Rating:
8.4
Circus Maximus - Isolate
7 August 2007


01. A Darkened Mind
02. Abyss
03. Wither
04. Sane No More
05. Arrival Of Love
06. Zero
07. Mouth Of Madness
08. From Childhood's Hour
09. Ultimate Sacrifice


It takes something special to release one album and be noticed on a larger scale. But to follow it up with an equally acclaimed second effort without becoming drab is a plateau hardly reached by a younger band. After their debut "The First Chapters" was met with a lot of positive criticism throughout the prog-metal world, Circus Maximus presented their sophomore effort, "Isolate".

From start to finish "Isolate" has a lot to offer. Some tracks have that bonafied prog/power feel and variety to them, while others hold an obvious nod to the earlier forms of progressive metal. The constant change of momentum throughout the album keeps it from becoming monotonous and dry. Given the time and effort put into the songwriting it's easy to notice before the first verse of "A Darkened Mind" that these guys have a lot of talent, and aren't afraid to push the envelope.

The most important thing to mention would be the maturity Circus Maximus' sound has gone through between their first release and "Isolate". Overall, it's become more balanced and rich all while Michael Eriksen's voice gives off a noticable fullness that he lacked on their first release. It should go without mentioning that every member of Circus Maximus has a truckload of talent and imagination, but taking that and successfully putting ideas to sound without making it generic is something far more rare. Not one verse, chorus, bridge, intro/outro seems fake. Talent aside, "Isolate" still has a lot to offer.

The first song throws you head-first into a well organized tracklist that suffers from absolutely no low points or boring sections. No song seems dragged out or sluggish, yet there's no lack of variety either. To be more specific, the beautifully composed "Mouth of Madness", which happens to be over twelve minutes long, is a rollercoaster ride of emotion that never gets repetitive.

Otherwise, every other song on the CD is strong in it's own way. Along with the solidity of the album as a whole, the feeling changes several times which keeps a fresh feeling throughout, and also raises the replay value significantly.

All said and done, this has to be one of the top 10 best prog/power releases of 2007. The production could suffer a bit more perfection (especially the tone of the snare and bass drum), but aside from that there's nothing else to complain about. The cover art is interesting, although somewhat bland, yet it portrays a lot about the undertone of every song in a different way. If you're a fan of anything progressive I highly suggest buying this album. Circus Maximus is not a band to be taken lightly, and should be considered a threat to all the lackluster prog/power bands that are also trying to make it big.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Band profile: Circus Maximus
Album: Isolate


 


written by b0000mst1ck | 07.01.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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GT - 09.01.2008 at 17:25  
A well written review and a great album also. The quality is surprisingly good considering it's only their 2nd release
b0000mst1ck - 09.01.2008 at 20:57  
^^thanks man. that's what i was trying to convey...it's a really good album considering it's only their second.
jadawal - 02.07.2009 at 00:02  
Good review, but I don't agree on the production being a 7, like come on!! It sounds pretty damn well produced to me. Pretty well perfect.
JohnDoe - 02.07.2009 at 00:12  
Great album, good review

I like their debut album more.
Raziel X - 26.03.2010 at 18:45  
Good album again, they are moving towards their own sound, but still it doesnt sound like Circus Maximus, like their really own thing. It has less DT in it, yes, but still a lot of Symphony X and Evergrey traces. Still nothing special or legendary, even within prog power there are bands who are tons better than this band. Lets say Communic...

Or Castaway from Slovakia... if they could afford production and studio like all those norwegian bands, they would kick this band's ass, even with their present production I still prefer their CD before CM, cant help it, it's more distinct listen
tea[m]ster - 06.05.2010 at 02:57  
I have been listening to this album more and more. It is really growing on me, very catchy song writing. I really think CM has the potential to be the next big thing in prog metal - interested to see what direction the new album takes.
Sephiros7 - 16.08.2010 at 20:11  
A fantastic album and band. Great review. I'm hoping to hear Circus Maximus on tour with maybe Dream Theater or Symphony X what a show that would be. Maybe all 3 of them together =D

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