Album Reviews

Circus Maximus – Nine Review

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Progressive Metal



Line Up:

Michael Eriksen – Vocals

Lasse Finbråten – Keyboards

Mats Haugen – Guitars

Truls Haugen – Drums

Glen Cato Møllen – Bass



01 – Forging

02 – Architect of Fortune

03 – Namaste

04 – Game of Life

05 – Reach Within

06 – I Am

07 – Used

08 – The One

09 – Burn After Reading

10 – Last Goodbye


After almost 5 years since their superb sophomore release tiled “Isolate”, the Progressive Metal masters from Norway return with a new record simply titled “Nine”. They fall into a dubious predicament where they have had built an immense volume of hype in the years leading up to this release, I seriously considered comparing the length span between albums to those of Shadow Gallery another great prog band that takes their dear time, but is usually worth every penny one the final product is revealed.

For a quick refresher let’s get into their last album and pay attention kids, okay?  We all know the godfathers of Progressive Metal are Dream Theater, and while many prog bands get tagged into this blunt comparison we can easily dismiss CM from this detail , Circus managed to break some serious wind with their last record and pave their own avenues. They manage to deliver some very deliberate and careful proggy pop melodies but not enough to be labeled weak, on the contrary they offer their secret weapon which I call the PUNCH, the real hitter is the potent guitars and drums that came along with their last record which opened things up balancing out a powerful structure. Those above mention moments and  the caveat are of course the amazing lead singer Michael Eriksen who has a mesmerizing voice and can easily carry a song, these traits led way to some haunting vocal parts all intertwining with a very mature writing prowess that can be relative to some of the veterans of the genre. If you think I just described their new album “Nine”, you could be right except what we have here is an evolution of sorts but how much?

Circus Maximus Thinking Deep

The first thing I notice on this album is the ambiguous cover artwork, it’s titled NINE but the actual significance of the title is not seeing anywhere that I notice, there are 10 tracks on the album and the cover artwork itself has a weird lettering optical illusion thing going on, some have said it looks like the twin towers, but who really knows and who’s to say that the band just liked the image and went with it. Something to think about.

As for the real cream of the crop which are the songs, you have a best of from what Circus Maximus have done on their previous offerings, I think one of their biggest strong points is being able to completely get out of a song and have the listener just hanging on barely with some of the lyrics and music, and then it hits you once you hear these amazing bombastic choruses and the range of the guitars are just majestic and melodic as hell. The band accrues some serious mileage on this technique on some of the more epic tunes like the dream weaving haunting of “Architect of Fortune” which brings to mind a little Pagan’s Mind at their most epic. “Reach Within” is another carefully crafted composition in which the writing takes over and builds some amazing anticipation before another vulturous chorus bursts through. One of the heaviest tunes here comes via “Used” which has some illustrious keyboards and drum work. Last but not least is another saga song in “Burn After Reading” which displays in exemplary style the formula that these guys have pried for this journey of an album, and listen to those ferocious keyboards around the 5:40 mark; go ahead laugh if you want they are incredible.

All the great bands do it and that is making us constantly keep coming back to hear an album again and again, and this happened with Circus’s last album “Isolate” and I didn’t heart it at first with “Nine” but after 5 or 6 spins I picked up on some of the nuances and cunningly artisan work by these Norwegians. They have evolved in the writing process and have continually gotten better and crisper in their execution, and this is evident on their new masterpiece. The eponymous pop mixing progressive melodies are still evident but in a good way as they give the band a more stable progressive modern approach, but on the other end of the spectrum the heavy hitting rhythm and bass keeps the group intrinsically in the heavier realm side of things, and that’s a good thing. How could you possibly want more from a record that had so much build up? Great job again after a long hiatus delivering the goods to the fans liking. Highly Recommended!!!


Written by Denys

Ratings    Denys    9/10

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One thought on “Circus Maximus – Nine Review

  1. Totally agree, great album.
    If Dream Theater are the Godfathers of Prog Metal, Fates Warning are de FATHERS. Why nobody give this amazing band the credit they deserve? Very sad 🙁


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