"Progress Records have a knack for discovering
solid European progressive rock bands, and Sweden's Soniq Circus are
certainly no exception. Their debut self-titled CD is a melodic, symphonic,
and often times hard rocking good time. While influences such as Saga,
Dream Theater, Genesis, Yes, and Rush (especially the vocals) can easily
be heard, the band sounds like they are trying hard to find and define
their own style. Crunchy guitar riffs, intricate drum work, and vintage
prog keyboard sounds permeate the upbeat "Bright Future",
which sees lead singer Calle Lennartsson and guitarist Marcus Enochsson
really working hard at delivering a truly layered and harmonious vocal
attack, driven home by the heavy prog arrangements. There's a certain
playful, almost pop underpinning that you can hear on each piece which
almost reminds at times of Spock's Beard or A.C.T., that despite the
rocking edge the band conveys there's always a lightheartedness that
adds a special warmth and charm.
Mathias Beckius drops in plenty of Moog &
Mellotron sounds on the atmospheric "Revolution", and he
does his best Tony Banks impression on the lovely "An Idiot",
painting the song with tasty organ, synth,
and string textures while Lennartsson delivers a powerful vocal performance.
Stay strapped in though,
as the band kicks it into high gear at the midway point and rocks out
pretty hard to finsih out the tune.
This piece is one of the four songs on the CD exceeding 8 minutes in
length, and the band is proving
early on that they can handle the epics quite well. Enochsson's lush
acoustic guitar evokes pastoral
images during the intro to "Chain of Consequences", but the
song quickly becomes a symphonic, almost progressive metal number, featuring
crunchy guitar riffs, stabbing synth lines, and the tight grooves from
drummer Christer Ugglin & bassist Markus Milsson. The CD ends with
the bombastic "Colliding Stars", a heavy number led by Enochsson's
beefy riffs and searing lead lines, plus the Jon Lord-ish organ tones
from Beckius. It's a real gem and a great way to close out the album.
For a debut, this is some pretty impressive stuff
here. Soniq Circus have all the tools to play with the
big boys on the modern prog scene, so it will be interesting to see
them grow and mature as a band
from this point on. If you like symphonic prog with a hard edge, this
will be a no brainer purchase for
you and comes highly recommended."
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars
SEA OF TRANQUILITY
"Soniq Circus is an excellent mix of seventies
symph rock and more modern elements."
" Debut album from a new Swedish band which is clearly 70s
orientated, focusing on the Pomp/Progressive Rock kind of side that
shows influences from YES, KING CRIMSON, CITY BOY, SAGA and does remind
therefore a lot of their fellow countrymen of A.C.T. and BLACK BONZO.
band to check out if you're interested in this kind of prog, which is
very melodic and richly filled with melodic vocals, hooks, choruses
and harmonies that even reveal STYX influences. A song like Welcome
for example is sounding like a true late 70sPomprock sounding classic!
has a real late 70s American kinda sound that reminds one of bands like
ALL SPORTS BAND, STYX, AVIARY, ROADMASTER, STINGRAY and such, with a
slight updated approach a la ACT. On the other hand there are also clear
Neo-Prog kinda tunes a la FOR ABSENT FRIENDS/SYLVAN, so something for
everyone here. All together a must-have if youre into both Pomp
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 points
"How can one describe the music of A.C.T or Beardfish? Entertainment
Hmm, all the same. In any case ones hit their compatriots of Soniq Circus
a completely similar way,
however substantially less catchy and also somewhat better and completely
without metallic guitars.
In the instrumenting Soniq Circus strike into the same notch as Beardfish.
Vintage keyboards provide
for a pleasant background, which creates a smile on my face. Hansi Cross
of Progress Records seems
to have a golden touch when it comes to find interesting prog acts.
The music that the Swedes make is
fun and offers alternation. Result: A cool, relaxed album. Good Songs.
Fans of Beardfish and A.C.T gets, with Soniq Circus, another band with
Rating: 4 stars
"Sonic Circus, are yet another progband
from the great Progress Records label and it honestly took me a while
(read: quite many listenings) to get into Sonic Circus´s special
music form, delivery and production to realise that this is yet another
pearl signed to said label! They have a somewhat harder edge (and rough
production) to get by. But once you do, you are greatly rewarded and
to stay in the terminology, you find yourself seated in the frontrow
of the Circus, where the sonic creatures bares and unfolds themselves
one after another! From the build up in the first track: Overture
to the strangely addictive and great Welcome. Mind you,
this is not an album of smooth, slick or silky production, this is somewhat
raw edged powerprog (but not at all in the vein of progmetal!!)and I
imagine they are superb when performing this album live!! Track #4:
Revolution proved to be a track that I really love and cherish,
with its punctuation rhythm and some great guitars, bass and vocals,
An Idiot are quite the pop track here, and a good one at
that!! Chain of Consequences is the real treat on this fine
album, clocking in at some 8.58 minutes, with brilliant moog sequences
and some elaborate heavy intro theme, not unlike the Beatles : I
want you / She´s so heavy..but only brief, then things move
in several other directions!
So after all, a great album from Sonic Circus and another feather in
the hat for that great proglabel: Progress Records!!
You guys take a bow, you really are quite amazing when selecting new
and exciting progbands!!
And finally, next time this circus are in town, be sure that you attend!!
I for one will certainly be there!!
Sonic Circus are a a real treat, for everyone who likes his prog music
hard edged and still with beauty!!
I'll leave you with the final track: Colliding stars in
which the lyrics state: In a Slightly different Universe, we´d
share a common vision! and thats exactly what we do, progheads
alike, share a common vision!!
Order your seats now, to a Circus that has great
vision, but most of all a circus that delivers the sonic surprises,
that you thought were obsolete!!"
Rating: 4 planets
"Although this is only their first album,
the musicians of Soniq Circus seem to have a beautiful future in head
of them. It will be a wonderful discovery for all the fans of progressive
rock and if they improve for their second opus that could become well
one of the important groups of the genre."
MUSIC IN BELGIUM
"For being a debut it is an album that is more than good"
MORE REVIEWS COMING SOON