Lucas Proulx (lead and backing vocals. Also joining this core line-up this time is Guenille (chimes and noises of all kinds) and Martin Vincent (drums and 12 string guitars) who also has been touring with the band. The album is made up of 8 tracks and it has a run-time of over 70 minutes where they try to capture the energy and theatrics of the live show in long epic tracks.

The album opens with "How to Kill" (7:54) where they immediately establish their strong symphonic sound. The vocals start early on and are quite dramatic sounding sounding even more flamboyant singing in English with the strong French accent. The music moves mysteriously along and finally kicks in with steady, moderate rhythm, a heavier guitar base and a great level of melodious music. The guitar takes over with a nice solo backed by the cinematic sounds. Vocals return before 5 minutes, this time with a lower register vocal singing along at parts. The guitar lead takes over again after 6 minutes, this time joined by a counter musical line from the synth. The dramatic sound returns before the ending to close it off with flourish. "Sidewalk Steam" (8:49) begins with a running piano pattern, guitar and tonal percussion with the symphonic effects of the synths joining in later. Soon the smoothness breaks up with a progressive flair and then things go slow and emotional when the vocals come in. A lovely melody with heavy synth backing emerges, with just enough vocal variance to not sound overly polished. The guitar brings back a fuller sound and then the drums come back in anchoring everything. The vocals come in to match the forward movement of the track. The music continues as progressive style riffs create a bit of tension. The music suddenly slows and becomes pensive in the last minute.

"Arrival" (9:02) begins with a slow, heavy beat and layered vocal effects. The piano comes in to soften things up a bit. Vocals and a more upbeat sound begin after a minute with it all backed by a heavy organ. At 3 minutes, the guitar leads with a pizzicato sound in the string effects and this bridges to the next section with goes back to a heavier beat. This continued interchange from slow to moderate tempo continues to change back and forth as vocal and instrumental sections also take turns. At 5 minutes, a nice cinematic section starts and continues to build with a lot of synth and keys, dramatic drumming and so on. This track definitely stresses a more progressive sound as the themes are less repetitive and the lyrics take on a more storytelling style. Definitely a strong and standout track.

"Blind Parade" (9:31) starts right off with vocals and a march-like rhythm and a strong lilt provided by string effects. The shakiness of the vocals, and the wandering in and out of being "in-tune" is more apparent in this track, but I think it all works in the bands favor so as to not sound overly polished. It does carry a bit of charm to the music, but at times it can be more noticeable than others. At 3 minutes, a nice, smooth guitar solo comes in with airy synths, almost sounding like a mellotron in parts. At 4 minutes, the music becomes softer and pensive as the organ slowly pumps out an almost-calliope style. More intensity returns at 6 minutes and the faster rhythm returns along with the melody from the first. "Sandcastle" (6:58) also begins with vocals right away, this time, though, they take quick, deep growling dives and quickly emerge back to normal. It is a strange, yet unique sound. Before the 3 minute mark, things smooth out more as the vocals stop their strange diving tricks. The track is lyrically heavy and the melody is not immediately apparent. A guitar solo settles in at 5 minutes backed by more symphonic effects.

"Catch the Beast" (7:07) is probably the least interesting track of the bunch, as the smoothness of the beat and synths almost start to sound like a bad disco song. Not much really happens on this track that remains with the listener for long. "Like a God (9:23) is more promising however, as it goes for a more emotional and cinematic sound, which is what the band is better at, and the vocals almost take on a live theatrical performance sound. At 4 minutes, a steady rhythm kicks in and the track becomes smoother, but the vocals are almost consistently out of tune on this one, making it hard to take as seriously as the atmosphere of the track wants it to be. This would be a really great track, except the vocals just don't cut it on this track. However, the instrumentation is quite stirring.

"Masterplan" (11:29) begins with another lovely melody and quiet keyboard-led start. Even the vocals are better on this one. The beat picks up just before the 2 minute mark and the vocals become more theatrical when both vocalists start to sing. After 4 minutes, the sound becomes more orchestral, but this is all done by synths. The mood shifts again and the storytelling vibe becomes apparent again. The track later shows off some folk elements with a jaunty melody which later moves to an instrumental section with woodwind effects. The song goes into another, heavier direction before 8 minutes as string effects and a heavy organ take over an interlude. This builds to a nice climax, then mellows right out with an electric piano. Nice contrast. The vocals and symphonic syths suddenly return as the main theme returns. Another excellent track, and so the album closes on a strong performance.

The biggest complaint I have is that at times, the vocals sound a bit too out-of-tune and can be annoying. This problem is very apparent on some tracks, while not so much on others when they only slip out of tune for a few seconds. The instrumentation makes up for the short mishaps. It would seem maybe one of the vocalists is more off-key than the other, but I'm not sure which one has the biggest problem. The music itself is very good however, and definitely cinematic and symphonic. The songs themselves are great with a lot of progressive passages, tempo, meter and mood changes within most every song. The musicianship is at a very high-level, and unfortunately, the vocals contrast that to the extreme on a few of the tracks. There are some excellent highs on this album especially in "Arrival" and "Masterlord", but there are some definite lows like on "Sandcastle" and "Catch the Beast". "Like a God" is almost a high, but the vocals are too far off. Anyway, it is a pretty good album, and actually stretches into a 4 star album, but some of the vocals weaken the overall sound to where it teeters into a lower rating. It's worth listening to, but I would hope that some of the weaknesses disappear on the next venture.

Latest members reviews

5 stars CIRKUS is a Progressive Symphonic music group from Quebec City of Trois-Rivières in Canada, and has just released their second album, "Voodooland". After a rather successful first outing in 2017 with Wild Dogs, here is a galette that promises us some good surprises to be enjoyed without moderation. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2305770) | Posted by RelayerFr | Friday, January 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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