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Shadow Circus - Welcome To The Freakroom CD (album) cover


Shadow Circus


Symphonic Prog

3.33 | 72 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars When somebody has listened the best Prog bands for almost three decades and believes there's no more chance for new great bands, it's refreshing to find guys like the members of "SHADOW CIRCUS" who are still insisting with the genre and releasing a very solid album, specially in this days where Rap, Hip Hop and easy music seem to be the constant..

"SHADOW CIRCUS" was founded by John Fontana (guitar), who after 15 years of musical activity in NYC decided to re-create some Prog based in the golden era of Symphonic and prepare a demo to send as part of his resume, but his ex band-mate the drummer Corey Folta herd the music encouraged John to form a band, with the help of the vocalist David Bobick who wrote the lyrics, with the addition of the former Cello player and now bassist Matt Masek and Zac Tenorio in the keyboards, a band was born.

Their debut album "Welcome to the Freakroom" opens with "SHADOW CIRCUS", a song that gets the listener in the mood with a typical circus tune that starts to decrease in intensity while a mellotron goes in crescendo introducing to a keyboard explosion that reminds me of Clive Nolan, and directly links to the rhythmic vocals. A well developed song that serves not only as an introduction to the album but also for the band because they manage never to a sarcastic sense of humor, excellent opener.

"Storm Rider" starts with strong keyboards and drums soon followed by the band, the vocals are a bit odd for an average Prog band, but suit perfectly with the music. Fast and vibrant song with radical changes and an amazing piano and of course as you will expect in a USA band, very strong guitars.

Now it's time for pompous intros in "Inconvenient Compromise" the band hits us with everything they have but then have a radical change to section that reminds me of Yes from the Going for the One era, but before we get used another change leads us to a softer and melodic territory, just to change again into a Hard Rock section leaded by Bobik vocals, th9is is what Prog is about, constant changes without ever loosing control and "SHADOW CIRCUS" gives us everything, wont tell about the finale to avoid ruining the experience..brilliant.

Every album needs a hook, a moiré catchy song and "Radio People" provides it, the organ sounds almost Psychedelic but despite some excesses (Which I love) we find and interesting Hard Rock track. Not as complex as the previous but still very good, and the arrangements are perfect.

"In the Wake of a Dancing Flame" starts with an organ solo followed by acoustic guitar and drums that work as an intro for an interesting Power Ballad with a very Psyche oriented sound, the keyboards sounds as coming directly from the late 60's and there's an oriental favor very typical of that era and a guitar work that matches perfectly, very nice track, a bit repetitive though, if I had to chose the weakest track .would have to point my finger towards "In the Wake of a Dancing Flame", but still is a very good song, so we are before a band with high standards.

The last track "Journey of Everyman" is a three part epic inspired in the novel "The Talisman". It's fair to say they reserved the best for the end, starts with a nice piano solo until the band explodes with a guitar and keyboard section in the limits of Symphonic and Hard Rock, then you can expect anything, moogs, mellotrons, cellos, well everything that makes Prog so great, the changes are always dramatic but the band never loose the continuity, it's hard to describe everything that happens in more than 11 minutes, but I'm sure this track will satisfy the most demanding Progheads.

It's hard to rate this album with a cold system of stars because they are extremely good and I believe it's essential for any Proghead interested in modern Symphonic to get this album, but at the same time I believe doesn't reach the status of masterpiece /stays very close) and also I am sure they can release an even better album, so this time I will be careful and give 4 very solid stars to the excellent "Welcome to the Freakroom".

I'm confident that if they continue evolving, very soon I will be rating a second album of "SHADOW CIRCUS" with 5 stars.

Note: Have to thank ffroyd from Progressive Ears who kindly sent me the album to review it on their site.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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