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Circus Maximus - Isolate CD (album) cover


Circus Maximus


Progressive Metal

3.77 | 188 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Definitely an improvement, though not quite there yet.

CIRCUS MAXIMUS's first album, "The 1st Chapter", left me with good expectations for the band's future, but also a little bit cold because of its derivative nature and the lack of brilliant melodies. Many people liked the choruses in that album, but I've heard many bands do much better than that. The band sounded like it was trying to sound like DREAM THEATER without really masking it.

This time around, in "Isolate", the band starts to find a voice of their own. The DREAM THEATER influence is still huge, and now we can also detect hints of SYMPHOPNY X and STRATOVARIUS in the mix, plus some PAGAN'S MIND (the vocal style is very similar.) But there's an inner voice, an until-now hidden personality in CIRCUS MAXIMUS that is starting to emerge. The music now doesn't sound too much "like band X" but more like "it was influenced by band X".

Also, the melodies and choruses are much better in "Isolate". A good example is "The Abyss", probably the best all-out-metal track in the album. The band's musicianship was never in question (no poorly-skilled musicians could ever sound like DREAM THEATER after all), but now with this newly gained confidence that I can hear between the notes, they shine even more. The production is superb, with clarity and values typical of more commercial-ready bands.

I think that CIRCUS MAXIMUS' best moments are yet to come. The band has been gaining ground slowly but steadily. From decent semi-clones to very good sound-a-likes, I'm sure the third chapter in this story will be the one where all elements finally fit in the puzzle. As of right now, "Isolate" deserves 3.5 stars , averaging musicianship, originality and the enjoyment I got from listening to it. This time I'll round up, as the effort clearly deserves it, and also to draw a line between this excellent record and some less-inspired progressive-metal albums I have reviewed.

The T | 4/5 |


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