REVIEW: Savage Circus – Dreamland Manor

Band: Savage Circus
Album: Dreamland Manor
Release: 2005
Label: Century Media

Genre: Power Metal

One of the main discussions that can occur is considering the possibility of two or three bands jamming together, and what would emerge. They could be as crazy a combination as Public Enemy and Anthrax, or they could be slightly more realistic like the birth of Savage Circus. The creation of (now ex-)drummer of Blind Guardian, Thomen Stauch, this debut also includes creative input from Persuader and Iron Savior. On paper, it sounds like a sensible suggestion, if executed correctly…

So what is to be expected? Power-metal riffs flying everywhere, keys either matching them or setting the atmosphere in the background, with galloping bass and pounding drums to keep the rhythm going. And that’s exactly what this album delivers on most of the tracks. Strong opener “Evil Eyes” exemplifies this, and Stauch’s choice of Jens Carlsson immediately becomes apparent due to his ability to sound almost identical to Hansi Kürsch. To give him credit, though, he does showcase a range of styles taken from his own band as well as Blind Guardian, most prominently in “Between The Devil And The Seas”.

Unfortunately, the lyrics could do with a little reworking. I realize that power metal lyrics generally delve into the realm of fantasy and magic, but lines such as “I close my eyes and I make a wish/Bring me home to Tomorrowland” do not lend much credibility to the band. That said, the delivery makes the lyrics a lot more bearable than solely reading them.

From the first to last moment, this band do not beat about the bush in wearing their respective bands on their sleeves, although in terms of production the drums come out strongest in general. The rhythm guitars are occasionally lower in the mix, although the leads and solos come through well. Bass, as can be expected, does not make much of an appearance aside from during “Tomorrowland” and the solo section of “Beyond Reality”, but gets the job done elsewhere too.
Not being overly familiar with Iron Savior, I can’t speak much for Piet Sielck and Yenz Leonhardt, although their guitar- & bassplaying fit in smoothly with the others, there’s never a moment of clashing.

When not galloping along at high speeds, the band do slow down half-way through with a semi-ballad. Laden in orchestral and acoustic sections, and with a slightly lackluster performance from Carlsson, this song ends up being one of the more forgettable ones on the album, lost amidst the faster-paced ones. Also interesting to note is the transition throughout the album from a Blind Guardian influence to a Persuader one, the ballad marking a turning point.Aside from the slight lack of originality in the album, there are a couple of things that stop me from truly falling in love with this project and keep it to an occasional spin when in the mood. Firstly, the production really does get overbearing on the drumming front, especially on “Ghost Story”. There’s also the factor of song length, and sometimes I find myself impatiently waiting for a repeat chorus to or the extended drum outro on “Born Again By The Night” to end. Even my favorite track, “When Hell Awakes”, is marred by these problems, although they don’t stop me from headbanging along.

So in short, if you are an avid fan of either Blind Guardian or Persuader, and need something to tide you over, then this will surely appeal to your musical taste buds. For an avid fan of the genre, give this album a try as a worthy addition to your collection. For a casual fan looking to get into this sort of power metal, check out the original bands instead for something more authentic.

Rating: 7.5/10


3 responses

  1. All fair criticism, for the first 4 mins or so I found my self enjoying the song and thinking yeah this is pretty good, towards the end I was starting to get bored with it. There were some amazing guitar pieces and it was a good track still don't get me wrong, but I think it sounds a bit generic and almost prog-rock like after a while.

    March 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm

  2. @Happydude, thanks for the feedback! Not sure what you're getting at with the prog rock reference though…Generic sums it up nicely though =P

    March 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm

  3. Like prog-rock it started to song over-blown and convoluted, sure some of the fancy guitar parts were wonderful for a little while, but after that it felt like they were included because they could be rather than because they added anything to the song.

    That might just be my opinion though.

    March 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

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