Band: Soniq Circus
Band Website: www.soniqcircus.com
Label: Progress Records
Label Website: www.progressrec.com
Release Date: 2011
Once again Iím reminded of what a storehouse of Progressive Rock bands Sweden is. And itís not only the numbers of bands but the quality as well. Take for example this second CD release from Soniq Circus entitled Reflections in the Hourglass. Itís brilliant collection of heavy symphonic prog that will appeal to fans of bands such as Beardfish and Magic Pie. Since the release of their first disc in 2007 the band has undergone some major personnel changes now consisting of: Marcus Enochsson (guitar, vocals), Christer Ugglin (drums), Markus Nilsson (bass) and Marco Ledri (keyboards).
The eight-tracks on Reflections in the Hourglass are all mostly on the longish side coming in at seven-minutes or longer. The album is 60-minutes long and is essentially a loose concept album of a man who awakens at 3am and spends the next hour thinking about his life before falling asleep at 4am. Given the change in line-up the band have taken on a slightly harder edge and yet continue to employ many symphonic elements in their music, hence the description; heavy symphonic prog. But donít be fooled into thinking this is prog-metal because itís not. Even though the guitars are heavy in spots there are also plenty of moments where the music breathes with a soft airiness. We go from dramatic musical crescendos to grand anthemic choruses with lots of unusual musical transitions holding it all together. The other musical elements that jump out at me are the many quirky time-changes and minor-chord musical change-ups giving the music a denseness and complexity you might not expect. There are odd little guitar or keyboard riffs sprinkled throughout. One gets the feeling there is so much happening in each tune and yet you know itís going to change direction yet again in a minute. At the same time it is the melody line that drives these compositions even when itís multiple melodies or the melody changes. Weíre still left with some memorable bits.
There is a definite maturity on display in Reflections in the Hourglass. The band is tight and playing well together. The production is first rate. So as I mentioned at the outset if you enjoy your prog with a little heavier edge but still displaying symphonic tendencies then this second release from Soniq Circus has much to offer. I highly recommend it.