(6/10) In the old Roman days Circus Maximus stood for power, speed, competition, spectacle and entertainment. In modern life Circus Maximus is a Norwegian prog band that releases with "Havoc" their fourth full-length album.
The new record includes nine new song and after listening to the album a few times I have to say that my level of being thrilled was limited.
There are, without any doubt, good songs on this longplayer. The title track belongs to them. "Havoc" is gloomy rocker that has a pretty straight forward expression. This tune has the right punch and is one of the best ones on the album. Good choice of the band to use this track as being the namegiver for their fourth release.
Another tune that does a good job on the album is „Flames“. It starts with a sphereful keyboard sound that introduce this melodic rocker. What could be a bit stronger is the power that pushes the track to a new dimension. "Flames" is really well-done and shows good ideas, but in the end it partly feels like just ticking over instead of being a warm and powerful ‚flame‘. Things get a bit better towards the end, but still.
In this sense „Flame“ can speak for the entire album. I have to say that this disc does't have more in common with the Roman circus maximus than sharing the same name. Most of the tracks on "Havoc" sound fragmented without any peaks and real highlights. It feels like most of the tunes became deep frozen during the Norwegian winter. Secondly I don’t really know what Circus Maximus stands for. On the one hand it’s more progressive metal riffing and structures, but they are not prog rock and I think that „Havoc“ is miles away from the band's Dream Theater inspiration. Some Petrucci-like riffs aren't enough.
Next to the prog part there are steady hardrock songs on the album, but the guys aren’t real hardrock either and it's too complex for AOR. So, what is it?
The review sounds a bit harsh and maybe my expectations have been too high, but in the end it is what it is. The pity is, that I think the guys could be far better than what you can listen to on their fourth longplayer. But never say never, maybe next time.
The production though is pretty good and gives the album a good energy level. The sounds compensates a bit of the inner disunity on „Havoc“, but in the end the album sounds like a missed opportunity.
- The Weight
- Highest Bitter
- Loved Ones
- After the Fire
Label: Frontiers Music
Genre: Prog Metal
Release Date EU: March 18th, 2016