Norwegian CIRCUS MAXIMUS really deserves being mentioned, with their newly released album entitled "Nine" up for grabs. The title does not indicate this is their ninth album, no no. This is their third release, and what an album it is! All fans of progressive metal really should check this CD up. Sure, there are vibes of DREAM THEATER's work in a few songs, but CIRCUS MAXIMUS has got so much of their own spices in their music. The grand arrangements take you on a journey through complex progressive metal, all the way to rather commercial pieces close to AOR or at least classic melodic hard rock. Any fan of bands like RUSH, THRESHOLD and VANDEN PLAS will love this - it is a sure buy.
The lead voice of MICHAEL ERIKSEN is great, with a clearness and a strength that you do not hear every day. Well, the musicians in the band are awesome too. Simply great players with a distinct, yet both heavy and rich sound at the same time. Check out the bombastic epic "Architect of fortune" with its length of over ten minutes, or the quite commercial "Reach within" with some RUSH and DREAM THEATER elements. Ever wondered how ULTRAVOX would have sounded if they'd chosen a more hard rock or AOR style with some progressive adds? Then "Game of life" is your song. I could mention evey song, but I won't. I'll leave some for you to discover on your own. STRONG recommendation. There are so many bands in this genre that are of no interest, but CIRCUS MAXIMUS are in the top field.