Circus Maximus

Circus Maximus band
ORIGIN: NorwayFORMED: 2000LABEL: Frontiers
    • Michael Eriksen - Vocals
    • Mats Haugen - Guitars
    • Glen Møllen - Bass
    • Lasse Finbråten - Keyboards
    • Truls Haugen - Drums

Circus Maximus is a Norwegian progressive metal quintet from Oslo. They employ the use of symphonic and power metal influences that feature synthesizers. As of 2016, they have released four albums, The 1st Chapter in 2005, Isolate in 2007, Nine in 2012 and Havoc in 2016.

Formation and early history of Circus Maximus (2000–2003)

In 2000 long-time band mates Michael Eriksen (vocals) and brothers Mats (guitar) and Truls Haugen (drums) were joined by keyboard player Espen Storø and Glen Cato Møllen on bass to form Circus Maximus.

Initially being a cover band, they got a lot of positive feedback for their interpretations of technically challenging material from bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X. Before long, the band started to write their own material. With other influences varying from pop/rock through classical progressive rock to heavy metal and death metal, their music synergized into a mixture of melodic and groovy sound with lots of heavy riffs. In the musical press their sound has been compared to Queensrÿche, TNT, Shadow Gallery, Pretty Maids, Helloween and the like.

Releasing two demos to great reviews in Norway, as well as in Europe and United States, the band made a record deal with American Sensory Records for the USA and Canada. Later on an opportunity for a licensing deal for Europe and Russia to Frontiers Records arose.

The 1st Chapter (2004–2006)

Circus Maximus began writing their debut album in 2004 entitled, The 1st Chapter which was released in May 2005. The eight-tracked album contains the longest Circus Maximus song with the title track running for over 19 minutes. The album also came with two bonus tracks.

Half a year later, in November 2005, keyboards player Espen Storø decided to leave the band for personal reasons. In early 2006, Lasse Finbråten (formerly of Norwegian progressive/power metal band Tritonus) joined the band, filling the vacant spot.

During 2005 Circus Maximus went on their first tour with their major performance being in Atlanta in the United States where they played at the ProgPower festival. Circus Maximus then returned to the same festival the following year with their new keyboardist. During the rest of 2006 Circus Maximus continued to play gigs around Scandinavia with other major acts such as Kamelot, Pagan’s Mind and Glenn Hughes.

Isolate (2007)

Circus Maximus spent the first quarter of 2007 recording their second studio album, Isolate. The album was then released on August 7, 2007. Following the release of Isolate the band went on tour playing at major festivals such as ProgPower Europe, ProgPower Scandinavia, Sweden Rock and MetalHear. They also went on many solo shows while on the road.

During February 13 to March 5, 2008 the band toured Europe as an opening act at the Symphony X Paradise Lost Tour 2008.

On the 22nd June 2010 Michael Eriksen posted some news on the recording process. He said “Yesterday Mats and myself hit the studio to start the vocals on one of the tracks”. Later he mentioned that “We will have some videos up and running for you in a bit”.

Nine (2012–2015)

The third album, called Nine was released on 1 June 2012. The band described the album as being both more melodic and more dynamic than their two preceding albums.

Havoc (2016)

The first single from Havoc, “The Weight”, was released on 19 January 2016. 

The theme on this new album is about moments and experiences in life that lead to love and hate. It’s about succumbing to fire and striving to cope with the aftermath of decisions when overshadowed by the love we have for others and ourselves.

Circus Maximus - Havoc

Musically the band offers a mixture of very heavy moments intertwined with extremely accessible melodies. Songs like Pages, the opener The Weight, After the Fire and Remember show the full range of the Circus Maximus sound. Still, the album has very heavy songs like Havoc and slow and melodic moments like Loved Ones too.


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Havoc / 2016

Nine / 2012

Isolate / 2007

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