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(26:19; Soniq Circus)
Swedish band SONIQ CIRCUS has been an ongoing entity for more than 20 years, with two full length albums to their name that arrived in 2007 and 2011 respectively. Following a bit of a break as a recording unit the band returned earlier this year with the mini-album "I'm Awake, Carry on Life", which was self released by the band in early November 2020. Musically there's a lot to enjoy on this mini-album. Listening to the material here my minds goes towards neo-progressive bands like IQ and later day Pendragon first and foremost, with clever and effective combinations of keyboards, piano, some heavy set riffs here and there but also with emotional laden floating guitar solo motifs as a signature detail. Atmospheric laden floating keyboard textures as well as sharper and more expressive keyboard motifs and soloing are parts of the package here, as are more majestic guitar and organ combinations. More delicate piano details have their place here too, and the gentle touch of the acoustic guitar is used to good effect too. From delicate and and moving section to majestic and harder hitting escapades, there's a great deal of variation in place here, and a lot going on that fans of neo-progressive rock will enjoy. Including some sections bordering progressive metal in intensity, which of course has been an aspect of this type of music since the 1990's. There is a divisive element in here however, and that element is the lead vocals. They are very distinct, and for someone like me that listen to the vocals as an instrument they do become detrimental. The combination of pitch, tone, accent, pronunciation and a slight nasal quality to the delivery are all elements that in this case rubs me the wrong way. For those who listen to vocals more as a provider of emotions and intensity this obviously won't be that much of a problem, but for my sake at least this was a detrimental aspect of this production throughout. Those who know and love their 90's and beyond era of neo-progressive rock might want to check out this latest mini-album by Soniq Circus. Many will find a lot to enjoy on a music level with this production, but the vocals will probably be a bit more of a hit or miss element with this band than with many others. Hence sampling this album prior to a purchase will be a given, and in particular if you are sensible to vocals in general or, like I do, listen to the vocals primarily as an instrument.
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