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A.C.T

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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A.C.T biography
A.C.T is a very popular and well-known modern progressive rock band from Sweden, having released music since 1999. They have evolved into a respectable band that has had more than a decent impact; more impressive, however, it how their songwriting and style gets better with every album. The band's musical style is eclectic, but also keen to a lot of influences, some (like QUEEN, SAGA, SUPERTRAMP, MUSE, RUSH, DREAM THEATER or ELO) being largely accepted, others (like IT BITES, ZAPPA or STYX) being more particular, and some (like GENESIS, KANSAS, JETHRO TULL, TOTO or the BEATLES) being much superficial.

The band, initially under Ola ANDERSSON on guitars, Tomas ERLANDSSON on drums, Jens APPELGREN on vocals and Jerry SAHLIN on both keyboards and drums, was created out of friendly discussions and leisure musical sessions and was named FAIRYLAND. During the entire rehearsals and the eventful years of playing and discovering their outfit, the line-up saw some changes, APPELGREN departing and three new musicians joining in: Simon NIKLASSON on bass and dynamic writing, later Peter ASP as guitarist/bassist, and Herman SAMING as vocalist, often leading the charm and lucky good impression of A.C.T's clear crystal voice. In 1995, at the suggestion of Jerry SAHLIN, FAIRYLAND finally changed into A.C.T, both in name and in perspective. Taking on a new musical direction, A.C.T went all the way to a finale at a local competition, "Musik Direkt" - which gave them the opportunity to make some demos. The next year, they were favorites all the way to the grand finale in Stockholm, where losing the competition was a small setback compared to the fame and good spirit they've witnessed since.

A.C.T are as good and exciting on stage as they are profound in the studio. They opened for a lot of good artists, like Yngwie MALMSTEEN, FISH or SAGA. Their modern or progressive relation is stable both in a popular and well-supported way.

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Circus PandemoniumCircus Pandemonium
Import
Actworld
Audio CD$21.77
A.C.T - Circus Pandemonium [Japan CD] MICP-11137A.C.T - Circus Pandemonium [Japan CD] MICP-11137
Victor Japan
Audio CD$30.57
$19.47 (used)
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T.R.A.C/T.R.A.C. - THE NETWORK - NEW CD US $9.14 Buy It Now 4 days
A.C.T-CIRCUS PANDEMONIUM-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F83 US $30.99 Buy It Now 5 days
F.A.C.T. 2: Future Alliance of Communication & Tecknology, Vol. 2 by Carl Cox... US $0.99 [0 bids]
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A. C. T. - "Silence" CD 2006 1st GERMAN PROMO ONLY + BIO ORIG w/Multimedia Bonus US $24.88 Buy It Now 9 days
A.C.T. Today's Report JAPAN Avalon CD 2001 Near Mint ! Worldwide Free Shipping ! US $25.25 Buy It Now 10 days
Carl Cox F.A.C.T Australian Trance Techno 2 CD US $18.67 Buy It Now 12 days
Various Artists : Carl Cox - F.a.C.T 2 (2CDs) (1999) US $10.00 Buy It Now 13 days
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CARL COX F.A.C.T. AUSTRALIA II A GLOBAL TOUR MUSIC 2CD US $32.16 Buy It Now 16 days
A.C.T Circus Pandemonium JAPAN CD WITH BONUS TRACK US $31.80 Buy It Now 17 days
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A.C.T. - SILENCE [A.C.T.] - NEW CD US $16.10 Buy It Now 20 days
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CARL COX - F.A.C.T 2 - 2xCD Techno Classic Fact 1997 Dave Clarke Underworld PVD US $16.79 Buy It Now 21 days
A.C.T. Circus Pandemonium CD+1 JAPAN Import 2014 MINT US $19.99 Buy It Now 25 days
Carl Cox - F.A.C.T. - CD 1 - RARE Original 1995 UK REACT CD1 56 Trance Techno US $3.49 Buy It Now 27 days
A.C.T. - Imaginary Friends (CD, 2003, CD-Maximum LTD, Russia) US $12.99 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T. - Silence (CD, 2006, Insideout Music, Germany) US $15.99 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T. - Today's Report (CD, 1999, MTM Music, Germany) UPC #4001617515228 US $12.99 Buy It Now 28 days

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A.C.T shows & tickets


  • Progressive Circus on 26 Apr 2014
  • Headway Festival 2014 dag 1 on 3 May 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Headway Festival 2014 dag 2 on 4 May 2014 - CANCELLED
  • A.C.T at Bryggarsalen, Stockholm on 16 May 2014
  • A.C.T at MX Rockbar, Alingsås on 17 May 2014

A.C.T discography


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A.C.T top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 98 ratings
Today's Report
1999
4.10 | 112 ratings
Imaginary Friends
2001
4.12 | 203 ratings
Last Epic
2003
3.49 | 108 ratings
Silence
2006
3.80 | 75 ratings
Circus Pandemonium
2014

A.C.T Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A.C.T Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

A.C.T Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A.C.T Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 6 ratings
[The Early Recordings]
2002

A.C.T Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.80 | 75 ratings

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Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars The Show Must Go On

So after a lengthy break of eight years, Swedish heavy prog band A.C.T have finally released a new piece of music, their fifth album, Circus Pandemonium. I found A.C.T through their critically acclaimed 2003 album Last Epic, a ridiculous and fun record, coming equally from rock opera and the bombast of a stage show as it was from progressive rock and metal. The album was hardly a groundbreaking one, but it was impossibly catchy, and actually incredibly unique ' I can't really think of another record with that kind of eccentricity and catchiness in progressive music, although recently Incura have been tackling a similar style (albeit with more of an alternative approach than progressive). A.C.T were not a huge classic band, but they were the sort that were definitely missed in their absence.

So with this new album, Circus Pandemonium, I guess I have to report some good news, and some bad news. And oddly, both happen to be the same thing ' this album is more or less A.C.T doing what A.C.T have done. I can't speak for any of the other A.C.T albums, since Last Epic is the only one I knew before this, but this is more or less the same style, more or less the same melodies and more or less the same excellent fun. Some people will rejoice to this ' this album is as accomplished as Last Epic and basically just as good, and some people honestly don't care if two albums sound the same. I know every single fan of 'djent' nodded their head in unison. But others will realise that this really is A.C.T writing on autopilot, with the same style and the same mindset. On this album, as the title suggests, we have the inclusion of some circus-style music, including influences from dark cabaret and different areas of stage theatrics. But realistically, when has A.C.T's music in the past not sounded like a carnival?

I don't really mind the continuation of the older style myself, because as I said, this is just as consistent as Last Epic, and the simple fact is that A.C.T's sound is so unique in the first place, that them playing the same thing isn't really going to make me mind. The melodies here are just as ridiculously as fun and just as memorable, particularly the infectious choruses of opener 'The End' and 'Manager's Wish'. The energy throughout the record is also unparalleled, using fantastic dynamics in a similar way that a stage show would, particularly in the first few tracks here. But although these first few songs on the album all have pretty stellar melodies, I do actually think that they all run a bit long, especially since they rely so much on the one catchy chorus melody, and no matter how catchy a chorus, its charm dies after a few repeats. As much as I enjoy the hook 'A Truly Gifted Man', it really starts to grate after a while, and it has the sort of tonality that would make me go insane if I heard it too much.

But then on the tracks in the middle of the album, the band go in the opposite direction, and we have a string of five shorter tracks, with only two of them really having any real musical substance ' the ridiculous and Bungle-esque 'Look at the Freak', and the rather sweet (although a bit clich') 'A Mother's Love'. The rest of the tracks are all story-building ones, giving us a bit of an insight into the characters and plot of this album, which seems to be about a circus freak with no tongue and an evil circus manager and a girl who tries to save him, and I can already feel everyone rolling their eyes. I honestly wish the story had been left to the background of this album, since it's so completely clich'd and contains so many archaic plot devices. 'A Mother's Love', as well as a couple of the other rock-opera styled tracks, has a massive Ayreon vibe, mostly due to the way the lyrics are sung, and the use of multiple vocalists. Although the melody on this is better than anything Arjen has written in years, I still can't shake the clich', and the notion that the lyrics feel simply like sung dialogue, making the lyrics pretty weak (ever heard of poetic dialogue?), but also meaning the melodies come second to the story, and when the story is this bad, you don't really want that.

In the end, Circus Pandemonium is certainly a good addition to the A.C.T catalogue, and long- term fans will certainly be glad for their return, but this really breaks nothing new for the band, and is basically as we should expect from them. Although I've said that this is pretty much on the same level as Last Epic, I would still return to that more than I will to this, since I feel a bit of the clich' and cheesy carnival parts of this album detract from the music, and the melodies aren't quite as good. It's still a solid record, however, and if you are looking for some bombastic and energetic circus-rock-opera-metal, (and you've already heard Incura enough), then this is a must-have.

7.0

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.80 | 75 ratings

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Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars I have, after some writings about it, listened to the Swedish band A.C.T.'s fifth and latest record "Circus Pandemonium". You can't hear that the band is Swedish because they sing in English, so they could have been American or whatever. The band hasn't made a record for some years and now 2014 this is released with Thomas Lejon on drums, Herman Saming on vocals, Peter Asp on bass, Ola Andersson on guitars and Jerry Sahlin on synthesizers.

The cover is frightening but colourful and strong. It seems to display an evil circus trainefr and a poor freak, who is chained on the ground. That motive also is a theme on this concept record. My version of the album doesn't have marks between the different songs so I experienced it such a whole. Some of the passages on this record are really worth hearing. Sometimes the keyboard work is splendid or at least recognizible for prog fans and for example "The End" which nearly starts the record is borth catchy and clever. The vocals on this album are qualitative and varied. Parts of it is like a musical where a woman tries to defend "a freak" from an evil(stereotypical) circus manager. The record is over all well produced and I like it's theme. Many sole songs too are worth hearing at least once.

Though are there a lot of features I don't really like. The album is too heavy for me. I don't often find meaning for its heavyness. A bit too vociferous for me is is as I would consider it. I have also hard to hear originality. This album is good, but not exactly in my style. Three stars!

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 Today's Report by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.93 | 98 ratings

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Today's Report
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars This is ACT's first album. Funny that I review it the last. This is their most eclectic release, and probably less flirtations with metal here. It's basically anything goes approach - they mix rock with pop, light jazz, Latin music, neo-prog with its cheesy synths and prominent lead guitar lines, some electronic keyboard loops, even some biting social commentary. The last part of the album is made up in a typical ACT fashion of a loosely connected suite of humorous vignettes. And it's all delivered with welcome punch. Do ACT hold potential to cross over from eclectic prog to, well, crossover prog? I would certainly wish so, but probably the answer is no. They are catchy, for sure, just too heavy and technical for the pop crowd, and not enough metal for the metal crowd. So, what's left is us, aging prog dudes.

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 Imaginary Friends by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.10 | 112 ratings

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Imaginary Friends
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars ACT is a fun-loving and disco-loving hard rock, sometimes metal band from Sweden. And with songs such as Hippest Flop (or, Hip Pest Flop, as sometimes I've seen this title written) and She.Male how could you not be fun? OK, sometimes they're serious. But mostly they love good melodic hooks. They also tend to abruptly switch between heavier and more poppy, sometimes borderline saccharine, keyboard-led sections, often within the same verse. That might seem really progressive, or jarring, depending on your point of view. What detracts me slightly from Imaginary Friends is the dirty, cavernous guitar sound, coming across as if someone turned on the surround option on an 90s boom box. But hey, ACT is the only band me and my wife can listen to together, and for that I am grateful.

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 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.80 | 75 ratings

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Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars ACT is backt! After an 8-year silence since their last album, Silence. Their goofy faces (as in their photo on this site) should in the encyplopaedia under eclectic prog. I define their style as Broadway heavy music, or a metal band indulging their Queen, disco-era ELO and that funky-reggae craze many rock bands underwent at the 70-80s border, with a healthy dose of playfulness.

ACT are no strangers to the more-sinister-than-it-seems-by-the-playful-music epic concepts. In this regard, Circus is most similar to their best work, Last Epic. It's tight, well-produced (if a bit too heavy on the guitar side) and catchy as hell. But, like similar efforts - after a long wait - by popular bands such as Arena or Fates Warning, feels kinda perfunctionary. Less fresh and diverse. Evil circus must be the most overused concept in culture. Stylistically, they mostly stick to heavy power-pop here (heading into outright metal territory by the end), and instrumental jams overuse the stop-start heavy riffing- softer keyboards pattern.

Good, but they can do better.

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 Silence by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.49 | 108 ratings

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Silence
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars ACT's last-to-date album is marked by some as a further dilution of their progressiveness. This refers to the first part of the album, consisting of 10 short songs (the second half is a 20-minute quasi-suite, more on that later).

While the style mix is less eclectic (no excursions into Latin music, for example) and songs have a similar structure (intro-verse- chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-emphasized chorus), this is still quite enjoyable and unmistakably ACT with their chamber pop-metal hybrid. They are recommended by fellow Swede singer extraordinaire Tommy Karevik of Seventh Wonder, and t hats saying something.

First 10 songs are 4-minute short, but have a great variation in mood, and still pack a proggy surprise usually in a form of a bridge completely unrelated to the rest of the song. If the first half leaves you with an impression of fluffiness, the second half is dead serious. Literally - it is about a woman dying in an unhappy marriage. It contains both the band's fiercests metal riffs and saccharine melodies. But, as is the case with previous ACT suites, it is more of a suite of song fragments strung together, than a single epic. Transitions don't feel very cohesive.

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 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.12 | 203 ratings

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Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

5 stars Pop-prog-disco-metal-music theater-reggae.

This is undoubtedly ACT's best work. It's very well produced - punchy and clear, whereas the previous album had an annoyingly fuzzy guitar sound, maybe less over-produced and closer to live performance than here, but then again for a band with such lush sound ( they even have an ELO-like string section) production is key.

Another very appealing feature is the album concept. I won't get into details because I think it is very interesting to discover on your own. Suffice it to say, it's not another tortured assassin concept album. You could do a musical, or, even more fittingly, a play or sitcom around it.

ACT is one of these bands that proves its prog credentials by fusing diverse styles and switching between many parts in its songs. In first half of this album you have generally longer and rockier songs (sans the slightly wimpy Ted's ballad) and it ends with a disco- ish mini-suite of 4 shorter tracks. Some reviewers have noted that Last Epic is less proggy than Imaginary friends. Well Friends had all those changes within a song that sometimes felt abrupt and jarring. Epic is still very diverse, but the flow is more natural. And did I say how catchy it is?

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 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.12 | 203 ratings

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Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Third album from 2003 named Last epic, even has it moments of greatness is for me less intresting and convinceing, at is less progressive. Now they almost sound like a AOR band with prog leanings here and there. Again the music is up tempo with good parts, combining prog metal passages but without being a prog metal band with more bombastic parts, Imagine Saga meets Dream Theater for example. The pieces are shorter, but is a well balance between heaviness and more melodic parts. Is an ok album for me, nothing is groundbreaking here , I prefere Imaginary friends much more. 3 stars, good effert but kind far from masterpieces status.

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 Imaginary Friends by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.10 | 112 ratings

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Imaginary Friends
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A.C.T from Sweden is one of the intresting bands emerged in progressive field in last decade or so. Imaginary friends is their second album from 2001 and by far their best from all 4 albums released byt he band so far. This type of prog is so hunted by many listners in last decade, with fat sound and great ideas overall. The music is a mixed of everything with influences from Queen, Styx, bombastic arrangements and they toying even with some prog metal passages, but in the end A.C.T. is nothing but an excellent band with their own ideas and delivering a very solid album. All pieces are strong special, at least for me the first part of the album, with great guitars, nice voice and blistering musicianship.This is the type of singable release, happy atmosphere and fun to listen. 4 stars easy, definetly thir most complete album.

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 Imaginary Friends by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.10 | 112 ratings

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Imaginary Friends
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars What makes me like A.C.T so much is their unique blending of styles.

Since I listened to their debut Today's Report, I've payed more and more attention, cause they're Progressive Metal, but they aren't, they're AOR, but they aren't, they're are classic Prog Rock, but they aren't.

THAT makes them interesting, you can see a heavy riff AND a violin, like in 'A Supposed Tour'. You have all these pop melodies all around, and Herman Saming vocals are unique!

I guess they have a unique sound in general, I, at least, don't know any other band that looks like them!

It's good to see they are recording a new album right now as I'm writting this little review.

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