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Soniq Circus - Reflections in the Hourglass CD (album) cover


Soniq Circus


Heavy Prog

3.63 | 37 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The following takes place between 3am and 4am. Events occur in real time.

Sweden is a land of many things: Vikings, flat-pack furniture, great meatballs, and of course prog. Bands like Anglagard, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Atlas, Karmakanic, The Flower Kings, Beardfish, Moon Safari, Galleon, Kaipa, Meshuggah, Therion and more have turned Sweden into something of a prog hotspot. Emerging from this prolific nation are Soniq Circus, consisting of Marcus Enochsson on guitars and vocals, newcomer Marco Ledri on keyboards, Markus Nilsson on bass and Christer Ugglin on drums. This is the band's second album, since their eponymous debut was released in 2007.

'Reflections in the Hourglass' is a concept album about a man who wakes up in the middle of the night and reflects on his life since he cannot get back to sleep. We follow our protagonist's thoughts in real time, in a similar manner to the TV series '24'. The album is 60 minutes long and begins with three bell chimes to signal 3am and ends with four bell chimes to signal 4am, helping to strengthen the concept. In the CD booklet, each page shows the timeline between 3am and 4am, giving the times when each track would start if the album were played at this time in the morning. Moreover, the CD itself has a clock face with eight hands pointing to the eight starting times of each song.

While the band can be classified as heavy prog, the music is rather light for the genre, and more melodic. In the booklet, Ledri can be seen wearing a Dream Theater t-shirt, but no obvious DT influences can be seen besides the frequent use of odd time signatures. There are no long intricate instrumentals to be heard; the singing in English dominates this album.

Despite having a good songwriting style and adequate musicianship, the group have neglected to write any killer material for this album ? stuff that really hooks you in without letting go. The first and last tracks are the best as they contain great verses and choruses and hold the album together. Other good songs from the album include the odd meter-riddled Actor and the epic, diverse Shadow Dance. Sadly though, nothing on the CD really stands out or impresses me and I feel like the group are playing just a little too safe.

Strangely enough, this album has become the closest example of what I'd call 'prog standard'; if there was ever an average album in the progressive sphere, this would be it. Although the 'hour' concept is a great idea, it's not as fleshed out in the music as I would have liked. This is a nicely produced, stylish album but there's little to keep me coming back for more.

baz91 | 3/5 |


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