Circus Maximus (Norwegian band)
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Circus Maximus at ProgPower USA 2005
|Labels||Laser's Edge, Sensory, Frontiers|
|Associated acts||Tritonus, Carnivora, Insense, Aeon Zen|
Glen Cato Møllen
|Past members||Espen Storø|
Circus Maximus is a Norwegian progressive metal quintet from Oslo. They employ the use of symphonic and power metal influences that feature synthesizers. As of 2016, they have released four albums, The 1st Chapter in 2005, Isolate in 2007, Nine in 2012 and Havoc in 2016.
Formation and early history (2000–2003)
In 2000 long-time band mates Michael Eriksen (vocals) and brothers Mats (guitar) and Truls Haugen (drums) were joined by keyboard player Espen Storø and Glen Cato Møllen on bass to form Circus Maximus.
Initially being a cover band, they got a lot of positive feedback for their interpretations of technically challenging material from bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X. Before long, the band started to write their own material: With other influences varying from pop/rock through classical progressive rock to heavy metal and death metal, their music synergized into a mixture of melodic and groovy sound with lots of heavy riffs and odd time signatures. In the musical press their sound has been compared to Queensrÿche, TNT, Shadow Gallery, Pretty Maids, Helloween and the like, in addition to the already mentioned bands.
Releasing two demos to great reviews in Norway, as well as in Europe and United States, before signing with Danish Intromental Management in April 2004, the band made a record deal with American Sensory Records for the USA and Canada, which in turn forwarded a licensing deal for Europe and Russia to Frontiers Records.
The 1st Chapter (2004–2006)
Circus Maximus began writing their debut album in 2004 entitled, The 1st Chapter which was released in May 2005. The eight-tracked album contains the longest Circus Maximus song with the title track running for over 19 minutes. The album also came with two bonus tracks.
Half a year later, in November 2005, keyboards player Espen Storø decided to leave the band for personal reasons. In early 2006, Lasse Finbråten (formerly of Norwegian progressive/power metal band Tritonus) joined the band, filling the vacant spot.
During 2005 Circus Maximus went on their first tour with their major performance being in Atlanta in the United States where they played at the ProgPower festival. Circus Maximus then returned to the same festival the following year with their new keyboardist. During the rest of 2006 Circus Maximus continued to play gigs around Scandinavia with other major acts such as Kamelot, Pagan's Mind and Glenn Hughes.
Circus Maximus spent the first quarter of 2007 recording their second studio album, Isolate, which was released on August 7, 2007. Before the release, as a response to impatient and expectant fans, the band established a post on the official Circus Maximus forum where they kept readers up-to-date on their studio-progress. Following the release of Isolate the band went on tour playing at major festivals such as ProgPower Europe, ProgPower Scandinavia, Sweden Rock and. MetalHear. They also went on many solo shows while on the road.
On November 18 the band posted this message in their website: "Circus Maximus will now be entering the studio to start the pre-production of the next album, planned to be released late 2010. We are writing new stuff everyday and so far we have more or less 8 songs completed for the album and we can honestly tell you it sounds AMAZING! Can't wait to show you ;) We would like to thank everyone who have been supporting us throughout the years... you're the best! - Truls, Mats, Lasse, Glen and Michael."
According to the band's official forums, on the 22nd June 2010 Michael Eriksen posted some news on the recording process and said "Yesterday Mats and myself hit the studio to start the vocals on one of the tracks", he later mentioned that "We will have some videos up and running for you in a bit".
The third album, called Nine was released on 1 June 2012. The band described the album as being both more melodic and more dynamic than their two preceding albums.
- Michael Eriksen – vocals (2000–present)
- Mats Haugen – guitars (2000–present)
- Truls Haugen – drums, screaming (2000–present)
- Glen Cato Møllen – bass guitar (2000–present)
- Lasse Finbråten – keyboards (2005–present)
- Espen Storø – keyboards (2000–2005)
- Official Circus Maximus Website
- Official Circus Maximus MySpace
- Unofficial Circus Maximus Forum
- Mats Haugen Guitarist of Circus Maximus
- Interview with Mats Haugen of Circus Maximus
- Truls Haugen Drummer of Circus Maximus
- The 1st Chapter @ Frontiers Records
- The 1st Chapter @ The Laser's Edge
- Isolate @ Frontiers Records
- Isolate @ The Laser's Edge