It had been a piece of news that shook the Metal world: Thomas “Thomen“ Stauch leaves BLIND GUARDIAN! Now he is back with a band that listens to the name of SAVAGE CIRCUS and it is not a bunch of greenhorns around Thomen, oh no, we have Piet Sielck (IRON SAVIOR) on bass and guitars and guitarist Emil Norberg and singer Jens Carlsson, who come from PERSUADER, and if you don’t know, which band rotates in the player, one would say BLIND GUARDIAN without a second thought, around their “Tales From The Twilight World“ time.
As soon as opener “Evil Eyes“ asounds, basically everything sounds like BLIND GUARDIAN, 1-to-1, the guitars, the drums (ok, that is a given) and even more so Jens’ voice, which is indistinguishable from Hansi’s at that time! Now the first calls will come, claiming this to be a copy or a clone, but this is unjustified as they have the legitimation thanks to Thomen (who also wrote some of the songs) and for the other SAVAGE CIRCUS take up a sound that BLIND GUARDIAN have left behind for two albums now.
And from the get-go SAVAGE CIRCUS do not take any prisoners, but let the old days live up (don’t get me wrong, I love the “new days” as well!), the fast riffing, the drumming, the vocals up to the choirs, it is almost uncanny! And it feels weird to hear exactly this sound from a different band, with all quality…
But on “Between The Devil And The Seas“ they thankfully leave this formula a bit and uses straighter riffing and continues this on “Waltz Of The Demon“, but without breaking out of the overall context by also incorporating some influences from the IRON SAVIOR direction (hi, Piet!) and helps me to get out of this pickle, because as much as I love the sound of BLIND GUARDIAN, the whole thing sounded a bit too perfectly rebuilt. And also after this they combine BLIND GUARDIAN with some IRON SAVIOR, which creates an even more appealing symbiosis on “Tomorrowland”, equally relieveing and absolutely enthusing my ears!
After that they go back to BLIND GUARDIAN, even though the pre-chorus of “It - The Gathering“ does sound a bit different again, while the bombastic ballad “Beyond Reality“ simply sounds huge, before the at times double-bass driven “Then Hell Awakes“ ploughs you down, pure BLIND GUARDIAN bliss and I love it! And at the very end the riff thunderstorm “Born Again By The Night“ waltzes us right into the ground!
As far as I can understand, the SAVAGE CIRCUS lyrics, too, are Fantasy, which fits the music very well and will send all the people, who are laughing about BLIND GUARDIAN already screaming. And I do not care, because I love it! The production fits the quality of the music as well, crystal clear and powerful, perfect for this style! And despite my original doubts because of the strong parallels to BLIND GUARDIAN I can only fully recommend this one to all fans of this style, one of the absolute highlights of 2005!
Only negative thing: Apart from the first song everything has been packed into one track, with the song endings and beginnings faded, “thanks” to all colleagues, who made this possible… (Online September 4, 2005)