A.C.T – Circus Pandemonium [Japan release] (2014)
And the winner is… A.C.T with “Circus Pandemonium“. Yes, at 0dayrox we think this is the ‘Prog Album of the Year’.
Swedes A.C.T always have been ‘the more Melodic Rock band from the Prog scene’ since its foundation 18 years ago. Their ’99 debut Today’s Report attracted not only progressive fans but also AOR / MR aficionados and still is one of the finest records mixing both genres with class & style.
After a long 8-year hiatus away from the recording studio, this excellent combo returned with the awesome”Circus Pandemonium”, in this Japanese edition featuring a bonus track.
Just like their album from 2003 which told the story about a building of apartments, the band now deliver on “Circus Pandemonium” (their fifth) a new concept album about a circus at the turn of the 20th Century. I’m glad to say that A.C.T sound inspired and adventurous again, with more fresh ideas to keep the listener in a surprise mood.
A.C.T has recharged the batteries and now give us an album of splendour where the fans are in for a treat with prog-rock finesse, stupendous arrangements and melodic lines.
If you are new to the band, think Saga, It Bites, Queen, Kansas, John Wetton / Asia and alikes with a crisp sound, elaborated guitar work, harmony vocals and lots, lots of keyboards.
It would be fair categorize A.C.T as a Neo-Prog band, but they’re much more than that, blending Melodic Rock and even AOR patterns into their musical recipe with ease.
Just listen “Everything’s Falling” as example, driven by a new wave of Swedish Melodic Rock pulse adorned with punchy guitars, fast drumming and layers of vocals courtesy of many guests such as female singers Sara Wendelford and Linnea Olnert.
More melodious proggy numbers like “Manager’s Wish”, “The Funniest Man Alive” or the awesome “A Mother’s Love” reminds me recent wonders (also from Sweden) JONO, while quirky cuts like “A Truly Gifted Man” are firmly planted on the early A.C.T style.
There’s 15 tracks on offer here, but many are short pieces and the entire disc clocks 56 minutes, flowing wonderfully.
The classic A.C.T sound has returned on “Circus Pandemonium”, combining prog and melodic rock resulting in an unique sound & style.
One of the best surprises last year was the band JONO, if you liked them and never heard A.C.T before, do yourself a favor and grab “Circus Pandemonium” immediately.
Marquee /Avalon Japan ~ MICP-11137
01 – Intro
02 – The End
03 – Everything’s Falling
04 – Manager’s Wish
05 – A Truly Gifted Man
06 – Presentation
07 – Look At The Freak
08 – Argument
09 – Confrontation
10 – A Mother’s Love
11 – The Funniest Man Alive
12 – Scared [Japanese Bonus Track]
13 – A Failed Escape Attempt
14 – Lady In White
15 – Freak Of Nature
Herman Saming – Vocals
Jerry Sahlin – Keyboards, Vocals
Ola Andersson – Guitars, Vocals
Peter Asp – Bass, Keyboards
Thomas Lejon – Drums
Sara Wendelford, Linnea Olnert – Backing Vocals
BUY IT !