CD Reviews

A.C.T. - 'Circus Pandemonium' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2015    
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As albums go this, for me, is damn near faultless.

Some eight years have passed since Swedish Melodic Progers A.C.T. released their last album 'Silence'. 2014 sees them return with a wonderfully brilliant new release entitled 'Circus Pandemonium'. It's a concept album full of darkly comic tales of how a circus freak is badly treated by an evil ringmaster, which further leads us on to stories of murder, love and true salvation. I first came across this album while reading about it on various Rock forums around the web; the buzz and excitement it was generating was something to witness. And I have to say after hearing it I can now fully understand why this has got people talking. The sheer quality of the songs, story, musicianship and production, is mesmerizing. Everything A.C.T. have achieved on this album is nothing short of genius. Over the fourteen songs, the band have put everything they can into the music, to not only make it a wonderful listening experience but one you'll want to go back to repeatedly.

The songs themselves are all highly melodic, with each of them having a chorus that is not only impressive but catchy and exhilarating in equal measure. The other very impressive thing about 'Circus...' is that even though it's a highly intelligent concept story that keeps you enthralled from beginning to end, each of the songs can be taken out of context from the whole and stand on their own musical merits with ease.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Personally though, I feel this has to be listened to in a single sitting because that's where the album's magic really works its spell; that said there still are a few tracks worth singling out. These include 'A Mother's Love' which is a beautifully arranged duet with some superb guest vocals from Sara Wendelford that subtly moves into the Pop/Prog romp of 'The Funniest Man Alive' where A.C.T. excel in the sheer musicality they pour into the song. Then we have 'A Failed Escape Attempt' which features one of the hooks of the year, the chorus sticks with you and just won't let you go. Elsewhere there's the Funky 'A Truly Gifted Man' which is a song that shows the true versatility of the band and finally for your delectation we have the awesome Prog workout of 'The Lady In White'; a brilliantly heavy yet melodically infused Progressives song that drives home its message like a railroad spike to the brain.

As albums go this, for me, is damn near faultless and why none of the big Rock music labels have picked it up, is both a mystery and a downright bloody travesty. A.C.T are back and on the strength of 'Circus Pandemonium' they are here to stay - Just buy!

Ian Johnson

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