Circus Maximus
Nine


3.5
great

Review

by peartnoy USER (21 Reviews)
June 19th, 2013 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid Prog/Metal album that lacks a bit of both Prog and Metal.

Circus Maximus has been a disappointment to me. I thought their first album was great, even if the Dream Theater worship was so obvious. I thought that if the band could continue with their technical prowess, heavy sound, soaring vocals, coherent writing and try to find their own sound a little bit, they would release something truly superb. Sadly, their second record, Isolate, was a letdown. Each time the band tried to escape the ''Dream Theater clone'' envelope, they failed miserably. The long songs also felt forced and rarely grabbed the attention. Maybe the band realized this, because they took a lot of time to come up with a new album where (to their saying) ''The writing is different, the playing is different, the sound is different''.
While this affirmation is true, it doesn't mean it's better because it's different.

The main positive thing about this album is that the band finally seems to have found their own particular brand of Prog/Metal. You can still hear their influences, but I feel that now I could say something like ''that band sounds like Circus Maximus''. The best way to describe it would be that it sounds 80's but modern at the same time (read: without much of the cheese). Early cuts ''Namaste'' and ''Game of Life'' are perfect examples of that and are both really simple and solid tracks. The writing on this album is really well thought out overall too. Nothing overstays its welcome and it's always coherent.

That's part of the problem though. This album is TOO solid. Now that they seem confident enough with their sound, they don't try to do much that's incredible. No song on this album will be in anyone's top 10. It's difficult to exactly pinpoint why that is, but one of the factors is the lower amount of both Prog and Metal. The energy these guys showed on their debut is almost absent here, apart from ''Used'' and ''Burned After Reading''. Most of the time, the songs are slower and/or simpler. It's not worse because it's simpler, but because you can feel the band waiting for moments where they could show their talent and let it all out. That causes some slight moments (the bridge for ''Burn After Reading'', the intro to ''Reach Within') to feel a bit tacked on for the sake of being ''proggier'', even if the band definitely still knows how to write intense and wild instrumental moments. Another thing that kills the energy is the production. While clean, it lacks the punch necessary to make the heavier moments come out.

The vocals are also TOO solid. They sound good, and the melodies are well written for the most part. However, they seem detached overall, they lack the grit, passion and power necessary to really make the songs memorable (unlike on their debut). This is in part due to the lyrics, which are cheesy optimistic messages about finding yourself and (not) letting go and bla bla bla. It's all stuff we have heard before and they do sometimes detract from the music which is so well put-together.

Based on my pure enjoyment of ''Nine'', the rating could have been a 4 out of 5. However, the obvious flaws present here keep it from achieving the greatness that's hidden inside it. If the band can write another album that's more balanced in terms of musicianship and that actually tries to be incredible, we could have a band on the level of heavy-hitters like Dream Theater or Symphony X in their prime.

Highlights: Game of Life, Used, Burned After Reading



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user ratings (77)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
peartnoy
June 18th 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I saw this had no review and tought ''hey, it's been a while since I've reviewed something''.

YakNips
June 18th 2013


12041 Comments


Nice review man. Pos.

Digging: Purge. - Sewage

peartnoy
June 18th 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

thanks a lot man. Did you listen to the album?

YakNips
June 18th 2013


12041 Comments


Nah, it doesn't sounds like something I'd be interested in as of right now.

Spag
June 18th 2013


1810 Comments


From what I know it's like Symphony X and Dream Theater.. two bands I dislike. probably won't check this out.

Nice review.

Digging: Manes - Be All End All

peartnoy
June 18th 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You should both try the video they did for Namaste, you never know!

and thanks!

tempest--
June 19th 2013


13944 Comments


This is pretty good.
In hindsight my rating is probably a little too high, but I did thoroughly enjoy it when I heard it.

ksoflas
June 19th 2013


398 Comments


Well said, pos'd. Album sounds like p(op)rog metal...
Too clean and sterile.

peartnoy
June 19th 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

It's definitely really enjoyable. But yeah it's too popat times

MaidenUFO
July 5th 2013


153 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Man, how many listens have you given to this album??? One of the most inspiring prog metal albums ever!.....Sorry that i am saying to you, but their first one is a lot wicker than this one, as the influences are obvious....In this album, they have their own unique sound that every song is creepy as hell...

MaidenUFO
July 5th 2013


153 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The users of sputnik are completely idiot, they are listening the album 2-3 times, and they are saying it is "enjoyable".....My fuckin nerves

tempest--
July 5th 2013


13944 Comments


The users of sputnik are completely idiot [2]

oltnabrick
July 5th 2013


31117 Comments


lol wtf is this looks real

Digging: Drake - 6 God

peartnoy
July 31st 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Lol chill out MaidenUFO.

I listened the fuck out of it and still do. Did you even read the review? I mention almost everything you said.

MaidenUFO
September 8th 2013


153 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

If you listen this album carefully, it isnt 3.5!!! Except if you are not fan of prog metal...

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2013


6208 Comments


Χαλάρωσε φίλος, το αν αρέσει ή δεν αρέσει ένας δίσκος, είναι βαθιά υποκειμενικό θέμα...

Έσυ το θεωρείς γαμάτο, του άλλου του αρέσει λιγότερο, πάμε παρακάτω. Αν δεν σου άρεσει η κριτική του, γράψε την άποψή σου σε κόσμιο/μετριοπαθές ύφος ή γράψε άλλη κριτική.

Με το να τα βάζεις με τους άλλους επειδή (φαίνεται να) έχουν διαφορετική άποψη, δεν γίνεται δουλειά...

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation

peartnoy
September 8th 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Lol Voivod what is this?

ZomarK
September 22nd 2013


49 Comments


Only recently started listening too these guys, and they are really good. Honestly, one of the best bands I have stumbled across as of late. Still definetly prefer too listen too 'Seventh Wonder' however. If you haven't heard them, I would give them a listen. If you like this, youll love them.

peartnoy
September 22nd 2013


1201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Already tried Seventh Wonder. I like this better though.

FrozenVain
September 24th 2013


2446 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol @ MaidenUFO. Great review, man. This album is sweet.



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