Circus Maximus - Nine
1 June 2012

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

So after a few years of waiting, the Norwegian masters of progressive metal finally decided that we are worthy of another album. At least 2012 seems to finally bring an end to some long years of waiting for some albums that were eagerly expected. Unlike their previous two releases, the third album by Circus Maximus is labeled Nine for some mysterious reason unknown to me.

That said, it's important to notice that the reviews on the net and magazines were not so great as for the previous two albums. I must say I clearly disagree with that. Although they did soften their sound in a way, making room for some more melodic metal and hard rock influences, I only see it as a way to sweeten up the already proven formula. This kind of clean melodic progressive metal, for me, is a trademark of the genre. Mats Haugen's guitar skills are pure epicness, and I firmly stand behind my words when I say that Michael Eriksen is one of the best vocals in the world today. Architecture of songs is something I always valued about this band. Every instrument, every note has its purpose, carving a monumental sound out of small pieces. I love that they are able to make some simple, even popish melody, quickly and fluidly turn into some epic progressive monumental part. The songs vary from longer, more progressive ones, building on their epic foundations. And then there are shorter ones, which tend to lean more towards melodic aspects.

It may be true that this one is maybe less pompous and epic than the previous two, but it makes up for it with atmosphere and melody. What makes this band and album so good for me is the way they know how to mix technical aspects of progressive metal, highly skilled musicianship and technique with atmosphere and melodies. Unlike many progressive works, Nine doesn't sound sterile and cold. You get the emotional component as well, not just a CD that is there to show instrument playing skills. A trait which many in the genre seems to forgot in recent years.

For me it seems that high expectations after a five year hiatus are something that drags this album down much more than the music. Five years have made us impatient, and the expectations maybe got unrealistically high. It is also a work that demands attention, you can't just go through this once and have a clear picture, this album requires you to go through it a few times to really get the full picture.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Band profile: Circus Maximus
Album: Nine


written by RhaegarTargaryen | 30.12.2012

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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thehondo - 20.02.2013 at 18:20  
Nailed it. The expectations were high and were met, but not how most anticipated. Can we say that "wankery" has been put in the background but skill and emotion in the ear of listeners?
bodomhunter - 22.02.2013 at 07:27  
Nine is average, different from there earlier releases CM music is mvng towards mre melodier side
Wes - 13.04.2013 at 11:58  
I still consider the album excellent. At first I was very turned off, but over the last year I've found myself coming back time and time again. I absolutely love it.
Luneth - 15.06.2013 at 02:59  
It's called Nine because "Forging the Architect of Fortune" is one song. Very good album, about 4 reconstructed symphony X songs in truth, weirdly I believe those to be the 4 besides "I am the one". It's a good sound for the band next album will be the best of its year, I think.

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