Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Circus Maximus

The new wave of Norwegian melodic metal has found a worthy representative in Circus Maximus. Very accessible vocal melodies blending perfectly with semi-progressive metal tunes.

Norwegian Circus Maximus became a full line up in 2000, consisting of long time band-mates Michael Eriksen on vocals and brothers Mats Haugen and Truls Haugen on guitar and drums respectively. In addition the band featured keyboardist Espen Storø and Mats' old high school buddy Glen Cato Møllen on bass.

The band has a wide variety of musical influences, from pop/rock to AOR over 70's Prog-Rock to Heavy and Death metal, all of which is melted together and give the guys their unique sound. The melting pot creates a mixture of great melodies, groove, heavy riffs and weird odd time signatures.

After recording 2 demos, which received rave reviews in Norway, as well as in Europe and the states, Circus Maximus hooked up with Danish based metal agency Intromental Management in April 2004, and soon after got signed to the American label Sensory Records.

During summer of 2004, the band completed the song writing for the debut album, "The 1st Chapter", which was recorded in various studios in Norway, and mixed in October 2004 in Denmark at Jailhouse Studios with well-known producer Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, Jorn, TNT, Wuthering Heights) at the helm. The sound is impeccable, the musicianship is out-of-this-world, Michael's voice is amazing (reminding of Tony Harnell, Joey Tempest and Ronnie Atkins), and the songs are simply put outstanding. A superb mixture of classic hard rock anthems and progressive technical bits and pieces. The debut album was released Summer 2005 in Europe through Frontiers Records and the rest of the world through Sensory Records.

In September 2005 Circus Maximus performed at the prestigious ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, USA - and the following year people demanded them to return, which they of course did, bringing along their new keyboardist Lasse Finbroten. In 2005 and 2006 the band played lots of gigs and festivals around Scandinavia with such acts as Jorn, Kamelot, Pagan's Mind and Glenn Hughes.

"Isolate" is their second album, and once again Tommy Hansen was chosen as the guy to mix the album. With an incredible sound and 9 fantastic songs, this is a huge step forward and an album that will put the band high on top of the metal genre.

2007 was a busy year for the band - not only will "Isolate" be released, but the band  also played at the following large festivals: ProgPower Europe, ProgPower Scandinavia, Sweden Rock and MetalHeart + gigs all over Scandinavia and Europe, headlining with local opening acts and supporting bands like Queensryche and Kamelot.

Early 2008 CM went on a 1 month European tour with American Progressive metal band Symphony X as their main support act.
Late 2008, the band is writing new material for their next album with a planned release sometime in 2009.

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