Circus Maximus Havoc cd review

Havoc sees the return of Norway's finest Circus Maximus with the new cd to be released on Frontiers Records Srl on the 18th of March

Being the bands fourth release and first since 2012's Nine expectations are high and after being lucky enough to see the band live at the Final Firefest in 2014 this was one of 2016's most anticipated releases for me.

And over the course of 9 tracks (10 on the 2 cd version with the addition of the audio of the 
Loud Park Festival show in Japan in October 2012)the band do not disappoint with their progressive metal take of wonderful melodies and heavy riffs and pounding drums all with the golden tonsils of Michael Eriksen showing he is one of rock's finest vocalists.

The Weight was the first audio heard from the cd with it's heavy riff and pounding drum rhythm from drummer Truls Haugen and Eriksen showing off his full range and the band showing their sense of dynamics with a drop in tempo pre chorus before the band all crash in as the lengthy chorus unfolds with Eriksen masterful.Superbly melodic guitar solo from Mats Haugen with the bands dynamics again evident as the solo starts with the band dropping the pace and then accompany Haugen on a lengthy solo with Lasse Finbraten on keyboards adding some real depth to the sound.

Highest Bitter starts on a heavy bass part from Glen Mollen with Eriksen singing in a lower register before a superbly heavy chorus with more light and shade dynamics after the first chorus and into the second verse.Haugen's guitar melodies during the second verse give a different take.After the second chorus the band take it down with guitar melodies and bass evident and drum rhythm changes a plenty.

The title track is a real ass kicker with a huge guitar riff and drums which you can imagine being the crowd going nuts to in the live shows with Eriksen again singing in a lower register and Haugen's shredding guitar solo is a highlight.

Pages starts on a heavy bass rumble and drum rhythm with crashing guitar riffs that kick in and out with a near feedback feed at the end of a held riff.A lengthy pre chorus with drum time changes before a real big chorus alongside the heavy riff.The second verse sees a drop in pace that then explodes with a keyboard passage and then guitar solo with plenty of finger tapping.

Flames has Eriksen's melodic vocal at it's heart and a more keyboard prominent riff and plenty of vocal harmonizing from Eriksen.Not your standard verse chorus solo song.

Loved Ones is an 8 minute epic tour de force that will blow peoples minds live I would believe.After a keyboard intro it is a mid pace number with keys and guitar riff entwined before for the first verse sees a dip in dynamics that then kicks up a notch pre chorus and a huge Eriksen vocal melody line with the keyboard riff slightly higher in the mix.The chorus line melody from Eriksen is superb and mid song plenty of time changes with again keys high in the mix before a blisteringly heavy guitar riff kicks in then drops out for the lengthy guitar solo with Haugen again showing his class.More swirling keys at the 5 minute mark with a quieter passage and Eriksen showing off his full range before the song ends in stunning style with Haugen soloing after Eriksen's vocal melody ends.A keys outro finishes off a quite stunning song that shows off the whole bands quality and is worth the price of the cd alone.

After The Fire has a keyboard popping intro and turns into a heavy guitar riff stomper before guitars cut out and keys replace the riff.Time changes are all over it as they show off their progressive chops.

Remember starts on an Eriksen vocal melody before another change of pace turns it on it's head and a big chorus with guitars and keys fighting to be heard.Haugen again impresses with a guitar solo of speed technique and no little class.

Chivalry has a 2 minute keys intro and Eriksen vocal before the band finish the album with a light and shade number with all of the band prominent at various points and Haugen plays some guitar melodies that turn into a guitar solo alongside the keys before an a riff that gets heavier and heavier as the band turn up the pace in the outro.

Circus Maximus are on of the world's top progressive bands and hers is hoping we don't have to wait 4 more years for new music as good as Havoc is.

The band are currently touring Europe here is hoping for a UK date.

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