A typical progressive metal band makes songs, in varied lengths, that go against the norm. Lately that has meant writing songs in odd time signatures or with unorthodox changes. A typical heavy metal band makes songs that blast your speakers and, in recent years, go to the extreme in regards to giving it the band’s all, even if that means screaming at the top of their lungs incoherently just to get the point across. Deadly Circus Fire are both of these in one, and their upcoming album The Hydra’s Tailor is full of heavy metal songs that are progressive in a way I don’t believe I’ve ever heard before.
I can’t pinpoint what I mean though. I mean when I listen to most progressive metal bands – I guess the top one that is always mentioned is Dream Theater – I whether or not I mean to pay attention to it I can’t help but hear all the calculations and complexities that go into their music. With Deadly Circus Fire, if I wanted to pay close attention to the music it’s obvious that they are as tight a band as any progressive band, but when I turn my mind off and just relax and listen, it sounds like I’m listening to regular metal songs, which is great because it makes The Hydra’s Tailor good for just about any listener.
Listening to tracks like Animal, Aeden or the title track The Hydra’s Tailor, for example, you wouldn’t think that Deadly Circus Fire are a progressive band. Sure there are quite a few longer tracks (half of The Hydra’s Tailor’s songs run over six minutes in length) and it’s these songs where the obvious progressive influence lies. Where It Lies is a track with many different subtle changes and a very odd time signature that puts their progressive credibility to the test. Then you have Rise Again, the second longest track on the album and one of two tracks running over seven minutes (the second being the well chosen closing track Universe), which to the avid music fan would just sound like a (pretty good) multi-parted heavy metal song with the right melodies mixed with the perfect volume level, but really Rise Again is a great progressive metal song in disguise.
Not counting the soft intro track In Darkness We Trust and the instrumental interlude Martyrs, only one, Devil’s Opera, song runs for less than four minutes. However it is one of the best examples of what Deadly Circus Fire is all about. It is at times sullen and creepy, and at times loud and intense, all bottled up in such a relatively short time span considering it takes songs like Turning The Tide and House of Plagues (one of the catchier songs on The Hydra’s Tailor) six-plus minute to get the same message across.
Adam Grant has one of the better screaming voices that I can think of (if you’ve read my past reviews you may know I have a low opinion on screaming.) The screaming adds to the uniqueness of just how well Deadly Circus Fire can go from one side of the spectrum (smooth and dark) to the other (full on metal) even though at times I wish there would be more concentration on melodies than screaming. That being said, The Hydra’s Tailor still has tracks such as Rise Again, House Of Plagues and Animal which I wouldn’t have any other way. Only their second full length album, Deadly Circus Fire sound like they’ve been making albums for quite some time which is why The Hydra’s Tailor is surely an album for competing metal bands to watch out for. It left a pretty good first impression on me, and that impression did successfully grow with each listen which is why I feel comfortable saying this is one of the best metal albums written and recorded so far this year.
“Animal” – It’s progressive in its own right, but when it comes down to it Animal is just a straight up metal song that I can’t help but believe most would find to be the best, or one of the best songs from The Hydra’s Tailor right up there with House of Plagues (which can be viewed at the top of this review.) I think Animal would be the track that would get most new listeners intrigued to listen to the rest of Deadly Circus Fire‘s stuff.
8 (Out of 10)
|1||In Darkness We Trust||Deadly Circus Fire||2:32|
|2||Animal||Deadly Circus Fire||4:25|
|3||Where It Lies||Deadly Circus Fire||6:44|
|4||Victim||Deadly Circus Fire||6:02|
|5||Devil’s Opera||Deadly Circus Fire||3:49|
|6||Rise Again||Deadly Circus Fire||7:31|
|7||Martyrs||Deadly Circus Fire||1:46|
|8||House of Plagues||Deadly Circus Fire||6:44|
|9||Aeden||Deadly Circus Fire||5:20|
|10||The Hydra’s Tailor||Deadly Circus Fire||3:59|
|11||Turning the Tide||Deadly Circus Fire||6:07|
|12||Universe||Deadly Circus Fire||7:43|