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A.C.T - Circus Pandemonium CD (album) cover




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3.88 | 198 ratings

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4 stars "Circus Pandemonium" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through Marquee Avalon in March 2014. Itīs the first album release by the band since "Silence (2006)", so itīs been an 8 years long recording break, and I was beginning to wonder if they had disbanded without telling the world.

Thankfully thatīs not the case and "Circus Pandemonium" sees A.C.T return doing what they do best: Playing melodic progressive rock/metal with great positive energy delivered with sublime technical skill. They have a distinct sound, that sets them apart from most other contemporary acts although their influences do shine through. When listening to A.C.T Iīm first and foremost reminded of 70s art rock acts like Roxy Music, 10cc, Supertramp and especially Queen, but with an added progressive metal edge that reminds me of early Dream Theater.

While the music is played with great technical skill, the tracks are for the most part vers/chorus structured. The band almost always include surprises during the tracks though and while this isnīt the kind of progressive rock/metal music created to show off, there are still some pretty complex parts being played. The music for the most part sounds lighthearted and features great positive energy (sometimes to the point where Iīm thinking Iīm listening to a piece from a Broadway Musical), which make "Circus Pandemonium" quite the party to listen to. The instrumentation consists of bass, guitars, drums and keyboards, but itīs the high pitched vocals by Herman Saming thatīs predominantly in focus. The addition of harmony and choir vocals are also an important ingredient of the bandīs sound (the Queen reference is especially strong in that part of the music).

The material on "Circus Pandemonium" are generally quite clever and well written. A.C.T are very skilled composers and they pull off their adventurous ideas with ease. The combination of occasional heavy riffing and lighthearted (almost whimsical) musical ideas work wonders. Packed in a powerful and clear sound production "Circus Pandemonium" comes off as a high quality release on all parameters and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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