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Dead Letter Circus biography
Australian band DEAD LETTER CIRCUS was formed in 2005. Following the official folding of progressive metal band Ochre, Kim Benzie (vocals) and Stewart Hill (bass) wanted to have another go at a band project. They hooked up with Rob Maric (guitars) and Scott Davey (drums), and this new outfit was named Dead Letter Circus.

Like with Kim and Stewart's previous band Ochre, extensive live performances were given to build up interest and a fan base. In 2007 they issued the EP Dead Letter Circus, to favorable reviews. In 2008 Davey left the band, and was replaced by Luke Williams (drums). Towards the end of the year they released the single Next in Line.

2009 saw Dead Letter Circus start working on their debut album, and in the fall they released the single The Space on the Wall as a teaser for the forthcoming production. At the start of 2010 the band were given the opportunity to hold a select few gigs in the US, which also resulted in a record contract with Warner Bros Australia. Their debut album This Is The Warning was issued in May 2010, with a tour to promote the CD planned for May and June.

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The Catalyst FireThe Catalyst Fire
The End Records 2013
Audio CD$2.89
$1.46 (used)
BMG/The End Records 2015
Audio CD$6.00
$9.00 (used)
This Is The WarningThis Is The Warning
Sumerian Records 2011
Audio CD$13.33
$7.88 (used)
Stand Apart EPStand Apart EP
The End Records
Audio CD$1.76
$0.24 (used)
Next in LineNext in Line
Imports 2008
Audio CD$5.74
$5.73 (used)
Dead Letter Circus 1Dead Letter Circus 1
Imports 2014
SPV 2016
$60.00 (used)
Dead letter CircusDead letter Circus
Audio CD$16.73
$16.78 (used)
Dead Letter Circus CD EPDead Letter Circus CD EP
3 Massive
Audio CD$8.81
$1.25 (used)
This Is The Warning by Dead Letter Circus (2010-05-18)This Is The Warning by Dead Letter Circus (2010-05-18)
Audio CD$71.34
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Dead Letter Circus THIS IS THE WARNING CD/DVD USA 894587001846 Sumerian Records USD $19.97 [0 bids]
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

DEAD LETTER CIRCUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 41 ratings
This Is the Warning
3.61 | 27 ratings
The Catalyst Fire
4.00 | 11 ratings

DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DEAD LETTER CIRCUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 9 ratings
Dead Letter Circus
3.79 | 5 ratings
Wake Up
4.00 | 1 ratings
Stand Apart


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aesthesis by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 11 ratings

Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by crashandridemusic

4 stars Dead Letter Circus' latest album "Aesthesis" is more worthy of a listen than any of their prior albums.

Simply put, aesthesis is a sensation or feeling, a perfect word to describe this album. Relying more than ever on the listener's emotion, Dead Letter Circus has created an album that will set them apart from other Australian prog. Instead of the more refined, technical sound that often appears in the genre, the album is much more melodic and softer. Often driven by an acoustic sound, songs like "In Plain Sight" and "Silence" steer the band in an entirely different direction. Included are beautiful moments of electronic undertones that add depth and character to nearly every song. I am impressed with the change from this album to their previous album "The Catalyst Fire." Even the different in album titles foreshadow the change, the previous relying on a passionate listener, the current on an emotional one.

Overall, "Aesthesis" is a much more radio-friendly album than anything they've released. Continuing to use darker lyrical themes (especially the ode to sexual abuse in "Silence"), Dead Letter Circus takes a safer, subdued approach. Enlisting the help of producers who've worked with bands like Muse, Paramore, and Deftones, what results is an unsurprising shift to a lighter sonic experience. The first two songs alone prove this change, utilizing more acoustic guitar than what I've heard from their entire discography. Many of the songs are poppier than typical progressive rock, including "While You Wait," "YANA," and "Show Me." It's in these songs that singer Kim Benzie shines, with his already lighter and higher register vocals that perfectly match the upbeat nature. One of my favorite songs on this album happens to be one of its lighter, atmospheric tracks. "The Burning Number" comprises of an atmospheric introduction, containing only vocals and sound manipulation. Later, the song introduces a closed-wah pedaled rhythm guitar which emits a very hollow and deep tone that isn't heard too often in the genre. It's a very cool sounding song, one that I would love to hear live if they ever make their way to the United States.

Despite the softness of this album, "Aesthesis" still has its moments of sheer rock. That signature reverb-heavy guitar, the bombastic snare, and falsetto wails are unleashed in at least half of the tracks. Reminiscent of the dual guitar work from the band Circa Survive, guitarists Clint Vincent and Tom Skerlj perfectly compliment each other's rhythms. "The Lie We Live" contains that echoed rhythm guitar taken straight from their prior releases, while "Change The Concept" allows the listener to head bang to technical drum beats. With that throwback to that classic Dead Letter Circus sound comes my only complaint: the album is too short. Not following the stereotypical requirement of longer albums and fewer songs, "Aesthesis" is the antithesis of a progressive rock album, but still uniquely falls into the definition. I feel sharing the traditional progressive sound with the modern radio-friendly sound will result in a wider audience, though, ultimately leading to national and international recognition. When all is said and done, this move was the right one.

The album closes with a combination of the new and the old, an atmospheric yet heavy "Born (Part 2)." After moments of synthesizers and singing, clean guitar riffs engulf your ears until the song's chorus. It's here that the track becomes memorable, with its catchy lyrics, muted guitar rhythm and airy lead guitar. The final moments leave the listener satisfied and wanting more, a perfect excuse to hit the repeat button.

"Aesthesis" is definitely a hit, a softer addition to an ambitious discography. Not straying too far from who they are, fans of Dead Letter Circus will not be disappointed, and new listeners will be delighted when discovering this album.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

 The Catalyst Fire by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.61 | 27 ratings

The Catalyst Fire
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Still Searching

I feel my bitterness towards The Catalyst Fire has mostly passed by now, so it's a good time to finally address it. It's strange, I don't think anyone expected this sophomore release to have a hair against This Is the Warning, especially not me, but when it dropped I was still disappointed in it. Maybe it was the hordes of people saying that this was an improvement that rustled my jimmies a bit, to the point where I was shouting "THE CATALYST FIRE SUCKS YOU'RE ALL WRONG OMG" everywhere. So of course, I then got to the embarrassing moment when I started to enjoy this record, and I had to swallow my pride a bit and admit I did judge this a bit quickly.

But, of course, in comparison to This Is The Warning, this is a pretty pitiful record, and the only reason you could ever prefer it, in my mind, is if you heard this first. As much as Dead Letter Circus would want you to believe otherwise with their videos leading up to the album explaining how much they did differently, this is more or less the same DLC we've always known. If you're here for the instrumental part of their music, you won't be disappointed. Sure, it's missing a few of the absolutely ridiculous riffs that littered This Is The Warning, but it's still the same old delay drenched guitar playing those pretty cool lines all over the place. The difference here is in one person, the man that made This Is The Warning one of the best albums of all time, and the man who has made The Catalyst Fire one of the most frustrating follow-ups ever. Kim Benzie.

Kim's vocal parts are the best part of DLC's music. I don't know many people who deny that. Sure, those instrumentals are bloody cool, and the drums are incredibly intricate, but honestly, most of us are here to sing at the top of our lungs, not listen to drumming and comment on the use of 32nd notes. And what Benzie as here is the same problem I noted on "Wake Up", he's just not quite hitting the hooks. I hit it a while back, the little thing that just irks me about this album, is that the vocal parts seem unfinished. They sound like vocal lines that he came up with when first hearing the instrumentals, by randomly singing notes and searching for the elusive hook. And so many times he misses completely.

Take the intro to "Say Your Prayers", with Benzie singing over a minimal backing. The notes he hits here just don't seem to mesh, they just don't seem to be cohesive, he's just aiming somewhere and looking for the hook, the part of their music that makes them so good. And it just doesn't come. Unfortunately, the sound of Benzie hitting the same note over and over again pretending it's some form of emotional melody becomes a regular occurrence in this record, like in one of the better tracks "Stand Apart", where Benzie is just singing one note for the entire chorus, before going into what could be described as a hook. You can hear in the way that he sings that he wants this to sound brilliant and epic, like a lot of the choruses on This Is The Warning, but it doesn't, it sounds tired and empty.

I exaggerate though, because there are still hooks here, otherwise I wouldn't like it, they're just so much more spread out and less exciting than anything on the debut. Take "Alone Awake", which is probably the best track here. It has a pretty strong intro, a nice little refrain, and one of the catchiest little hooks on the record in the verse. But the chorus is just so? anticlimactic. It builds pretty well, as most DLC songs do, but the chorus doesn't use any of this energy, Benzie just slots into a mediocre vocal line and belts it. Sure, the way he delivers it is pretty good, but honestly, you'd have to be Kim Benzie to make anything out of that vocal line (oh wait?)

But I should digress from complaining, which I always seem to do. Because as much as I could list a hundred things that This Is The Warning does better, every time I hear it, I have this nagging feeling that if I had heard this first, I would absolutely love it. As I've said before, there are no bad Dead Letter Circus songs. Sure, "The Veil" and "Kachina" come pretty close, but those aren't bad, they're just uninteresting and insignificant. And I know for a fact that if I find a record that I like every track but two to a certain extent, I'm ecstatic. My love for The Catalyst Fire has been tainted by the fact that its predecessor was nearly a perfect album.

There are moments here that are truly great. I love the explosive intro to "Burning Man", opening up with that huge chorus. I've mentioned in my single review that I'm a bit fan of the first riff in "Lodestar", it feels epic and overwhelming, similar to the final section of "Cage" that I was such a huge fan of. The instrumentation on "Stand Apart" is another great moment, where it takes the turn for the hectic and crazed, something that I feel they could develop more, after they hinted at it on "The Drum".

In the end, The Catalyst Fire is a decent album, but it just seems like a half-assed attempt at recreating the debut. Sure, most songs here have a pretty catchy hook within, but on This Is The Warning, there were three, even four sometimes, in one track alone. The choruses on This Is The Warning were a level above, every step taking the song higher, but here I'm often finding that the verses are more interesting, and they build up to a weak pay off in the chorus. Some of the tracks here, particularly Lodestar, Alone Awake and Stand Apart, could rival some of the best on This Is The Warning when you hear the intro, but they just fail to capitalise on the energy created and land somewhere in mediocrity. I like this record, but you line up every song here against every song on the debut, the best song here would probably only be better than 3 or 4 songs there.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 Wake Up by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
3.79 | 5 ratings

Wake Up
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Search and Destroy Wake Up was an intermediate single of sorts. The band said it was a 'transition', a song that didn't really fit on either record that they put out to cover the radio silence while The Catalyst Fire was being conceived. But, honestly, like the band's insistence that The Catalyst Fire is a completely different direction, I find it hard to take anything DLC say about their own music seriously, especially considering that in hindsight, this single is the perfect foreshadowing of what was to come with The Catalyst Fire.

I remember listening to this for the first time, when I first got into DLC in early 2013, after my obsession with This Is the Warning began. I was listening and waiting, impatiently saying to myself "where's the hook, where's the hook, come on, I can feel the hook coming". DLC love hooks, and I love their hooks. It would be impossible for them to write a track without a hook, especially a radio single (although that would later be proved incorrect?), and this one didn't have one.

Chorus comes, and you can just feel Benzie searching for the hook. He's straining, signing at the top of his lungs, piling all his energy into it, and? the hook comes.

"Until I wanna make ameeeenndss"

And, it's a pretty cool one, honestly. Nothing compared to anything on This Is The Warning, but at least it's there. But this was a massive foreshadowing to the fact that Kim Benzie is loosing his hook-finding talents. The entire chorus of this song just has this whole feeling that he's trying to make it as catchy as possible, but just not quite hitting the mark. It's pretty decent, and an acceptable track, but you can feel that this just isn't as good as it could have been.

I obviously brushed that aside when I heard this, assuming that that was the reason they chose it as a non-album single, because it wasn't quite good enough. But in hindsight, this would probably be one of the better tracks on The Catalyst Fire if it were placed there.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 This Is the Warning by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.60 | 41 ratings

This Is the Warning
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by Gallifrey

5 stars The Search For Big

The problem that most people seem to have with Dead Letter Circus' 2010 debut full length album, This Is The Warning, is that it seems to contain twelve tracks that are more or less the same thing. They're all insanely energetic, they're all insanely catchy, they all have the same sort of riffing and layering technique, using lashings of delay and reverb on the guitar that just sort of meanders, playing notes and little lines of its own as opposed to chords and riffs. They all have stellar drum performances and dynamic bass and they all have Kim Benzie utilizing his fantastic range at the top of his lungs.

And you know, for the first few months, I was a part of that wagon. This album does repeat itself a hell of a lot. It's not as if the melodies or riffs are repeated, it's just that all of them are dished up and served in the same method, making them appear awfully similar. I still get slightly confused. I hear the intro guitar of 'Reaction', and I could just as easily break into singing 'The Space On The Wall' or 'Walk', until the drum beat comes in and reminds me which track it is. But honestly, 28 listens to this album later and a year of memories behind it, I don't care.

I think the simple fact that this is a repetitive album and yet I can play it 28 times and still not get bored of it shows how incredible it is. When trying to justify this album, I'll often say, 'maybe it's just completely my thing', and I'd be correct, but not only that, the album does it in such a flawless way. In fact, the only track that really breaks the mould, the slower ballad track 'The Design' is probably my least favourite here, as much as I can enjoy its chorus hook. Without the energy of the other tracks, it just doesn't rank.

This album had been a long time coming, and I guess you could use that as reasoning behind why it's so damn good, but more often than not highly hyped and delayed albums fail to bring the goods. Dead Letter Circus had released three tracks more than a year before the release of this, 'Next In Line' and 'Reaction' on the Next in Line EP, and 'The Space on the Wall' as a single, but even those aren't nearly the best songs on here, DLC choosing to drop two of the best tracks, 'Big' and 'Cage' just before its release, creating the biggest hype you could imagine. Those two tracks are masterpieces in their own right, so to shorten this review a bit, I've written about them here and here, but there is still a lot more to say about this record.

I've found this is also one of those records that reveals something new each time, maybe because everything being similar smudges it into a blur, so that you don't notice the flourishes of genius until you're familiar with it. It was only a few days ago, over a year after I first heard it, when I realised just how incredible the final instrumental section of 'The Drum' is. Being a band led by a vocalist with such a skill for a great hook, the instrumental parts just sort of become background, especially when it's basically on the same massively intricate mode for 54 minutes. 'The Drum', the longest track on the album, starts with a brooding ambient intro, and it never really builds massively with the vocals. Usually DLC will use Benzie to create their energy, but here the build-up is all instrumental. Benzie pours over it with the atmospheric chorus 'The city is alive, help me to start over'' but as we finish, the song plummets into a fully instrumental section with pounding drums and fantastic sampled guitars everywhere, even starting to get a bit of a noise influence coming in.

I could easily talk for hours about particular moments of this record. I have already done so in my single reviews of Big and Cage, saving plenty of room here, but I don't want to get too tiring with the writing. 'This Long Hour' is probably the only other track I haven't talked about that deserves a mention, as well as opener 'Here We Divide'. One of the few complaints I have in this record, and it's a complaint I've mentioned about them previously, is the weak repetition of the verse during 'This Long Hour'. As a band who pride themselves on energy and keeping things moving, it feels a bit weak to just go and repeat the same verse with the same lyrics, but everything is forgiven when the chorus hits. This is one of the tracks that, due to Benzie's ridiculous voice, I never actually learnt the lyrics too for months, and found myself blurting aimless attempts at them as loud as I could, but that's just how ridiculously catchy this song is.

But there's one more song here that is the undisputed champion, reigning high above everything else this band have ever done, and I've mentioned this in my reviews of Big and Cage, their second and third best songs.

This is the big, enormous, album-wide version of The DLC Build-Up and Release Technique, although not necessarily the same. During Big, I mentioned that the final chorus is just so momentous because they already have an incredible song with incredible energy, and then they just top it, because it the world of Dead Letter Circus, nothing is ever big enough, it can always go bigger. I like to think of 'This Is The Warning' as an enormous, album-wide 'but what if we go bigger'.

Everything about the track, the laughable spoken word sample, the way the drums come in underneath Benzie's opening vocal, the build, the drum breakdown, especially the drum breakdown, all add to the best thing they've done. It's taken me a good twenty listens to finally be able to nail the drumming during the heavy section, which is entirely in 4/4, but it begins part way through a phrase making it sound like an 8 bar repeating pattern. It's the epitome of intensity, smashing a drum at seemingly random intervals, but after a while you realise there's a pretty clear pattern to the drums, which makes it so much better. But the final verse is what gets me. It's pretty similar to the final verse of Cage in that it's an insanely catchy line delivered with unparalleled intensity over a pounding and energetic rhythm section, but this one knocks Cage off the table.

'They've got it all worked out, wish I could leave here now, is there another way, some other path to take? We will figure out, same people brought us down, they are controlling you. These people lead us. I saw them change the truth; they didn't want me to, right there before our eyes. I knew we'd make it. Don't take the easy ride, we're running out of time.'

This is the warning.


I realise how corny it is to simply quote the album when trying to review it, but I honestly don't think I can do this verse any more justice.

Yes, yes, of course This Is The Warning is samey, but after enough listens I've simply stopped caring, especially because this is one of the greatest melodic releases of this decade, and one of my favourite albums of all time. The melodies are epic, the instrumentals are tight, the energy is unfiltered and enormous, this is one of the best records I have ever come to know, and I can't recommend it enough.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 Dead Letter Circus by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
4.33 | 9 ratings

Dead Letter Circus
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars The Search Begins

The thing that I think impresses me the most about Dead Letter Circus' self-titled EP is just how apparently the Dead Letter Circus sound is already. The band would become world famous for their tight and massively overdubbed riffing, the electronic-inspired drums, the bouncy and groovy basslines and the epic soaring vocals from Kim Benzie, and somehow they had all this worked out before their debut release. Right from the start here, the lead riff of "The Mile", the unique riffing is there. The chord sequence of the riff is hardly unique, I've heard it hundreds of times, what was unique was the way it was played, with the hints of delay and reverb, played with quick tremolo and using equal amounts of palm muting and fantastic open chord playing.

Some people call Dead Letter Circus their best release, that the band found their sound so early on that they mastered it first and kept attempting to recreate it with subsequent releases. Of course, I got into the band through This Is the Warning, so my expectation for this debut after a while of hearing how much better it was was a bit high. Unfortunately, after several listens, I can't report to find this anywhere near as good as their full-length, as much as I would like to.

Although I said that the "DLC sound" was apparent on this EP, what's missing here is a lot of the structuring and epic melodies that were on This Is The Warning. The instrumentals and great performances are here, for the most part, but what they're playing just doesn't hit the same strings as the stuff on This Is The Warning. There are hooks and melodies here, some truly great ones in the verse of "The Mile" and the chorus of "Are We Closer", but compared to a track like "Big" or "This Long Hour" from the follow-up, which seemed to string together a half dozen fantastic hooks in as many minutes, these tracks are nothing but 'pretty decent'.

There are most certainly some fantastic moments here that rival some of the best moments on the full length. The guitar part during the midsection of "Lines" is one of their best guitar parts, and I really love the outro transition into "Disconnect and Apply", with those thunderous pounding drums. There are hooks in nearly all of these tracks that are pretty good, but the one on "Are We Closer" (? I want to know your name?) is up there with the first 6 tracks on This Is The Warning in terms of catchiness.

All of the songs here are good, but that's what I expect. I honestly don't think I've ever heard a Dead Letter Circus song I didn't like, but this is just a foreshadowing of what's to come, a glimpse at the sheer melodic brilliance of This Is The Warning.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 The Catalyst Fire by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.61 | 27 ratings

The Catalyst Fire
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by ergaster

3 stars I first encountered the Australian outfit Dead Letter Circus when a friend sent me a copy of This is the Warning, their first album, and I was immediately hooked by their powerful melodic neo-prog/punkish wall of sound. I was very stoked to hear that a new album was coming out in 2013.

The Catalyst Fire disappointed me, in large part because their first album had so much promise. The massive wall-of-guitars sound and distinctive vocals are still present...but somehow between the first album and this one the guys seem to have become so concerned with the technical side of songwriting that they forgot about pure musical appeal. Most of the songs seem more complex than strictly necessary, overthought and overworked, which detracts from their interest. It took me many listens to even be able to recall the song when I read the song title...they really do sound alike, with the possible exception of "Lodestar", the best track on the album. The album is decent, but not gripping.

I will say that the LPs might be some of the most spectacularly beautiful I've ever seen, both the limited-edition picture disc and the glorious coloured vinyls. I do not regret buying those.

 The Catalyst Fire by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.61 | 27 ratings

The Catalyst Fire
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars While many people focus their attention on rising progressive talent in Europe or the US, I'm here to tell you that Australia is witnessing an explosion of progressive talent. The Aussies also have a distinct sound, rather ethereal and at the same time heavy-hitting. Indeed, their music is elegant and graceful, but also accessible, intricate, subtle, and melodious. All of these adjectives apply to the band Dead Letter Circus, as well.

Dead Letter Circus are certainly more accessible than most prog bands. They are proggy, but have a certain level of alternative influence that makes them "cool", if you will. These guys, besides being absolutely hilarious and also brilliant at their live shows, have a way of making soaring music that is simultaneously complicated, catchy, and charismatic. Yes, the band usually focuses on shorter song structures, some alternative arrangements, proggy instrumentals and vocals, and an aerial atmosphere. As it were, then, DLC is an excellent band to introduce new people to progressive music, as I feel the elements of their music are easily dissected and easy on the ears.

I am a fan of DLC's debut album, "This is the Warning", for its fantastic vibes, respectable difficulty, and simply outstanding guitar work. However, I think their sophomore album, "The Catalyst Fire", is definitely head-and-shoulders above their debut work. The compositions are more mature, headier, more complex, and even just catchier, too. I was even a little worried, as guitarist Rob Maric left the band, and I had never heard new guitarist Clint Vincent. However, my worry was for not, as the high-tuned guitars are back, and Clint may be an even better player. Indeed, the whole band stepped it up a few notches, as the rather simple melodies of the first album are replaced with complexity, dazzling instrumental acrobatics, and a cohesion that usually takes a band a few more albums to attain. Guitars are riveting, the drums ambitious, the keys atmospheric, and the bass seems to be the hinge upon which major hooks swing.

Vocalist Kim is astounding, as always. I saw DLC live with Fair to Midland a couple years ago, and, having only heard DLC's album a few times, I was simply blown away by his control and power. Yes, I think one of the problems with both albums is that you don't really get any idea of just how good a singer Kim really is. He is an artist, and he is impressive, especially live. His style is alternative, but, as I said, his vocals are also proggy as he never succumbs to the laziness of much mainstream music. He pushes himself and uses odd vocal lines that sound so good alongside the striking music.

From the great introductory "The Cure" and my favorite "Alone Awake" to the oddly catchy "Lodestar" and "I Am", this album fires on all cylinders; or, if you aren't a car person, this album hits all the right spots. I was also particularly impressed with the included acoustic versions of "I Am" and "Lodestar", as they change the arrangements impressively. They also include a single from a couple years ago, "Wake Up", which was a great idea, as this tune is simply surreal.

So, pay more attention to the Australia scene. I can name almost a dozen upcoming progressive Aussie bands that are brilliant. They are unique and varied, and Dead Letter Circus is certainly at the forefront of the scene with their kinetic live shows and hypnotic music. Keep your ears peeled.

 Dead Letter Circus by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
4.33 | 9 ratings

Dead Letter Circus
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by GlassHanded

5 stars One of the best debut EP's I have ever heard. This album explodes with energy right out of the gate and never let's up through 6 brilliant songs. The songwriting here really amazed me. I didn't think I'd ever hear such an obvious leap or progression of sound in the Alt Rock/Crossover Prog genre.

This EP is so good that Dead Letter Circus' debut LP "This Is The Warning" was actually a let down at 4.5 / 5 stars.

The first 3 tracks blew my mind, while tracks 4 and 5 grew on me to become almost as good as the first 3 to my ears. The closing track "Alien" is also the longest song and what a beast that track is. These guys are bursting with creativity. Shame that they are not well known outside Australia, although I hope their 2013 album can change that.

However, after the magic of this debut, I wonder if they can ever match that level of creativity again. Certainly there are songs from the 2010 album that could be on this EP, but that album as a whole suffers from a few slightly weaker tracks.

5 stars for this self titled debut.

 This Is the Warning by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.60 | 41 ratings

This Is the Warning
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by bonestorm

3 stars Dead Letter Circus is a Brisbane band and so this immediately peaks my interest. I love hearing local acts, and these guys are certainly one of the better ones going around.

For this album, "This Is The Warning", I particularly love the opening track, "Here We Divide." It has an immediately engaging resonance: a throbbing, delay driven tempo that pulls the listener in. It's really a great way to start the album.

"One Step" is another of the big singles and features some great vocal hooks by Kim Benzie. Once again the trilling, delay-laden guitar that is a feature of Dead Letter Circus' sound is prominent.

For the most part the songs on this album are a radio friendly 3 or 4 minutes long with standard compositions in 4/4 time signature. I'm not sure of the prog credentials for this album, I would more classify it as hard or alternative rock. But it's still very competently done and the songs are better than average in this genre.

"The Drum" is a track with a more unusual format, with lots of atmospherics and a killer climax as percussion and guitar come together.

It's a good rock album without a doubt, but probably not essential.

 This Is the Warning by DEAD LETTER CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.60 | 41 ratings

This Is the Warning
Dead Letter Circus Neo-Prog

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars A hardly typical representation of neo-prog, this band actually sounds more like Chevelle after a diet of Porcupine Tree, Muse and U2. An accessible yet interesting mix of rock band inspirations with an aspiration to bang out some serious anthemic songs.

I actually found the opening track to be the band at their best with its majestic delivery and powerful guitar sound and overall production values. Here We Divide has some progressive leanings I suppose, but certainly no more than, say, Tool or bands similar to that in a sense, although I enjoy this song more than many songs by a lot of these big name alternative rock (with some progginess) groups. There are some variances to the rest of the songs, but not by all that much, which causes me to lose interest towards the last couple of tracks. The Drum stands out as a song as it follows a more post-rock crescendo template than the verse chorus format of much of the rest of this album, and yes, the drummer goes into a frenzy at the tune's climax. I assume that's why they entitled the song as "The Drum", but I could be wrong. Other tracks flirt with nu-metal commercial appeal to some extent, with The Space on the Wall sounding akin to something Breaking Benjamin would proudly release. Cage has a bit of NIN meets Muse in it's design. It's pretty obvious the target audience for this band isn't your typical neo-prog music fan, nor was that their intention. This is modern arena style rock, but played well and with a talented high registered vocalist.

I can enjoy this sort of thing once in a while. The music has punch and a vast wall of sound vibe, and the lyrics don't grate so much even if they seem to be about nothing except "falling down" and "rising up". This effort is definitely geared more towards fans of alternative rock stylings than prog rock fans, so that should be the decision whether to check the band out or not.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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