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Reviews of the new EP 'Ones and Zeros':

The press on the last (double-)album:

Reviews on the first three albums:

Reviews of 'Ones and Zeros':

We did not hear anything from 'Flying Circus' since 'Forth' (2010). The reason for that were several line-up changes. The 28 minute and 6 song EP 'Ones and Zeros' proves that the band built around singer Michael Dorp is a force to be reckoned with again. His voice, which is placed somewhere between Geddy Lee and Robert Plant is most convincing on the almost completely acoustic track 'Follow The Empress'. The Flying Circus sound is still situated between early Rush and Led Zeppelin, yet well mixed with loads of retro-prog and hard rock elements. That's why a violin fits in well with the concept. They even manage to reveal some new and tantalizing angles to the Rolling Stones song 'Paint It Black' with their version. The mini album ends with the layered and slightly oriental 'Back To The City', which is meant to be a glimpse into the near future because the band is planning a conceptual work in this style. We can look forward to that.
ML (Michael Lorant)

7 points out of 10

OK, let’s get all the Monty Python out of the way shall we? And breathe…

Flying Circus are a German neo-prog outfit with four albums behind them who cite comparisons with Rush and Led Zeppelin, and ‘Ones And Zeros’ is an EP appetizer for their forthcoming fifth album.

Amazing isn’t it? Six tracks here clocking in at over 28 minutes – time was when that would be considered enough effort to put an album out…

And a rather fine effort it is. If this is merely the amuse-bouche as it were, the main course should be a progressive rock feast of gargantuan proportions.

As mentioned, six tracks in total and there’s plenty to get any prog fan’s palate whetted.

From the opening keyboard swell and stabbing riffs of ‘Hero In Disguise’ to the closing drum salvoes and terminal Chinese gong of ‘Back To The City’ the band’s take on the neo-prog genre is excellent.

There are time signature changes a-plenty, occasional heavy riffing interspersed with delicate, pastoral acoustic work of the highest order, some great keys and a vocalist who comes across as the bastard love-child of ‘Percy’ Plant and Geddy Lee.

Highlights would have to be a great cover of the Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’ and the rather Radioheadesque acoustic riff of ‘Fire (I Wanna Go)’ which clearly demonstrate a band at one with both themselves and their music.

If there is a downside it has to be with the lyrics – which, on occasion, can be a little twee and awkward. This often happens when bands are writing in a second language but it never spoils the enjoyment of what is a first-rate effort.

No need for that giant foot to come down here then.

Four stars out of five
Alan Jones

Back in 2010 I reviewed Flying Circus' Forth and Back album which I rated highly. Since that release there has been some changes in personnel; the band are now a five piece, Michael Dorp (lead and backing vocals), Michael Rick (electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Roger Weitz (bass, mandolin, backing and additional vocals) remain within the band, the additional new boys being Ande Roderigo (drums and percussions) and Rudiger Blomer (keyboards, distorted violin, psaltery and devil’s mill sequencer).

For me Ones and Zeros is a perfect opportunity for Flying Circus to fine tune their new line up, not that the band need much fine tuning in all honesty. In fact, what I would say is that as a band they have got it spot on. All the songs here have a slight story; they have all been specially written for this release with the exception of the Rolling Stones cover Paint it Black, originally recorded in 1966 for their fourth album Aftermath; a song the band have used to bond, which is preceded by a short, moody and atmospheric instrumental, The Red Door, a title lifted from the opening lyrics of the aforementioned song. The song may be all about being heartbroken and hurt, an acclamation, a loud eager expression of why others should not have colour in their lives; Michael Dorp and co have caught that emotion and sentiment perfectly as they put their own interpretation on the song making it still sound fresh forty seven years later. The Red Door is also the first piece this line-up recorded. Just to add note, Follow the Empress is a reworking of a song from their 1997 debut album, Seasons, that again is full of emotive passion that punctuates the acoustic presentations that really shine throughout the piece.

The opening and infectious Hero in Disguise sets the underlying theme of real vs fake, tangible vs virtual and analogue vs digital and also supplies us with the title of the EP. There is the inclusion of some fantastic acoustic work and very nice sounding organ tones that will send a shiver down your spine.

Fire (I Wanna Go) has a bluesy and sharper sound as it swings between electric and acoustic that, to some degree, sits slightly out of kilter with the rest of the tracks here; it is a very good representation of the bands work though, displaying that they aren't afraid to challenge the listener and by no means is it a weak track.

The star of the show though is the oriental inflected Back to the City. This is a taster track that is going to be on their next album, which will be conceptual, the story line following the biography of a fictitious band in the late '60s and the tragic story of the lead singer. Interestingly the song will be re-recorded for the album, so this is a special version for this release? It is here though, for me, that the word play and musical interaction have the greatest impact. I am not too sure how much more you could change this song to make it better in all honesty; as a song it is layered, having depth and character; it is moody, atmospheric and dark, but most of all it is very entertaining.

From what I heard throughout this EP Flying Circus are very cohesive, the '70s rock element is predominant throughout, with overtones of Rush, Led Zeppelin and to some degree Blue Öyster Cult, which is not a bad thing. I am certainly expecting great things from this band on their next release based on what I have heard here; I get a feeling that it might just be something a little bit special..

7 points out of 10

John O'Boyle

Rhinelanders FLYING CIRCUS have been one of the eternal insiders' tips of the German prog scene for more than 20 years. Their current six track EP 'Ones and Zeros' has been released as a self distributed lavish digipak CD limited to 500 copies, and once again it wins you over with catchy, never overly intellectual Kraut-prog numbers, which manage to circumnavigate every possible corny cliff thanks to an unobtrusive, earthy hard rock drive.

Michael Rensen

After their rather successful album "Forth", Flying Circus originally planned to go right ahead, but then it did take some time after all until there was something new by the band to hear. Some musicians left the band, new people came along, the band had to find itself... but now Flying Circus are back with the new EP "Ones and Zeros".

The band now acts as a five-piece, but as there are two multi-instrumentalists on board they are still able to apply big instrumentation in the studio at least. Especially new guy Rüdiger Blömer who played with Roger Weitz before in the past broadens the band's sound by his enchanting handling of the violin.

Things kick off with a juicy rocker starting with an incredibly dynamic Led Zep groove gradually transforming into a rich sympho rocker. "Hero in Disguise" is a great song which skillfully loosens up its 70s hard rock by employing a few modern elements and some proggy passages. The following "Follow the Empress" is a re-recording of an early Flying Circus song carried by acoustic guitar and singer Michael Dorps intense vocals. In general, the soundscape is often dominated by virtuoso Michael Rick's acoustic guitar playing, which adds a lot of character to the songs.

After a little ethno interlude, the band then plunges into an impassionate version of "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones. Nobody needs cover versions - - except this one... the wild violin solo alone is worth the effort. The band wanted to use this "mutual friend" in order to get to know each other and adjust oneself to one another musically, and what emerged from this process is the secret highlight of this EP. After this, there is the relaxed "Fire" - a gentle song with slight blues overtones and a fiercly rough chorus providing an interesting contrast to the rest of the song. "Back To The City" closes the EP with heavy rock grooves, oriental guitar melodies and a successful dynamic which releases its tension with a lot of power through howling guitars and tribal drums. A worthy conclusion. At the same time, "Back To The City" is an appetizer for the next full Flying Circus longplayer which is meant to be a concept album.

This overhauled version of Flying Circus decidedly signals: "we are back", and despite all 70s overtones and the inevitable Led Zep and Rush associations that spring to mind because of Michael Dorp's voice, the band sounds more original than ever. Rock on!

Thomas Kohlruß

By releasing the EP "Ones and Zeros", Flying Circus are sweetening the waiting period until the next longplayer for their fans. As usual, the group featuring singer Michael Dorp does not prefer the highway's fast lane tempo-wise but applys a rather moderate approach instead - yet they operate all the more playful and by including progressive elements - as always, the band emphazies aspects of melody and accessability. The cover version of the Rolling Stones classic "Paint It Black" can be regarded as thoroughly successful - an undertaking which can easily become a complete flop. To all of those who would like to check out the disc, we strongly recommend "Hero in Disguise", and "Fire (I Wanna Go)". "Ones and Zeros" is not the thing for hedbangers, but it is great to help you get your feet back on the ground after a god-awful working day.

Hartl Grill

Three years ago, progressive rock band Flying Circus released their last album to date. The album was almost exclusively hailed with positive reaction, and this was really well deserved, too. A glance at the line-up shows that the band's personnel has changed quite a lot. Fortunately, this does not harm the musical quality, as you can hear on the current EP "Ones and Zeros".

“Hero In Disguise“, Ones And Zeros' covert title track, kickstarts the EP with a rhythmically great intro. Singer Michael Dorp's voice and also the quality of the song remind us of Rush. The track is quite intricate, and the band presents itself as a very multifaceted unit. What is really exiting is the sparing yet effective use of acoustic guitars. We can find this stylistic device in several sections of this EP.

“Follow The Empress“ turned out a very gentle song. Here, the acoustic guitar chords are more prominent and provide an interesting canvas for the vocals.

“Paint It Black“ is a very successful cover of the Rolling Stones classic. Especially the violin solo appearing at the end of the song is a real achievement. I don't really find myself quite getting into the following song "Fire"; this bluesy track somehow does not really fully fit with the rest of the EP.

“Back To The City“ appeals to me much more again. The songs has a slight oriental flavour, and its skillful structure - it is especially the drumming which is terrific - makes sure that “Back To The City“ gets stuck in your head really fast!


Rainer Janaschke

Good TimesProg rock fans who liked the four earlier Flying Circus albums should rush to pick up the Rhinelanders' latest release 'Ones and Zeros' because it is limited to barely 500 copies. The motivation for this "album in between" is the fact that two new musician's, drummer Ande Roderigo and Rüdiger Blömer on keyboard and violin, came to the band. Thus, the five new songs (plus the Rolling Stones cover 'Paint It Black') show the current state of the band, the soundscape mainly getting broadened into the direction of more restrained overtones and acoustic interludes. And as usual with good prog rock, singer Michael Dorp comitted his lyrics to one integrated theme: Polarities like ones & zeros, reality & virtuality, analogue & digital.
Ulrich Schwartz

Reviews regarding 'Forth'/the anniversary box set:

Flying Circus (no dead parrot jokes, please) are a German six-piece. Even though they've been in existence for over 20 years, Forth is only their fourth album. A total 70s throwback, this well-judged concoction of theatrical prog and intelligent hard rock would have been snapped up by the Harvest label back in the day. Imagine Saga crossed with Uriah Heep. Recommended.

7 points out of 10
Geoff Barton (in his ROUND-UP:PROG section)

This is the Bonus Edition which comes as a two CD set, Forth and Back: The Rest Of Flying Circus, featuring thirteen re-recorded songs. As the title suggests this is Flying Circus’s 4th album (...).

The band state their influences as a well mixed version of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Rush, Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, The Tea Party, Porcupine Tree, and Muse, which is quite an impressive list, and is right on the money, in some places it is very obvious that this is the case.

Forth is an album that I have played several times, something just keeps drawing me into what has been created here. The band has been very effectual and clever with both their lyrical content and their musical approach, which is the thing that keeps pulling me back, having me pressing the repeat button. In saying that, there is a real air of familiarity with what has been created sound wise, as you can hear distinctive musical passages, from the bands that have influenced them. For me personally this has been one of the hardest albums that I have reviewed so far, it’s that feeling of, I like it, but I’m not too sure why, but I do syndrome.

We have five musicians and one vocalist that make up this band, who in their twenty years have not been prolific in the recording department, but with quality songs like these, the wait between albums can be accepted, as we all know its quality that counts not quantity.

OK clichés over, musically the album works on so many different levels, with the entire band contributing their parts, creating the eleven tracks presented on this album. All the tracks take a varying approach, with no two songs sounding the same, which is always a good start, whether it’s the drums, bass, guitars, keyboards or mandolin, each contribution has been perfectly placed, note perfect, but more importantly, not one instrumental interlude is more important than another, unless it has been allowed, leading me to think that Flying Circus are a band of perfectionists. Even Dorp’s vocals are used very effectually too, adding to the whole package.
The album has a smooth fluent neo prog sound going on, interspersed with other musical genres. Hooks and melodies is undeniably an area that Flying Circus doesn’t struggle with, which is obvious from the outset of the album.
The highlights on this album are many but the outstanding tracks for me are The World Is Mine which starts of the whole affair with its moody atmospheric eastern mystical sounds, strong rhythms, layered guitars, strong bass lines and rigid drumming. Dorp’s vocals really set the song off, as he weaves his magic through the song, building character, having a more than Zeppelin flavour to it. Frik’s keyboard work is very effectually, allowing the song to have a platform to work on, being a very strong opening song. Pride Of Creation is a very strong and powerful song lyrically, making a statement about some of the ‘isms of life, especially racism, meeting it head on with clever lyrics:

“Pride of creation, you call these names. Now who are you?” or “Now don’t you see these others are a lot like you? Now don’t you see that they are human too?”

The music matches the muscle of the lyrical content, which you could just quote again and again, powerful, intelligent and thought provoking. Gelius-Laudam and Rick do a really fine job throughout.

Mad Woman In The Attic takes a similar approach as The Rope; Rick opens the piece with a beautiful and clear sounding acoustic piece, which underpins the whole song. Christine Hellweg adds some additional vocals, giving the whole piece an ethereal and haunting sound. The track builds, having the band working together as one, in perfect unison; it just works on so many levels. The more you play this song the more you discover. Overload has a more basic rock approach with a strong drum line from Kurtz and a repeating guitar rhythm, dealing with a mass killing within a school, where a pupil goes on the rampage with a gun. The rest of the group build on this, keeping it dark and poniant, with what certainly sounds like a riff from Whole Lotta Love. The song closes with a news broadcast from Tagesschau from 20/11/2006, which makes the piece even darker and dare I say engaging. You’re Waging A War the album closer, which is another fine example of what this band can and has achieved, which reinforces what the band are all about, great songs, meaningful lyrics; no, thought provoking lyrics, showing that the band aren’t afraid to tackling and questioning those more taboo subjects.

“You’re scheming without any feeling, you’re leading though you don’t believe in anything you say - You’re waging a war!”

Back has a somewhat naive sound, where you can definitely hear their influences very clearly, Forth somewhat updates this sound, but the influences can still be heard. Even though the songs are naive, the band resisted the temptation to change the compositions on re-recording them, which I tip my hat too, because of the thirteen tracks presented, there isn’t any real what you would call fillers. The songs themselves have class, but do sound basic in places, skirting the more classic rock end of the music scale than progressive, which is not a bad thing. Every band needs a foundation, this is Flying Circus’s.

The guitar work is exceptional throughout, passionate and emotional, which is a theme throughout the album, along with Dorp’s vocal dynamics, which are fitting, powerful, but don’t take over the show. The band obviously know how to write a good tune, leaving me somewhat at a loss as to why they aren’t bigger or better known than they are?

The band have used varying styles of musical approach with The Mover, Long Gone By, Walk Away, Till The End Of Time and The Show Is Over being the stand out cuts. Just A Few Hours is a nice little blues number and Southbound is for me the weakest track, which displays the bands inexperience in song writing, that is comparing it to the other tracks on the album. In saying that, some bands would still love to have a song like this in their repertoire.

All in all this is a nice package, which has been produced well, including some really good pencil artwork, which is very much in the vein of The Plague by Demon taking a similar kind of approach with subject matter, to a degree.

To me this is more or less a perfect album, the only down side for me and being where the rub is, their influences come through too strong at times, which is the only negative I can hand on heart say, I can find. If I was to be honest, this is probably the demon I am fighting, to stop me giving it 10 out of 10. There aren’t any twenty minute plus prog epics here, but what we do have here is excellent.

I asked myself, would I buy this album? The answer is definitely yes. There is something here for everyone. You may even find yourself asking the same question I did. Why isn’t this band bigger than they are?

8.5 points out of 10

John O'Boyle

Opening with some ambient sounds and a military drum, the sound builds into a solid 70s prog rock. The opener “The World Is Mine” starts the album typically, mixing late 70s Rush with eary 70s Genesis. Think a combination of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in 9 glorious minutes. “Draw The Line” is a little heavier, almost harsh by comparison, but the keyboard sounds nod to Yes and Asia.

Even in later acoustic moments the music is a modern take on 70s prog. Solid virtuoso prog. The folkier moments don’t work so well, at times the direction does seem to drift, but things to pick back up.. Inconsistently excellent.

3 points out of 5
Joe Geesin

Flying Circus: Forth • Onward with the fourth disc!
Commemorating the band's 20th anniversary, Flying Circus have released their fourth album – on their own. It is no new realisation that the music biz follows rules which cannot not always be understood and which follow musical substance even less. The guys from Grevenbroich really deserve being able to expose their works to a much wider audience. But that takes a professional distribution and marketing strategy with some money behind it, and bands with their musical roots embedded in the soil of progressive rock sounds are not exactly finding open doors everywhere they go. On the other hand, the prog rock rock genre has been on the rise for the last couple of years - but not every material that is being released by bigger or smaller labels on this field has the potential documented by Flying Circus on their new disc.

During their 20 years of playing together, the six musicians have matured into a remarkably strong unit. It is not easy to describe or categorise their music. Even „Metal Hammer“, „Rock Hard“ or „Eclipsed“ cite big names like Deep Purple, Rush, Led Zeppelin and terms like Neoprog or Hardprog in order to grasp the whole spectrum. And admittedly, the fact that the music press has to be cited here mirrors the reviewer's difficulty in formulating his own impression. But this definitely has to be viewed in favour of the musicians and their work. Although its influences do shine through clearly, the band is extremly good at creating its own kind of music. Equally at home in the field of 70s hard rock as in more progressive waters, the band searches and manages to find its own sound. This encompasses a spectrum ranging from bombastic-overwhelming parts to more lyrical passages, and unites almost compact rockers with epic songs, which never lose their tension. Complex compositions, harmonic breaks and strong melodies mould the sound. Singer Michael Dorp, who is also active as frontman of Led Zep tribute band Mad Zeppelin, adds another distinctive feature with his unique voice. The lyrics of the driving and passionate „Overload“, sporting a nice quotation from the „Whole Lotta Love“ riff, or those of „You’re Waging A War“ deal with themes like rising violence and shooting sprees at schools or the profiteers of our economic system. „Forth“ unites eleven multi-layered songs to form an extremly strong album.

Amir Shaheen

There are things on this planet which are still unexplored and which never could be explained to the full – the Easter Island's secrets, crop circles or some label bosses' thinking. It simply is a mystery that these gentlemen have ignored Flying Circus so outrageously and so permanently for twenty years. Because when it comes to progressive rock, this group is one of the greatest of its kind: Fat guitars, magnificent solos and a singer who works his vocal chords in perfect Robert Plant style, send us back to the glory days of the Seventies when the harder side of rock found ist feet. Flying Circus celebrate music for grown ups – regarding both the songwriting and the lyrics. The six-piece deals with political themes like racial hatred or dramatic events like shooting sprees at schools – represented for example by compostions like 'Pride of Creation' or 'Overload'. Accompanying the album "Forth", there is a bonus disc called "Back" which commemorates the band's anniversary and which presents us with hitherto unreleased songs from the group's whole career. Whover only remotely has a taste for progressive rock, simply has to snatch at the offer.

8 points out of 10
Hartl Grill

You really have to ask yourself how the hell it is possible that a first class band like hard rock-/prog-combo Flying Circus still is not being backed by a professional label after 20 years. The band offers everything rock fans appreciate: smoothe, fluent prog rock somewhere between Saga, early Deep Purple and Coheed and Cambria; a singer, whose vocal abilities sometimes are evocative of canadian insider act Mindstorm, beautiful melodies and arrangements on a high level. In order to worthily celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band, the regular album (eleven songs/59:52 min.) is even accompanied by a bonus CD (13 songs/71:50 min.).

6 points out of 7
Andreas Schöwe

From the 'Dr. Prog' section: (...) Rhineland-based band FLYING CIRCUS has turned even ten years older than RPWL just now, and this birthday, too, is being celebrated by the release of a double decker. In addition to a CD with hitherto unreleased early songs, the 'Back & Forth' box contains the new studio album 'Forth', which yet again shows these gentlemen's ability to mix krauty prog with experimental hard rock in the Led Zeppelin vein.

7 points out of 10
Michael Rensen

Thirteen years ago, a German band called Flying Circus released its debut "Seasons" which came across as a mix somewhere between Led Zeppelin, Rush and neoprog. Two further albums followed. In due time for its 20th anniversary, the band now comes back with a fourth recording which – rising up to the occasion – presents itself somewhat more luscious than its predecessors: a 2 CD box set. But there is a lot of catching up to do after all. While 'Back' lives up to its name by presenting songs from 1989-1995 (all re-recorded or even cut for the first time), 'Forth' consists of completely new tracks which yet again display this band's quality and especially its finesse of being able to oscillate as effortlessly as as effectively between hard rock and prog rock. From the rather bombastic opener "The World Is Mine" with its many twists and turns up to the straightforward rocker "You're Waging A War", the Flying Circus takes us on a ride to a world full of wonderful attractions. There is the fervour of 'Pride of Creation' for example and the playfulness of 'In The Mo(ve)ment', which, introduced with acoustic guitars works itself up into an enthralling guitar solo. This band truly is on par with all the aforementioned acts that its strives to follow!

7 ponits out of 10
Similar to: Led Zeppelin, Rush
Carsten Agthe

Good TimesWhat a nice idea by this hard prog band from Grevenbroich to commemorate its 20th anniversary by releasing a little box containing the new album FORTH (yes, it's only the fourth one!) as well as a bonus CD called BACK which contains re-recordings of songs from the early days of this sextet – the wild years so to speak or the debut before the debut. These songs have a unique charmingly naive streak as Flying Circus themselves readily admit. Even former companions were tempted to re-join the band for the recordings. Remarkable: The old material ('Walk Away' with its 'No Quarter' feel for example) almost sounds even more like Led Zeppelin than the new songs, although the riff to  the killing spree song 'Overload' on FORTH shows definite parallels to 'Whole Lotta Love'. After all, these guys featuring singer Michael Dorp, whose voice still artfully alternates between Geddy Lee (Rush) and Robert Plant, have never made a secret of who their idols are. In spite of this, Flying Circus's songs come with ample independence and originality. As long as there are bands like this one, we don't have to worry about the state of Classic Rock in Germany.

Stefan Oswald

Progressive rock all of a piece – that's what the Flying Circus featuring singer Michael Dorp present us with. Musicians in their best of spirits take us to the timeless world of power and bombast rock with driving riffs. Like a purple Zeppelin, electric guitars and keyboards are trying to outrock each other. Then there are more measured passages providing us with air to breathe and cosmic, dreamy folk sounds. Oriental parts mix with psychedelic passages. Tenderness and melody collide with super-heavyweight riffs. That's how rock becomes cult. Depth triumphs over shallowness. There are no particular songs to check out first: Listen to all of them in their entirety.

Christian Schöning

Grevenbroich-based band Flying Circus have now been up to their tricks in the German prog rock scene for twenty years. What better reason could there be to release the new album Forth paired with a CD containing re-recordings of old songs? The second CD is called 'Back' and thus makes the package a beautiful anniversary edition.

Flying Circus's music is not that easy to describe. Imagine a mix of Rush, Led Zeppelin, early Deep Purple and a little King Crimson. That should hit the mark quite well. All of the songs are being delivered incredibly professionally. I am more than puzzled that this band is not backed by a proper label.

Forth starts with “The World Is Mine“. This longtrack convinces with a clever construction, oriental arrangements and melodies other bands would kill for. “Pride Of Creation“ is a relatively straight rocker with very beautiful guitar leads. These two songs are the album's highlights for me, but that's not to say that the other songs are not as good. On the contrary. On Forth, you will find eleven very cool progressive rock songs.

The second CD manages to keep up the level of Forth. Back presents Flying Circus in a somewhat different light however. The band comes across even rockier and perhaps a little more ingenuous. The Led Zeppelin and Rush roots are more visible here. What really wowed me was "The Mover", a rock song with dramatic guitar riffs and the perfectly congenial clarion vocals. Great! “Southbound“ surprises us with a saucy shuffling rhythm and shows how wide the band's musical spectrum is.

Back & Forth is a must for everyone who likes progressive rock music.
Unreserved recommendation!

18 points out of 20
Rainer Janaschke

In the wake of its 20th anniversary, the band from North Rine-Westphalia yet again convinces us with a well balanced mix of retro rock and symphonic progressive rock. Although Flying Circus are quite bluntly harking back to the hard-rocking past, their version of rock exhumation sounds fresh, honest, congenial and above all extremely effortless.

How come - or rather: what is it that Flying Circus are doing right? The band never gets lost in over-complex and over the top or clichéd arrangements - although the album starts with an opener of lush 9.5 minutes called "The World Is Mine". But first and foremost it's the right groove, paired up with catchy melodies, which is so convincing. Front man Michael Dorp has a highly recognisable voice, and his five instrumental companions know how to practise their art in a way that supports the whole group while remaining very effective in their own right. Be it with unobtrusive keyboard sounds in the most different colours of sound or with fierce, yet never too heavy riffs – there's never anyone trying to overshadow the rest; the band always functions as a whole entity while still showing exactly the right degree of musical dexterity in the details.

You will not find many bombastic instrumental passages here, but instead, the solos are precise and straight to the point. Additionally, the instruments get employed very variedly, so in addition to the electrified side of things, there is also room for mandolin or oriental sounds with a slight Led Zeppelin tendency. At times, Flying Circus's very original mix also leaves the confines of the narrow prog niche, which makes the band worth checking out for a much broader audience. With "Forth", Flying Circus are once again presenting us with a more than successful album, which would have deserved much more buyers in a more just music world. "Forth" is also available as a deluxe edition called "20th anniversary box set" containing the bonus CD "Back" with 13 additional tracks which were hitherto unreleased although written between 1989 and 1995, and which are more rooted in straightforward rock (there is "The Heat Is on", a song clearly influenced by Ted Nugent’s "Stranglehold", for example).

11 points out of 15
Kristian Selm

Flying Circus from Grevenbroich have released their fourth studio album 'Forth' in order to commemorate the band's 20th anniversary. During these 20 years, the line-up of the band has stayed remarkably consistent - only the keyboarder's post has seen rather frequent changes, and some of the existing band members have kept changing their instruments. A consistency which is reflected in a certain degree of maturity in the the music on 'Forth'.

It's not that Flying Circus have significantly changed their style (why, after all?), and least of all have the become 'boring' in any way – on the contrary: The music produced by these guys from North Rine-Westphalia even sounds fresher than ever, but it's also somehow very relaxed, effortless – quietly self-contained so to speak. The band is aware of its own prowess. Flying Circus have arrived at 'their' area of music, they are feeling comfortable and they are emanating this pleasurable sensation with a lot of confidence.

Having said this, 'Forth' once more rocks like hell, of course. Flying Circus are very adept at combining 70ies inspired hard rock with complex passages influenced by – yet again - classic progressive rock. And the emphasis is clearly placed on ROCK. Fat guitars with very effective solo trips, vital drumming and a profound bass clearly take centre stage. The keyboards are mostly employed to fill the spaces and convince us with tastefully chosen pads. By not going fully 'retro', as many similar Scandinavian bands do, the band cleverly stresses how fresh and up-to-date its music is. The sextet also displays a keen sense of good hooklines and un-daft melodies; however, and this also is it ever was with Flying Circus, sometimes the choruses come across as a little too catchy.

The fact that 'Forth' shares the same spirit as the band's inspirational sources (mainly Led Zeppelin and Rush) despite mostly circumnavigating the retro slot is mainly due to the vocals. Singer Michael Dorp simply has this set of pipes that sounds like a crossbreed between Geddy Lee and Robert Plant. That's why we often get reminded of these singer's main bands.

Little gimmicks and ideas like spoken word samples, an oriental melody line here and there, guest musicians on flute, recorder and Celtic harp round off the soundscapes on 'Forth' and provide interesting elements of musical charm – especially for proggers' ears. Plus: Flying Circus don't just step on it, but they also deliver two immaculate, un-cheesy ballads that will melt any heart. It is especially the second song 'Draw the Line' that comes as a little surprise as it touches the realms of new art rock with its – to my ears – clearly Barbieri-inspired keyboard-soundscapes.

In order to turn the anniversary into a real feast, the guys from Grevenbroich also decided to accompany the new material with some re-recordings of old songs that mostly hail from the band's early years before the first album 'Seasons'. The musicians left the original arrangements and compositions intact when they re-recorded the songs (although they probably felt tempted to change them). Moreover, the band's ex-members rejoined the fold for this occasion. You can hear all this on the 'Back' CD which is available alongside 'Forth' as part of the '20th anniversary box set'.

'Back' is fun – although the music sometimes perhaps comes across as a little naive or simple. But you can retrace the band's musical progression very clearly, and the musical sources are much more evident with these songs. On 'Back' the band definitely was not all prog-infected and still indulged in hard rock, rock and roll and sometimes even blues rock instead. But this album ROCKS like hell as well, and you can almost grasp how much the band enjoys playing together..

Therefore it is clear: fans (and everyone wanting to do themselves some good) clearly should snap at the chance of buying the full box set, of course. These are both successful albums.

P.S.: The band's earlier, partly sold-out studio albums have been reissued in the wake of the 20th anniversary and are now available again. Tip!

11 points out of 15
Thomas Kohlruß

The Band Flying Circus was founded in winter 1989/1990 in Grevenbroich and combines the worlds of hard rock and progressive rock. The sextet released three albums before this one: Seasons (1997), Out of the Waste Land (2000) and Pomp (2004). The band's trademark is t singer Michael Dorp's outstanding voice which reminds us of Rush' Geddy Lee and von Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant. By recording 'Forth' the group has created a brilliant piece of rock music. Commemorating the coinciding anniversary, the new album has also been released as a deluxe edition containing a bonus CD comprised of re-recordings of hitherto unreleased early works by the band. You can get hold of the CDs via the band's website at www.flying-circus-online.de.

'Pomp' reviews:

This isn't pompous at all - 'refined' is a word that would describe the 11 consistently great Prog-Rock-compositions by FLYING CIRCUS much more fittingly. Listening to Michael Dorp's vocals, Geddy Lee will be a name that will inevitably cross your mind, and you won't need a second listen to notice that FLYING CIRCUS have checked out GENESIS-classics like "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" more than once. These Prog-references from the 70s shine through especially on the more epic pieces like "Bedevere’s Wake“ and „On the Border“. But this is by no means a handicap, and rather highlights the high standard of the 11 original songs'. Among these, the atmospheric "The Climb" and the heavy, almost doom-like "The Lost" are particularly convincing, and there is virtually nothing to bellyache about production-wise as well. Splendid!

Marcel Thenêe

FLYING CIRCUS is a very good band from Germany which plays progressive Hard Rock with loads of influences from the 70s. Fans of early RUSH will undoubtedly love them: The vocals sound like Geddy Lee's, and the band plays interesting compositions, which encompass both ballads and hard rock. The band has released a total of three highly recommendable CDs.

Georgios Sidiropoulos

FLYING CIRCUS is one of these bands which really should do better than being an eternal underground tip. At any rate the Germans still cut their own path unflinchingly, and don't get tripped up by the usual troubles of an aficionado band - like being seperated by open ground, the balancing act between job and music or a label that isn't really able to help. As to the musical direction, there are no fundamental changes here, the band still sounds like a more progressive version of LED ZEPPELIN to me, which apart from the vocals can mainly be attributed to the guitar work as well. Sometimes, oriental ("Bedevere's Wake") or even Latino-overtones ("Nothing to Hide") are interlaced into the material - which is all done very skilfully and without ever coming across as arty. The band acts very much in support of the songs and offers its listeners about seventy minutes of professionally produced music.

Renald Mienert

A good CD with 11 tracks offering rock music in its broadest sense, as there are some quieter passages, too („The Climb“ and „Carpe Noctem“). Singer Michael Dorp has got an interesting voice somewhere between feminine gentleness and masculine virility. A varied record with well played music, great guitars and a beautiful booklet on top.

K. Michael Köhn

"Pomp" is a record that gave me a rather hard time at first. This probably is mainly due to the fact that the opener "Open Up" is the song that I like the least of all the album's tracks. But the unorthodox arrangement of "On the Border" with its sort of anti-climax in the middle, from which the song rebuilds its tension, brought the final breakthrough. What is also great about this track are the beautiful, almost sublime keyboards and piano lines. And then there was the ingenious "The Lost", bringing together heavy BLACK SABBATH riffs and atmospheric Progressive Rock.

In addition, it took me a little time to get used to the vocals of singer Michael Dorp. He really sounds a lot like Geddy Lee (about the end of the 70s, a phase I didn't like Geddy Lee that much) with a hint of Robert Plant. But this voice suits the music beautifully, and there really is nothing at all to criticise about the vocals regarding range or intonation.

However, the voice is the main reason for the equations you'll inevitably make when desribing the music: FLYING CIRCUS confess to be fans of 70s rock music and try to combine the Hard Rock of that period with the playfulness of Progressive Rock. So you are bound to draw comparisions to RUSH or LED ZEPPELIN... and you are absolutely right in doing so.
The guys pass with flying colours when it comes to putting this theory into practice. All songs, the ballad-like, folky "Carpe Noctem" aside perhaps, breathe this warm retro sound that immediatley reminds us of the aforementioned bands or sometimes perhaps also of URIAH HEEP or BLACK SABBATH. But these comparisons are only meant to illustrate what the band does, because FLYING CIRCUS add so many inventive ideas to their songs and bring in so many playful twists, that the music comes across as highly original. By cross-breeding these musical styles the six musicians create a really interesting mix of Hard Rock and Prog-Rock. "Bedevere's Wake", for example, has a slight YES-touch, while "The Climb" carries some GENESIS overtones. The band itself calls this "Hard Prog", and this really is a rather fitting description.

The mostly rather broad compositions often offer symphonic rock music enriched with a pinch of heaviness and a lot of groove. In between, there are always some folky acoustic moments to liven things up ("The Climb). This is music which is just a lot of fun and provides intelligent entertainment that doesn't wear off. Time and again, breaks, changes of mood and neat instrumental gimmicks supply variety without asking too much of the listener by too much complexity or an overwhelming thunderstorm of breaks. And yet there are a lot of really breathtaking instrumental parts. In addition to the guitars, it is especially the cleverly applied keyboards that have to be mentioned. There are many piano-parts, but also some beautiful spheric sounds and even the odd solo here and there.

The only real thing to criticise might be the build-up of some of the songs, which sometimes overemphasise the choruses, which then sometimes cannot fully keep up with the excellent level the rest of the album has - the prime example for this being the opener mentioned earlier.

In the meantime, "Carpe Noctem" brought FLYING CIRCUS some degree of success at the "German Rock and Pop Awards 2004", where the band was voted one of the best eight song acts of the year. "Pomp" can be highly recommended to all fans of good, fresh and sophisticated rock music with a slight retro touch!

Thomas Kohlruß
Songs to check out first: The Lost, On the Border, The Climb
Can be compared to: RUSH, LED ZEPPELIN and loads of other 70s icons with a fresh sound
Score: 11 out of 1

It took ages to review this CD. It was good. Then it was very good. Then… holy moly Mary, these guys are great! It just needed to be listened to one more time – and one more…

The first impression of Pomp is “RUSH, with the texture and layering of the best of the ‘70s”. But FLYING CIRCUS is no copycat, and that misleading RUSH impression is largely because the vocals recall Geddy Lee or PAVLOV'S DOG’s David Surkamp.

The title may also mislead you, because it isn’t really pompous. Think of QUEEN without the bombast. This is thoughtfully structured music and ranges from acoustics through to hard rock and back again. Rich orchestral lines add depth to the music and occasionally build pleasing crescendos, and there is an interesting mix of retro sounds with growling Hammonds and elegant guitar solos, mixed with shifts into acoustic passages, sampled overlays, and psychedelia and with a pleasing variation from song to song. FLYING CIRCUS claims to play music that sounds like the ‘70s. Well their roots may be deep in that era, but this is contemporary symphonic progressive rock. There is nothing new or earth-shattering here, but it is a refreshing spin on an existing formula, with deep hooks, and it is executed beautifully.

The lyrics are introspective, a bit esoteric, and for a German band, the English language prose is remarkably well written and sung with no discernable accent. The verses have a nice rhythm, and a loose rhyme, and this is one of the few prog CDs where you will benefit from focusing on the words. For example Track #2 is called “Bedevere's Wake” – Bedevere was King Arthur’s last surviving knight, and the song references Lyonnesse - a mythical lost land supposed once to have connected Cornwall in the west of England with the Scilly Isles in the English Channel.

So you listen again, and again… and you focus on the music behind the excellent vocals and you ask yourself... is it really that good? Listen one more time and it’s clear that this one ought be on the top-20-of-2004 list of anyone who hears it. And there's the problem. It won’t be heard by many people because FLYING CIRCUS has no label, and only one distribution channel besides their own web site. There’s no question that with the right marketing, these guys would turn a profit for one of the better prog outfits.

Duncan Glenday
Score: 5 'stars' out of 5

What a fitting and aproppiate title for this CD! The German band FLYNG CIRCUS ventures to create something grand and-progressives with these eleven songs and a predominantly aggressive and adrenalin-laden sound. When listening to the cracking guitars and powerful rhythms, comparisons to RUSH and KANSAS spring to mind first, and at times these energetic and vigorous passages force up to a sheer ZEPPELINesque hard rock.

But there are many quieter moments as well, very impressively displaying the band's half-acoustic tendencies. The keyboard plays an important role: always present, it sometimes paints atmospheric soundscapes as a backdrop for the wild guitars, or it produces pleasing orchestral sounds enhancing the symphonic character of the work. Decent engineering, good ideas and top quality material. These are the main ingrediants of "Pomp".

The downsides? One or two songs somewhat below average and a sometimes a bit static dynamic, which can get a little tiring in the long run. Nonetheless this new FLYING CIRCUS CD is a very accomplished work, that should appeal to anybody who likes to get immersed in a powerful sound or who has grown up listening to "2112" and "Hemispheres" and likes to get reminded of albums of that kind.

FLYING CIRCUS is a German band that is undisputedly influenced by Physical Graffiti-era LED ZEPPELIN - specifically, "Kashmir" - which means the group's sound is decidedly more retro than neo-progressive.

Whether you take a liking to this form of Pomp will hinge upon your impressions of singer Michael Dorp, who postures himself somewhere between Geddy Lee and Robert Plant but comes across more like David Surkamp with a head cold. Michael Rick and Lorenz Gelius-Laudam are both fine guitarists and bassist Markus Erren is no slouch either, as he proves when he picks up an acoustic for the ballad, "The Climb". Roger Weitz adds splendid keyboard touches throughout.

If there is one shortcoming to FLYING CIRCUS, it's the songwriting. Most compositions either are too long or overemphasize weak choruses. True to its title, there is also a fair amount of "pretentiousness". Still, there is enough here to make this effort a pleasant diversion for an hour or so.

Mark Newman

Sound: 3.5 stars out of 4.0
Composition: 2.5 stars out of 4.0
Musicianship: 3.0 stars out of 4.0
Performance: 3.0 stars out of 4.0
Total rating: 12 out of 16

Babyblaue SeitenBeg pardon? This band hasn't got a record contract? They have to produce an outstanding retro hard-prog album on their own and distribute it via the band's website only? Well, sometimes I just don't know what the world has come to!

FLYING CIRCUS deliver a brilliant mix of retro sounds with roaring organs, hard rocking guitars and a gigantic singer Michael Dorp who comes across as a balanced blend of Geddy Lee and Robert Plant. Musically, they are also inspired by the sound of 70s RUSH, but not without displaying almost metal like heaviness in the vein of old BLACK SABBATH at times. This magnificent mixture gets rounded off by a psychedelic streak of the grandest kind. The songs have a symphonic touch, and here "Pomp" seems to be a telling name - meaning nothing else than pomp rock a la QUEEN I and II being detectable in the overall sound as well. Top class!

The band plays very tightly, and the tracks offer great arrangements, interesting twists and an enormously tasteful retro sound which is loads of fun in a raunchy-rocking way. Another feature of this extremely refined CD is the extensive employment of acoustic guitars secretly hinting at LED ZEPPELIN and perfecting the retro atmosphere. I have absolutely no idea why this band, now with its third CD, has not enjoyed more success yet - not only within "our little scene", but seriously: this great record deserves more attention even on a broader scale. Bands like THE TEA PARTY have shown how a group can reach cult status with this brand of highly welcome retro music.

Not in my wildest dreams did I expect a record of this kind to come out of Germany (attention, TOXIC SMILE, ALIAS EYE, SYLVAN and the likes - here comes a band not only able to keep up with your level but also setting new standards on its own prog terrain in Germany).

Stunning album by a fantastic band from western Germany. A must have for all friends of retro prog, which does not sound like GENESIS-YES-CRIMSO etc. for a change. Great!

Fix Sadler
Song to check out first: The Climb
Rating: 11 points out of 15

Good TimesOnce again FLYING CIRCUS master their self-imposed task to combine progressive and hard rock. As cross-breeding LED ZEPPELIN with YES will give you RUSH, the result is not very far from the truth, and singer Michel Dorp's voice will remind you very much of Geddy Lee.

Stefan Oswald

BExemplary and convincing – CD of the week: „Pomp“ by FLYING CIRCUS

Comparisons are always somewhat difficult in music. On the one hand, they can give consumers the opportunity to evaluate if it is worth buying a CD. But this is a double-edged sword: Especially less known bands are often troubled by being reduced to: „Oh, they sound like XY“. FLYING CIRCUS from Grevenbroich have found quite a self-confident and tongue-in-cheek way of dealing with this problem. On the occasion of releasing their new album „Pomp“, the band has published a chart on their website, listing who this progressive rock band gets compared to most often. Leading undisputedly: LED ZEPPELIN. But names like RUSH, YES or URIAH HEEP were also mentioned quite often. One thing should be clear: On this album, listeners have to expect sophisticated, complex rock music with a definite retro factor.

Over the years, the sextet has absolutely made a name for itself in the progressive rock scene, and still the musicians have to distribute their CDs themselves. Bearing that in mind, this album’s quality is all the more amazing. The packaging is utterly professional – many a top band could take a leaf out of this 16-page-booklet. And the album lives up to the high expectations awakened by the beautiful artwork just as the music lives up to the title ‘pomp’. Everyone who is missing splendour and pathos in contemporary rock music, will find it on FLYING CIRCUS’ third album. Epic songwriting, luscious keyboard arrangements and gripping guitar riffs are the features of this CD.

What is nice is that FLYING CIRCUS stick to virtues that almost seemed lost, e.g. applying lots of organ sounds in the songs. In progressive rock, the singer is even more important than in other types of music. In the end, structuring the songs and keeping them together lies with him. FLYING CIRCUS always manage to walk on the tightrope stretched between musical complexity and catchy tunes. Michael Dorp’s crystal clear voice leads the listener through cracking rock numbers (“Nothing to Hide”) as well as laid back ballads ("Carpe Noctem"). Fortunately, he does this in a pleasingly unpretentious way: Sure, there is a welcome pinch of pathos, but Dorp does not come to the fore excessively.

One thing should be clear however: “Pomp” is not an album you can listen to just like that while doing something else. The CD's eleven songs, often more than seven minutes long, are simply to complex to be consumed quickly. For all of those who want a good rock album to display new aspects even when you hear it for the tenth time, however; FLYING CIRCUS will definitely deliver.

Daniel Möltner

At last! FLYING CIRCUS's much longed for third CD has been published! Often, it is the third album which decides if a band will be able to go on or not. But this should not be a question for FLYING CIRCUS after the release of "Pomp" - in fact, the Progressive Rock sextet from Grevenbroich has delivered a masterpiece! Like on "Out Of The Waste Land", the songs display a high degree of compositional power. But "Pomp" sounds markedly more round and homogenous than its predecessors from the productional angle. Incidently: Bassist Markus Erren had to be flown in from Los Angeles for the recording sessions - and the band was very wise to do so, because his fine way of playing fits in extremely well with the sound of FLYING CIRCUS.

Roland Kaschube

It is debatable if calling an album "Pomp" is a wise thing to do, because of the negative connotations of the word, but on the other hand there is some truth in labeling this CD that way, as the music FLYING CIRCUS have recorded here can be filed under Prog Rock - which sometimes could be translated as 'bombast' or 'pathos'. But if 'Pomp' sounds somewhat overbred and decadent to you, be assured: this is something the sextet featuring Michael Dorp on vocals is definitely not. These seventy minutes of music resurrect everything we once found good and approved, and sometimes we still allow ourselves the pleasure of relishing in sounds like these. And it is not only the voice of the singer we find reminding us of RUSH or LED ZEPPELIN, but the whole musical direction of FLYING CIRCUS. Because what was good in the seventies, can not be wrong today. Music with a cult factor is another description for what the band puts on here, sometimes undeniably hinting at GENESIS ("The Climb"), YES ("On The Border") or even SANTANA ("Nothing To Hide"), although especially songs like "The Lost" or "Carpe Noctem" develop a distinctive profile in their own right. This cannot really be called pomp, but is best labeled as "modern retro-prog". But before we rack our brains with more speculation and arbitrary links, we better leave it at that.

Carsten Agthe

Although FLYING CIRCUS chose the title "Pomp" for their new album, there is no need to worry that the band has in any way departed from its "hard prog" style, which is well-balanced between hard and progressive rock. Once again the roots clearly lie in the 70s, sometimes more rocking, sometimes more symphonic, but never pompous in a sense of being blown out of proportion into a meaningless nothing. The band from Northrhine-Westphalia rather sticks to its down to earth grass roots without coming across as stale or outdated in any way.

Singer Michael Dorp sees the album as a "huge step forward", yet "Pomp" is an album that does need some time before it really dawns on you and strikes with its full impact. This time, FLYING CIRCUS get going being a little bit more playful and subdued, but also more thoughtful and contemplative without wearing out the listener with auditory-canal-blocking complexity. Despite sometimes having a length of 7 or 8 minutes, the 11 tracks in all still are layed out as songs, the solo parts or embellishments are tastefully woven into the overall structure. As already was the case with its predecessors, the album time and again gives rise to comparisons to early 70s RUSH, which is not only due to the tone of singer Michael Dorp's voice. But for the most part FLYING CIRCUS definitley sound original and self assured enough to shake off these comparisons with ease.

"Pomp" also lets you rediscover the acoustic moments already used on its predecessor "Out of the Waste Land", as well as having the keyboards mostly employed as a lyrical support which does not push itself forward unnecessarily. Finely playing with different moods and atmospheres has been taken even further, e.g. on the menacingly rising track "The Lost" or on "Shine on", which sports a magnificent melody line and a great solo. In the end, this album shows that a lot of time and devotion was put into its recording, and it easily passes the test of listening to it a number of times: "Pomp" consequently continues the history of high quality releases by FLYING CIRCUS.

Kristian Selm

Reviews zu
'Out of the Waste Land':

Hard Rock & Metal HammerThere are these moments of déjà-vu: A demo CD arrives on your desk and is accompanied by an info sheet that cannot exactly be called modest: It talks of a fusion "bringing together the energy of the hard rock of the 70ies and the artistic approach of progressive rock bands of the same period" and does not only cite GENESIS, JETHRO TULL and KING CRIMSON as influences, but also mentions "LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE and URIAH HEEP" - and "of course all the bands that can be classified as 'somewhere in between' (RUSH, PAVOLV'S DOG, WISHBONE ASH, MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND, NEKTAR...)". Even while putting in the CD you still want to give these gentlemen who have seemingly gotten so above themselves, a landing permission - and then it is the reviewer himself who has finally got to face the harsh reality: "Everything they say is true!" The six FLYING CIRCUS artists mix RUSH-suspectible sounds, PINK FLOYD-like collages and GENESIS/PETER GABRIEL-influenced theatricals with elements of 70ies hard rock and modern metal in such a masterly and professional way, that you cannot help asking yourself over and over: Why the hell are these guys still without a proper deal?

Andreas Schöwe

The FLYING CIRCUS is in town, making us stare in wonder at its spectacular combination of art and acrobatics for a second time. And the new show, "Out of the Waste Land" is even more spectacular than "Seasons", its predecessor. The voice of Michael Dorp now can unconditionally be compared to Geddy Lee's, and the band's mixture of RUSH-style hard rock and GENESIS/YES-like progressive sounds still maintains highly original while the music is flowing much smoother when compared to their debut. In addition to the wonderful atmospheres in "Into the Water", "Turn Around" and "Waste Land", its is the instrumental broadsides in the longtracks "Talk and Thought" and "Holding On" which come across most convincingly and show that FLYING CIRCUS is a band in top form - without any clichés and embarrassing moments. A walk on a tightrope which the band, a few exceptions apart, masters without any trace of difficulty.

Carsten Agthe

Where the hell do these guys come from? Okay, it's their second album. But can it be possibile, that the world of prog hasn't heard about them at all?

FLYING CIRCUS is an outstanding German band playing very 70s-like progressive hard rock that is just as outstanding - albeit with a rather modern sound which comes across rather more American than German. How come? Just a little brainstorming: musically, we can listen to something almost reaching the soundscapes produced by YES, and - if you think of current bands - somewhat reminds us of the American band RELAYER. First and foremost however, there are a lot of parallels to and influences by RUSH (the Gedddy Lee-like vocals ponit into this direction as well). Finest music even regarding shorter and meidum length songs, but better still as to longer pieces: the album's tw songs that exceed the 10 minute barrier are absolutely convincing, full of variations and complex without ever becoming to sterile or regular.

Progressive hard rock rather than progressive metal... and by no means symphonic prog, with a hint or two to the sound of LED ZEPPELIN, without shunning URIAH HEPP, SAGA... and a little bit of FLOYD and kraut rock here and there. Not just a hotchpotch, but very refined and enjoyable, in one pour and in any case executed pleasantly. A beautiful CD to listen to and enjoy without remorse.

Out Of The Waste Land " is the second album by FLYING CIRCUS, the sixpiece from Grevenbroich. And to put it in a nutshell: Whoever likes "Pomp", also needs "Out Of The Waste Land"... and vice versa.

I was first introduced to "Pomp" and then "Out Of The Waste Land", well, almost at the same time to be honest. The record which went sooner into the ear and what's more into the guts, is "Out Of The Waste Land". No doubt about it, the band has progressed quite a bit on its way from "Out Of The Waste Land" to "Pomp": The latter sounds more mature, more playful, quieter, and more grown up. "Out Of The Waste Land"'s assets, however, are a fresh, rough, almost raw sound that is highly addictive, and the band's sheer delight in playing that you can sense.

Perhaps this is alos due to the fact that the opener is more to my likeng than the one on "Pomp": " The Edge Of The World" already is a real rocker wearing this Hard Rock-Retro Prog-guise that is so characteristic for FLYING CIRCUS. The following song "Living A Lie" is another highlight as well, which especially strikes out because of its highly original intro with a bird's twitter that suddenly msyteriously starts to echo the guitar's hookline (thanks to the obliging unknown thrush).

After a short balladesque point of rest ("Into The Water"), there already is another lively rocker called "Turn Around" heading your way and building up more and more to a symphonic-bombastic crescendo. Only the somewhat obtrusive chorus is (yet again) not quite to the band's usual standard.

"See Me Trying" hijacks us directly into the realms of LED ZEP's "Physical Graffitti", just to then suddenly end up in the Scottish Highlands with the folky interlude "Waste Land , 432".

But all this is only the prelude to the magnum opus called "Talk And Thought". Here, the band for more than 13 minutes offers a real feast for the captivated proggie. Acoustic, lyrical parts intertwine with bombastic-agressive outbreakes. And FLYING CIRCUS really get their instruments going here: The guitars are allowed to strum acoustically and howl electrically. The drums spread out a sometimes straight, sometimes tricky, yet always tightly woven carpet of rhythms - supported by the crisp bass. The keys provide us with hissing spheric sounds and elegant interludes. And there even is a mini-Gentle Giant-choir-part.... this song is almost a prototype for the sound melange that is typical for FLYING CIRCUS.

"The Light" then leads us back to the domain of the acoustic ZEPPELIN, just before a wunderulf piano run introduces "Holding On". On the surface, this is a rather quiet number, yet it strikes out because of its subliminal energy that leaves us anxiously siliding from one side of the seat to the other and back again. We almost pray for this pressure to be released, yet the wish does not get granted. The emotional climax then certainly is the church organ part which is accompanied by all sorts of spacy, bubbly sounds and a FLOYD-like guitar. Sublime and mysterious... The solemn rocker "No Reason To Worry" then rounds off this great album beautifully.

To my ears, Michael Dorp doesn't yet sound as similiar to Geddy Lee as is the case on "Pomp", and so the whole album rather has a late-LED ZEP-feel about it. FLYING CIRCUS already celebrate their self-chosen style "Hard Prog" in the most beautiful and convincing way. Somehow the guys from Grevenbroich are masters of the walk on the tightrope between serving the songs and melody on the one hand, but being complex enough on the other, so the proggie doesn't get bored.

While the rather refined "Pomp" is something for the brain, the unpolished "Out Of The Waste Land " amis directly for the heart and guts. But if you in any way like Hard and Progressive Rock from the 70s played in a modern guise, you'll ultimately need both.

Perhaps one further thing deserves to be mentioned: Yet again, the booklet is designed with a lot of passion and professional skill (by singer Michael Dorp), and it shows some very accomplished paintings by guitarist Lorenz Gelius-Dietrich.
Song(s) to check out first: Talk And Thought, Living A Lie
Can be compared to: LED ZEPPELIN, RUSH, YES, PINK FLOYD... well mixed ;-)
Score: 11 out of 15 point

Thomas Kohlruß

Die junge NGZCD OF THE WEEK: Every newcomer group existing for more than a couple of months and possessing any self esteem whatsoever is bound to offer its very own CD sooner or later. Yet despite falling production costs an album of one's one still means selling at a loss for most local heroes. Only a small amount of bands are lucky enough to make a small profit with the works produced by themselves. FLYING CIRCUS from Grevenbroich are among these fortunate ones: Their first album "Seasons" sold so well that it allowed them to finance a second CD with the profit. The result is "Out of the Waste Land". Considering that FLYING CIRCUS still have to be viewed as a local band, this album is unbelievably well produced and professional. The musicians have also attached a lot of importance to the packaging, and thus the CD comes with a beautiful booklet and lavish illustrations. As to the music a warning has to be issued beforehand: People who suddenly develop skin disease when names like PINK FLOYD or URIAH HEEP are mentioned, definitely should stay away - FLYING CIRCUS have committed themselves to 70ies hard and prog rock heart and soul! For people who like this kind of music however, "Out of the Waste Land" is a must. Songs like the opener "The Edge of the World" or the epic "Holding On" have got everything you might like these styles of music for: great guitar solos, wonderful melody lines and finely dosed psychedelic elements. With their second album FLYING CIRCUS certainly do not completely reinvent the whole of rock music but do offer an impressive and self-assured display of fine musicianship.

Daniel Möltner

The Progressive Corner70IES ROCK AND TODAY'S PROG: FLYING CIRCUS have been together for almost 12 years now, and they have just released their second album "Out of the Waste Land". The band was founded by Michael Dorp (vocals), Michael Rick (guitars) and Falco Kurtz (drums) and has been completed by Lorenz Gelius (guitars), Markus Erren (bass guitar) and Roger Weitz (keyboards) over the years. It is not easy to put FLYING CIRCUS into a category - they neither play pure progressive rock nor progressive metal. "FLYING CIRCUS themselves like to call their style HardProg, and perhaps they don't do so without good reason: They have concentrated in fusing together 70ies hard rock with progressive elements of the present in order to create something new and original out of the mixture. Still the band often displays a certain weakness for some good old LED ZEPPELIN, and the vocals supplied by Michael Dorp certainly have a share in that. The very successful cover already displays the fact that these guys from Southern Germany (sic!) do not rely on simple formula, but this of course says little about the musical content of the CD. The opener "The Edge of the World" starts very promising and is quite an intricate piece you will certainly have to listen to more than once. "Living a Lie" is no less interesting, and it is here that you will feel taken back to the 70ies for the first time. "Into the Water" starts with a beautiful atmosphere: Acoustic guitar and gentle vocals play a prominent role ? a number that will invite you to dream. The following number, "Turn Around", also starts quite subdued, and it is here where the 70ies fully come alive - Led Zeppelin could not have made a more successful effort. "See me Trying" is quite a fanciful number that comes up with a great instrumental part round about the middle of the song. The short folk-like instrumental "Waste Land" is then followed by "Talk and Thought"- the longest number of the album by far and a song that pulls out all the musical stops: Sometimes harmonic, sometimes driving, sometimes shuffling, and FLYING CIRCUS do not neglect the importance of melody for a minute! The short "The Light" is less convincing, but then "Holding On", the second track with a duration of more than 10 minutes, is a sheer prog feast: marvellous keyboard sections alloy with powerful vocals and a wonderful employment of acoustic guitar ? really great, you've got to hear this! The last number, "No Reason to Worry", is just as convincing and revives the 70ies completely in a spectacular finale. To sum it up: With "Out of the Waste Land", FLYING CIRCUS succeed in combining the rock of the 70ies with today's prog, thereby creating a piece of work that reminds us of some of the great bands yet still manages to sound pretty unique.

(85 points out of 100)

Werner Watarczyk

Why, hello! Pulling the CD out of the envelope alone lets me suspect that this will prove a very good album: An exemplary info sheet (and a high gloss print at that) and a really elegant CD. The German sextet FLYING CIRCUS from Grevenbroich, perhaps familiar to some of you because of their 1998 Burg Herzberg Festival gig, was founded in winter 1989. The group's first CD was released in 1997/98, and with "Out of the Waste Land" we now face a second effort of this exceptional band.

The credo of FLYING CIRCUS reads: fusion creates something new - HardProg. Considering the sheer variety of influences, it would be an endless undertaking to deal with the individual songs. With its maxim the band has not coined an empty phrase, no... they play their motto. The description "LED ZEPPELIN meets prog rock" (the opener The Edge of the World e.g.) could be applied to most of this CD fittingly, but this would not do full justice to the shifting of moods at work here. Sometimes, the distinct influences of RAINBOW, URIAH HEEP, SAGA, PINK FLOYD and RUSH can be heard. But not only that: The stylistic diversity reaches from melancholic 70ies Hard Rock to genuine prog rock, enriched by elements of blues, folk, psych, kraut and jazz. Some guitar solos (at the end of the opener for example) even slightly recall Iron Maiden ... not concerning the degree of heaviness but with regards to the employment of melody and the rhythm section. If you think all this must result in an incongruous hotchpotch of influences and styles you are more than wrong. FLYING CIRCUS mix all this into a flowing, intoxicating and refreshing cocktail of exquisite rock music. Adding to the great atmosphere are the excellent, somewhat old-school type sound and the artistically immensely commendable booklet, which was completely designed by the band members themselves ... yet another plus point for FLYING CIRCUS. Highlights include the opener The Edge of the World, Turn Around, the folk/psych-soaked opus Talk and Thought and the melancholic and pensive prog-glider Holding on.

One of the prog surprises of the year! This band stands an excellent chance to break out of the underground if it keeps at it promotion-wise at the internet front.

(8 points out of 10))

Markus Weis

Good TimesWith this album FLYING CIRCUS have done themselves two favours at the same time: Musically, they have managed to progress in a very distinctly audible way, and image-wise the band should now be the No.1 of their genre in Germany. The reason why FLYING CIRCUS surpass all other prog rock contenders is perceptible in almost every song: "Living a Lie" is outstanding for its fanciful bird twittering intro and its development into a solid track with a lot of melodic variety. "Into the Water" is a fragile yet very intense ballad while "Turn Around" is memorable mainly because of its hypnotic build-up to the climax in the final part of the song. All this is outdone however by "See Me Trying" where the Middle Ages make their entrance in an unusual yet unusually convincing way. Even Steve Hillage could not have made a better effort at his peak! Likewise, "Waste Land", a delicate acoustic ballad is simply beautiful and convincing with its Celtic touch (great hurdy gurdy employment).


BassprofessorA progressive band that stands by its influences! FLYING CIRCUS play a colourful blend made out of everything that was precious in the 70ies. This includes LED ZEPPELIN, PINK FLOYD, YES, GENESIS, JETHRO TULL, but also Krautrock etc.! This band mixes all of it without so little trouble that listening to their secon allbum is a sheer delight. Sometimes they even seem to be tap dancing or are borrowing a leading melody from a twittering bird. The best number of course is the 13:34 minute long "Talk and Thought" - a piece that can almost be called a symphony! FLYING CIRCUS - a German band with six individual musicians whose ensemble playing is top class. Praise also goes to bassist Markus Erren who keeps spicing things up with his interesting lines.

Roland Kaschube

Heavy, oder was!?And now for something completely different... Sorry, but with this band name I just could not refrain from making a refernce to Monty Python. Yet the band does not even come from England, but from Grevenbroich, and neither are they what you would call funny. This, of course, does by no means mean that you cannot have fun with "Out of the Waste Land". Fans of sophisticated (and mostly very long) prog numbers will definitely like the album, but as I do not view myself as a member of the boys' target group, the only thing left for me to do is to acknowledge them a sound and absolutely internationally competitive performance within their genre. Whoever finds him- or herself liking bands like KANSAS or SPOCK'S BEARD, should perhaps give this home grown band a chance. Why look further away then neccessary?

Martin Brandt (8 points out of 12)

EmpireWOW! I already had the honour of reviewing FLYING CIRCUS's debut album, and back then I could not help noticing very clear 70ies influences by the likes of LED ZEPPELIN oder DEEP PURPLE. You can still hear this on the new album, but it has become definitely less marked. I noticed immediately that FLYING CIRCUS have progressed - and I like htis very much! The compositions simply sound much more elaborate compared to their debut. Not only is there more originality - somehow everything is much more energetic. A distinguished mark maintained is the unique voice of singer Michael Dorp. Sometimes you are not quite sure whether there is a man singing or a powerful female vocalist a la Robin Beck. What I also like are the folk touches of some songs - they make the Highlands spring to my mind. Incidentally: Highlights of this CD are certainly the varied 'Holding on' and 'Turn Around', which starts with a great flute melody. I can especially recommend the CD to those who like solid German high-quality workmanship and who share their musical roots with the bands mentioned above or the whole 70ies.

Robin Stierkat

Progressive NewsletterThree years after their debut "Seasons" FLYING CIRCUS have released a very promising successive CD called "Out of the Waste Land". The musicians from Grevenbroich have not only stuck to their self-coined style of "HardProg" - they have even refined and expanded it. "Out of the Waste Land" sounds much more progressive and complex without giving up the 70ies-like sound the band strives for, and without ruthlessly running down the listener with overcharged pomp. The band even apopgizes for its vintage sound (quote from their info sheet: "FLYING CIRCUS sound old-fashioned. They avoid polished sterility and replace it with a sound which lays its emphasis on warmth and earthiness."), yet would so much self criticism hardly have been neccesarry, as FLYING CIRCUS do not only come across as very authentic this way but also manage to have sound and music match each other perfectly. In addition, there is elaborate ensemble playing and a masterly variation of more dynamic and more atmospheric passages. Even some folk touches fit in immensely well. Drawing comparisons is always a bit unfair, because every band strives for its own identity, but sometimes FLYING CIRCUS definitely let early RUSH spring to mind. On the one hand their very good singer Michael Dorp has a vocal range which reminds the listener of Geddy Lee more then once, and on the other hand there are some arrangements and moods that sound as if they were borrowed from the Canadian trio. Further discernible influences are LED ZEPPELIN whose acoustic side is echoed in some passages. But enough of the comparisons, especially the broad instrumental parts which create a lot of tension and let the music take many a surprising turn, still make FLYING CIRCUS come across as highly original. With the required drive, yet also the space to let a number slowly develop and build up, the band also demonstrates its abiliy to compose songs. A deliberate voyage back to the 70ies which does not only unify hard and progressive rock, yet lively re-defines it on CD and on stage.

Kristian Selm (12 points out of 15)

Oldie MarktThis German band represents Second Battle's effort to also cover the modern rock scene. Comparing the album to their debut, the six-piece band has made a big step forward. The classisc artrock influences - i.e. YES - are still present, but the original ingerdients have become much more imprtant. And: The six musicians came up with better songs this time. A further plus is the guitar of Lorenz Dietrich-Gelius*, whose hardly less exciting paintings grace the CD's cover.

*Note: The guitar referred to ist a Gibson model called Nighthawk. This aside, the guy is called Lorenz Gelius-Dietrich (or rather Gelius-Laudam since he got married recently) and shares the band's guitar parts with Michael Rick.

Strutter MagazineFLYING CIRCUS is a German band with a strong 70s influenced Progressive Hard Rock sound. 'Out of the wasteland' is their second CD. The first track "The edge of the world" somehow reminds me of PHANTOM'S OPERA, although the song itself is a 70s inspired progressive melodic rocker. It's a fine start and you can definitely hear that this band has a professional sound approach. The songs are sometimes a bit too complex, which may interest progressive rockfans, because songs like "Living a lie", "Talk and thought" (13 minutes) and "The light" are songs that will appeal to fans of 70s RUSH. The progressive semi ballad "Holding on" is very long, but has some great instrumental passages. The best songs are the semi melodic rocker "See me trying" and the midtempo melodic rocker "No reason to worry" (with it's appealing chorus). Apart from these few melodic rockers, this band is really a 70s typed progressive (hard) rock band with harder rocking tunes and softer acoustic tingled ballads. Nothing wrong about that and therefore interesting to check out if you're into this type of rock.

Gabor Kleinbloesem (7.5 out of 10 points)

Melodic JourneyAbout ten years ago, FLYING CIRCUS from Grevenbroich (almost exactly halfway between of Düsseldorf and Cologne) emerged on the scene with the desire to create something original out of the fusion of 70ies hard rock and progressive rock. The band's second album "Out of the Waste Land" proves impressively that this six-piece has fulfilled its ambitious goal by now. As its influences, the group cites almost every important band of the 70ies - LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE and URIAH HEEP on the one hand, PINK FLOYD, GENESIS, YES and TULL on the other - and accordingly describes its own style as "hard prog". In this wild mixture of styles, which the musicians handle suprisingly well, you can also find some distinct folk elemets and other ingredients, however. The feelings conveyed by "Into the Water" or the short instrumental "Waste Land, 432" for instance, remind us of the softer songs of LED ZEPPELIN, like for example "Battle of Evermore", while (among other songs) the rocking opener "The Edge of the World" and the following "Living a Lie" (with a brilliant bird twittering intro that already hints at the melody of the song) show that FLYING CIRCUS are also capable of doing something else. The voice of singer Michael Dorp, who strikingly reminds us of RUSH's Geddy Lee, suits the band's hard rock sound very well, and especially the song "See Me Trying" follows this musical direction all the way. The whole production is marked by an agreeable, warm sound which also seems to have its roots in the analogue 70ies rather than the digital age. One can only congratulate the band on making an album as fully accomplished and varied as this, and hope that they will stay with us for many more years with their openly represented retro sound. Incidently: The eleven minute long "Holding on" and "Talk and Thought" (which lasts more than 13 minutes) provide two absolutely brilliant pieces for all lovers of progressive longtrax as well!

Stefan Oswald

POINTS: 9 (out of 10), SOUND: 8, ARTWORK: 10.

Reviews zu 'Seasons':

Rock HardConsidering the hardly discernible flood of faceless la-di-da prog rock combos playing with as much pressure as a flat bicycle tyre and being as innovative as a Tory party conference, it as almost an occasion to celebrate when you come across a progressive band that blows complex compositions and sophisticated lyrics through your speakers with the necessary drive and joy of playing. FLYING CIRCUS from Düsseldorf (named after the famous Monty Python series) are among these rare representatives of the genre because they appealingly combine the basic foundations of 70ies hard rock à la DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW/LED ZEPPELIN with classical art rock, mid-seventies kraut rock and a pinch of eighties brit prog. As the melody writing is alright as well and the songs for the most part still prove effective after listening to the album more often, "Seasons" can be recommended to the prog community without any scruples.

Michael Rensen

StereoThe songs are called "Follow the Empress", "Antigone's Lament and Triumph" or "Interior Monologue" and for the most part have a running time of five to eleven minutes. No doubt about it: this is the land of progressive rock, which in the 70ies blossomed so well in Germany that so-called "kraut rock" became a genre in its own right. And after 20 years of deep sleep FLYING CIRCUS from Grevenbroich are daring enough to continue where GENESIS, YES & ELOY once left off unable to make any headway. The ten years of giving concerts before recording its debut show in the band's playing - this is no heedless affair. And today's tougher spirit is paid homage by carefully interwoven elements of hard rock.

Hans-Jürgen Günther

SRMNo: "Seasons", debut album of Rhineland based band FLYING CIRCUS, definitely does not sound like a CD recorded in 1997. Hadn't I taken a look at the beautifully designed Booklet illustrated with atmospheric self painted pictures, I would have been utterly convinced that I was hearing an album from at least 20 - 25 years ago. After a vocal introduction partly sung in harmony (about one minute long) I immediately felt as if I had been taken back to good old LED ZEPPELIN times (regarding this song, particularly to the "Presence" phase). And this is not only due to the remarkable voice of Michael Dorp, often reminding me of Robert Plant and in the higher pitched parts also of Geddy Lee (RUSH). The album then continues with typical early/mid-70ies hard rock and early-70ies prog touches, some prominent organ sounds and occasional psychedelic passages from the same era. Yet "Seasons" does by no means sound outdated, the production comes across as clear and the atmosphere as fresh and lively. On the whole this is an album particularly fans of rock music of the 70ies will like and which especially starts to sparkle after listening to it several times.

Thorsten Beckmann

 Hanf"Seasons" is an album that with a number of three hundred copies, has already passed a test phase with flying colours and is now able to present its twelve tracks (running 74 minutes) to a broader audience. This circus definitely is broadly lined-up: In addition to seven regular band members, there are six guest musicians playing. Accordingly, "Seasons" comes across rather perfected and thick. Interspersed with many good ideas, the band presents a lavish feast for melody fanatics, sounding pleasantly smooth, and with incredibly varied parts. Considering this, it is hardly a problem that the band sometimes takes heart from leading lights of rock history. Great atmosphere à la RENAISSANCE is as generously accepted as hard organ rock in the vein of URIAH HEEP.

Oldie-MarktFLYING CIRCUS have not only chosen a name that has already been used by another band ("Prepared In Peace"-LP 1970 on "Harvest"), their album "Seasons" also moves in a realm highly fashionable 25 years ago in every other respect. But their progressive rock is definitely fit to be heard and presents a good mixture of classic and modern elements of the genre. On the one hand, their singer Michael Dorp is far above the average level with a high pitched but at the same time powerful voice which does not invite comparisons to his better known colleagues but stands out in its own right. On the other hand the mixture of guitar and keyboard parts comes out very balanced. This is particularly evident with the longer compositions where none of the melodic instruments wins the upper hand - a factor that helps to keep up tension until the end of the tracks most of the time. And last but not least the guys really had good ideas when writing the songs, which even justifies running times of more than eleven minutes. Some tracks could have been shorter, but on the whole this is an absolutely noteworthy debut, arousing curiosity about further works.

Melodic JourneyThis is the debut of a talented band from Düsseldorf. "Hard Prog", the label promises, and both the cover and the statistics (various longtrax, the separation of one song into distinct parts, a running time of more than seventy minutes) promise a typical prog album. Wich it is not. The band named after the legendary Monty Python series is indeed intrigued by the seventies but rather not by YES, GENSESIS or KING CRIMSON for a change (nor by DAVID CASSIDY - don't worry). Musically, their direction is closer to bands like FRUMPY or URIAH HEEP (there's the typical organ at the beginning of "Footprints in the Sand" for instance, and in that very song the guitars sometimes recall WISHBONE ASH). The eleven minutes of "Never Again" could have come straight out of MANFRED MANN's "Roaring Silence" phase. Their main influence however, is definitely Led Zeppelin. This begins with Michael Dorp's lead vocals, continues with the guitars (just take a look at "In All Ways and Always"), and ends with the occasional practice of borrowing influences from the Middle East still exercised by Mr. Page & Mr. Plant. FLYING CIRCUS are at least as good at this, however: the album runs on through smoothly without any of the songs letting you down. The only thing missing for the album to be called utterly perfect is a true masterpiece - a kind of "Stairway to Heaven" wouldn't have been bad. But it's early days still! The artwork deserves praise, too: not only the front cover is convincing; the paintings used in the booklet must also have meant a lot of work. For fear of criticism regarding the sound, the band takes the bull by the horns and proudly maintains that the album is meant to be a bit old-fashioned and raw, but they need not have worried: the CD does not sound crap, it sounds exactly how it's supposed to be with this kind of music. Keep it up!

Renald Mienert

coolibriBands like LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, YES and KING CRIMSON are as highly disputed as ever, yet today this is the case in a very different way as back in the golden 70ies. Then branded as "evil", "satanistic" and "liable to corrupt the young", the icons of art and hard rock now seem old-fashioned and outdated storytellers. How much they influenced today's music however, is shown by the many cover versions of old hits in a new style and bands like FLYING CIRCUS from Grevenbroich. Their colossal line up of two guitars, keyboards, drums, bass guitar and vocals already hints at a rather bombastic sound. Michael Dorp's vocals very obviously point into the direction of the high pitched vocal gods of the 70ies who paved the way for the definitive scream metal of the 80ies. By taking a look at the tracks on their recently released CD "Seasons" you cannot fail to notice that these Monty Python fans do take their time to develop songs and let the melodies grow. This is aided by a variety of instruments partly ensured by various guest musicians. Thus the listener gets to hear beautiful acoustic guitar duets or the sounds of oriental stringed instruments reminding me of THE TEA PARTY and their up-to-date handling of multicultural influences. "Our aim is a fusion of hard and progressive rock. This means we neither want the exaggerated soloing you would often find in the 70ies nor simply senseless thrashing and pounding", says Dorp.

Ulf Kneiding

EmpireAttention! Friends of melodic hard rock, check this out! FLYING CIRCUS is a band from Grevenbroich made up of seven musicians who present more than 70 minutes of finest hard rock in the vein of LED ZEPPELIN, URIAH HEEP or RAINBOW on their album "Seasons". Keyboards and guitar are both featured twice, and the sound of the album also reminds me of the seventies (there is a comment on this in the booklet). And, oh, how nostalgic: the CD comes with a label that makes it look like a miniature LP. Singer Michael Dorp has quite a high pitched voice which sometimes had me scanning the beautifully designed booklet for female guest singers (in vain). But now for the individual songs: the title song strongly reminds me of URIAH HEEP partly because of the vocals, and the guitar introduction to "Never Again" recalls IRON MAIDEN's "Hallowed Be Thy Name". "In All Ways and Always" provides variety to the collection of solid rock songs with its folk influence. Some tracks particularly stand out due to great guitar solos and changes of tempo. "Supersonic Man" or "Footprints in the Sand" feature heavy organ sounds. Thus hearing the CD leaves an impression of déjà vu time and again - it reminds you of a time many people would like to relive. In this respect an album giving (70ies hard rock fans) a chance to dream. Considering this, the rather old-fashioned sound hardly matters!

Robin Stierkat

ProgressionFLYING CIRCUS hail from Grevenbroich (somewhere between Cologne and Düsseldorf), and are a seven piece band, featuring the vocals of Michael Dorp (who sounds amazingly close to David Surkamp of PAVLOV'S DOG or Geddy Lee of RUSH). "Seasons" is their first album, and has already attracted attention in Germany, where it led to them appearing on the bill of the 1998 Burg Herzberg Festival. Listening to the opening track, "The Jewel City", it's not hard to see why they went down well at that event. With a riff that comes straight out of earlier RUSH, it is a first class example of heavy, intelligent progressive rock. "In All Ways and Always" opens with a Tabla and Acoustic Guitar instrumental (reminding me of "Black Mountainside" by LED ZEPPELIN), before heading off into folk influenced rock. "Supersonic Man" has a neat keyboard introduction before paying homage to RUSH once again. The album is nicely packeged, but if one thing lets this album down, it's the rather thin production. The compositions are alright, but the dynamic range isn't there on many of the tracks, which would have made the album sound more powerful and effective. Hopefully the band will take heed on their next album, because I feel that they've got the potential to be an interesting force in German Prog.

Incredible who and what contributes to the naming of a band: With the significant addition of "Monty Python's" Flying Circus there was a group of comedians who was up to one's tricks in the 70ies. FLYING CIRCUS, who come from the small Rhineland town of Grevenbroich, view their band name as a synonym for everything that was "hip" and "in" in the Seventies - including their own music which leans towards both the Hard and Progressive Rock styles of that period. "Seasons" belongs to the kind of albums which don't immediately leave you in ecstatic bliss but then sink in as very appealing when you listen to them as a whole and more than once. The dirty sound that sometimes almost seems like a reissue and comes across as a psychedelic version of RUSH or even reminds us of LED ZEPPELIN - all this and the interesting voice of Michael Dorp are obvious characteristics of a production well worth listening to. Although the basic direction exhibits more Hard Rock elements and still seems straightforward despite some longer tracks, oriental influences, acoustic guitar duels, and psychedelic tendencies provide the music of FLYING CIRCUS with some interesting aspects. Interspersed with some solemn solo efforts, this is seven musicians trying to live up to their 70ies ideal.

YES, YES, YES! This newcomer album is definitely worth listening to, altough you will be reminded of good old Jon Anderson's outfit by every bar the band plays. 'Circus'-like is the cover, good lyrics, nicely packaged, colourful and spacy, as you would expect with this kind of music. (...) Accordingly, the sound is rather bombastic and retro-like while the songs are rather long (up to 12 minutes), sometimes conceptionally divided and accoustically brought across with a lot of drive. The broad fantasy lyrics are presented in a thick booklet with many pictures and a fitting art-cover (...) These guys really know what they're doing musically, this CD is a lot of fun. Apart from lack of originality, this is a really strong feast for your ears that everybody should check out!

Andree Kübler

ROCKIN' GERMANY: FLYING CIRCUS is (...) a band that has just released its debut CD "Seasons" on the small but precious EARLY BIRDS label. The album has already aroused a some enthusiasm because it can be considered as pretty unique these days. (...) That the band took a lot of time before recording their debut clearly shows on the album, which has a respectable duration of 74 minutes (...) You can compare FLYING CIRCUS's sound to that of LED ZEPPELIN or early RUSH, which is partly due to singer Michael Dorp's voice often reminding us of Robert Plant or Geddy Lee. The fine, sometimes vaguely oriental sounding guitar performances by Lorenz Gelius and Michael Rick also have a share in that. (...) For a debut, "Seasons" already must be viewed as a magnum opus. Songs like "I All Ways And Always", "Interior Monolgue" or "Never Again" are top class, and in these cases the attribute "progressive" even is an apt description in its literary sense: The band offers a brilliant production and excellent songwriting, highlighting their sense for melody and building tension in the songs (...).

Carsten Agthe (5 points out of 6)

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