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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Shadow Circus - 2007 Welcome To The Freak Room
Shadow Circus - 2007 Welcome To The Freak Room

ARTIST: Shadow Circus
ALBUM: Welcome To The Freak Room
LABEL: Progrock Records
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: David Lawrence Bobick - lead & backing vocals * John Fontana - guitars, keyboards * Zach Tenorio - keyboards * Matt Masek - bass, cello, 12 string guitar, backing vocals * Corey Folta - drums & percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shadow Circus * 02 Storm Rider * 03 Inconvenient Compromise * 04 Radio People * 05 In The Wake Of A Dancing Flame * 06 Journey Of Everyman



It's not as if I am pinning my hopes on a return to the golden age of 70's symphonic rock, but if I was a betting man, I'd lay all my aces down on Shadow Circus to help take us on a trip back to the future. As unconventional as it seems, and with modern commercial music played on radio sucking big time, sometimes its the things from the past which sound so good. Hence Shadow Circus, a band hailing from New York that has resurrected what once was a dying breed on the brink of extinction! No Dodo's eggs found here prog fans. Just fantastic musical arrangements that will have you beating a path to your record collection, in search of dusty dinosaurs like Pavlovs Dog, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Nektar and even Aviary for a sense of the offbeat and wacky! The band members bring what looks like an industrial strength array of skills as part of their resume. Musical degrees and classical training are aplenty, while the band have scored a coup with the acquisition of 17yr old wunderkid Zach Tenorio, who has already appeared with Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and John Wetton. Big names indeed!

The Songs
It's a case of the whimsical and fanciful with the opening title track. You can picture yourself wondering around a Circus or a County Fair listening to this on the Ipod! With 'Storm Rider' however, we are transported all over the music spectrum, from Yes like passages to (at times) jazz/fusion induced soundscapes. The piano gets a lot of attention on 'Inconvenient Compromise', initially its a restrained piece that does weave a symphonic tapestry until the final flurry of musicianship right at the end sends this song out on a sonic blast. The band resort to hard rock on 'Radio People', with its stomping arrangement full of organ work and 80's like guitar riffing. The lyrics make for an interesting read, sort of a social commentary on todays environment. Taking us back to a decade or three prior is 'In the Wake of a Dancing Flame', which fuses a psychedelic vibe into the thread of a symphonic rock ballad. Sort of works.. not so sure. The album 'epic' comes with the final tune - 'Journey Of Everyman', which is broken into three segments. At near-on 12 minutes, its a complete meal in itself. Based on the novel 'The Talisman', there are many moments and passages that excite. The moody piano, synth swirls and soaring guitar solos during 'So It Begins' are prevalent. 'Find Your Way' the second phase is more introspective, but by the time we reach phase three 'Journeys End', it is a complete and utter progfest by a band who indeed go out with a bang!

In Summary
One must surely take note of this genre and the reasons why these bands are becoming popular again. Diehard proggies will tell you that prog rock never ever went away, only the fickle music fan did. Along with the likes of Presto Ballet, Black Bonzo, Flagship and others within this sub-genre, symphonic hard rock looks set for a return to form in 2008. GDAZE will ensure that we cover this category in greater detail in the coming year. I look forward to a new set from this outfit in the new year. 'Welcome To The Freak Room', though not a complete classic within this genre is still a good entry, and will hopefully be a flash-point for other like-minded souls to deliver more of this stuff.

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