Circus Maximus - The 1st Chapter

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Sensory
Catalog Number: SR-3026
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:37:00


What is it?

I am struggling with reviewing prog-metal these days. It seems that every disc I receive features another band suffering from an identity crisis. Artwork that stands on its own merits is one thing, but seemingly random images (testimony to someone's creativity to be sure, but incongruous nonetheless), are the hallmark of much of the material I receive. Did I miss the memo saying that in order for a band to be progressive, the package has to engender confusion and dispel any notions of continuity? Why can't these bands get their concepts together? The message has to match the music and vice versa -- art for art's sake is a passé notion and anyone who says they are making music for music's sake is lying. We are all selling something or another, and we all have to work to eat. Let's be honest about it.

Oh yeah ... the artwork and package ... where was I? Right. I like a good clown on a unicycle picture as much as the next guy, and hey, there needs to be more desert scenes on the cover of albums - particularly if there's a book partially uncovered in the sand...


What it is:

This type of music, while superbly executed, lacks identity. Dream Theater have a lot to answer for, and bands like Circus Maximus are fitting recompense for the decade-plus paragon-worship hyped since Images And Words arrived on the scene.

Superb, technically astonishing musicianship, stellar production, absolutely brilliantly executed -- and every single chord progression, vocal line, keyboard effect, akimbo-off-kilter-odd meter excursion, guitar tone, bass drum roll, lyrical and conceptual effort, everything, in short, is derivative -- many bands do it far worse than Circus Maximus; nevertheless, they are a sliver off the slab.

It doesn't matter whether or not the riffs aren't copied note for note, or the concept isn't exactly the same, it's the fact that the end result will be compared to Dream Theater because the intent is the same.

You can't make this type of music and not have it compared to DT because they did it first, and best, and have continued to do it well throughout their career. There isn't room for another Dream Theater.

Rating: 4-/10 [or 2/5] (the minus is for the unabashed Klaus Meine-Teutonic-dominant emasculation of English)


There's a reason why Dream Theater is still relevant. It's called a unique identity.

Also released by Frontiers (FR CD 240 )

Sin (5:53) / Alive (5:38) / Glory Of The Empire (10:27) / Biosfear (5:22) / Silence From Angels Above (4:07) / Why Am I Here (6:05) / The Prophecy (6:44) / The 1st Chapter (19:07) / Haunted Dreams (bonus track Europe) (7:12) / Imperial Destruction (bonus track USA) (6:45) / Marion (bonus track Japan)

Michael Eriksen - vocals
Truls Haugen - drums
Espen Storø - keyboards
Mats Haugen - guitars
Glen Cato Møllen- bass

First Chapter (2005)
Isolate (2007)
Nine (2012)
Havoc (2016)
Havoc In Oslo (2017)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NO

Added: July 25th 2005
Reviewer: Jan-Mikael Erakare
Artist website:
Hits: 1235
Language: english


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