NOTICE: Please share your thoughts, do not flame me, or anything like that. Everything is simply my opinion im not trying to place any of this in an encyclopedia or dictionary. Also, I might have something wrong about the concept of the album, but I don't think I do. I thorougly listened to each track more than once, I think I've hit the nail on the head. :END NOTICE The new Circus Maximus cd has been one of my most anticipated releases in practically my whole life. I've never been more excited to hear an album before to be honest. It is a concept album about a man who lost his sanity. It is comprised of 9 tracks: 1. A Darkened Mind (5:33) 2. Abyss (5:00) 3. Wither (4:46) 4. Sane No More (3:54) 5. Arrival Of Love (4:10) 6. Zero (4:49) 7. Mouth Of Madness (12:24) 8. From Childhood's Hour (4:28) 9. Ultimate Sacrifice (9:17) 1) "A Darkened Mind"-A great start to the cd, very melodic and furiously poetic. Definitly gets you thinking and excited to find out what the rest of the album is like. Song almost has a lurking, creepiness to it, making you feel a tense and anxious. Mike's vocal range is wild on this song as well, from high to low in nano-seconds. Also, a good bit of backing vocals creating a boldened chorus makes thing song a killer intro to "Isolate" 2) "Abyss"-Abyss is the heaviest track that is on this album. The beginning starts out with an awesome drum solo, then the keys come in bringing a mood of terror. Then the vocals start, and Mike illustrates how the man in this album is becoming crazy, and scared. This all leads up to the chorus which is amazing, very choral, and makes you want to sing along, and feel the way this man feels "I stand on the edge of the abyss and I am waiting to fall, I see no way out of life, when I look back there was no one there for me" This song boldy illustrates the beginning of this man's sense of despair. 3) "Wither"-Wither is the song that really accentuates this album. It starts with a very "Sin" like (heavy song from thier old album) riff. Then slows down with a steady beat, then gradually it builds up, then drops back down a bit, really sending you on a guessing game as to how this song is constructed. Which is beautiful. "Please forgive me for what I have done, now the end is upon me" is when you get a sense of compassion and understanding of the mans feelings. The chorus of this song is wonderful. This song defines this album. 4) "Sane No More"-This is an instrumental track with very heavy riffs that clocks in at around 3:54. This song makes you feel like your falling down "the rabbit hole" so to say. Everything is crashing, the world around you is caving in. What you thought was real was just an illusion. Sane No More does more than needed to get you to feel like your world is crumbling, as the man's is hence the name "Sane No More". Excellently placed guitar solo's and creativly crafted keyboards mixing with the heavy riffs bring about emotional distress. Lovely song!! 5) "Arrival of Love"-Like Glenn Harveston said, this is a song where you can roll down your window and tap your hand on the side of the car. The beat is that swell. A bit different from the rest of the songs, I'm not quite sure but I assume the man in the album had a woman he loved, relieving the pressure from his mental anguish. He believes it is his destiny to be with this woman, he feels safe with her. This song is very upbeat, and has a great swing to it, enjoyable for a ride down to the beach and whatnot. 6) "Zero"-Zero is a mellow ballad of emotion and beauty. Mike's voice is very suttle throughout most of the song. The man is speaking about this woman, who he loved. "I tried to make you remember, and show you i'll be around forever, I'll try to make you remember me, I'll try to open your mind". She must not have loved him as he loved her it seems. Very touching song, one of my personal favorites by the band. For any fans of "Silence From Angels Above" (soft ballad from thier previous release). 7) "Mouth of Madness"-This song is an epic. An epic 12 minutes and 42 seconds long. This song is narrarated. A slow, atmospheric beginning. The song speaks about how the man is now lost, and wandering the earth. Around 2:15 the song roars with heavy riffs, and precisly calculated keyboards, making you feel suspensful and terrified. The chorus to this song comes in around 4:00 and has great high notes sung by Mike, speaking about an ultimate sacrafice. Following it, a man is speaking through what seems to be a tape recorder/radio for a few seconds, and a fast guitar solo comes right after. Seriously, this song will creep you out. Around 6:20 the song has wonderful keyboard blast, and the drums come in with pounding beats, next you hear Evergrey-ish (the great deciever) like orchestral and choral singing for a bit. Then Mike takes over again. The song begins to slow once again around 8:00. Making way for a resolution, a wonderful guitar solo around 9:15, lasting about 30 seconds gives us a great sensation of the end, Mikes voice sounds angelic almost with backing vocals in the background. Then the song goes back to Mike singing the chorus we heard around 4:00. Mike hits some very high notes to accent the emotion of the man and the concept of the album. And with some insane drumming, and one last strike of the guitar, the song ends with atmospheric piano in the back leaving you to wonder, what could be next?? 8) "From Childhoods Hour"-This song sounds very commercial, and can easily be categorized as one of those great sing along metal songs. The emotion in Mike's voice is felt so much in this song. Any listener who hears this will fall in love with it. It has so much swing to it. An excellent Circus Maximus song, for anyone who was fans of "Alive", or "Why Am I Here" from "The 1st Chapter". 9) "Ultimate Sacrafice"-This 9 minute and 17 second killer track is full of great instrumentation! It opens with great keys and very good guitars! Around 1:05 the vocals come in. The man wonders if he'll ever be the same.. and he knows he needs to move on, "from the ashes I'll rise like the morning sun" the man says. This song is almost like a song of redemption, and rebirth! It is so amazing. Man the guitars in this song I tell you can challenge even Mr. Petrucci! I know some of you are thinking if this track can be better than "Glory of the Empire" and I'm sad to say it isn't. BUT, it is very, VERY good! They couldn't have ended the album better. The man figures out what his destiny. "This is my destiny" he says ever so powerfully. It literally makes you the listener feel liberated and free, and just good. Very epic sounding around 7:00 minutes. 7:30 the song drifts along like a ghost whisping by a quiet graveyard, allowing you to soak up the magic of the album and the quest you have just finished. CONCLUSION: "Isolate" is an AWESOME album! I've been waiting eagerly for months just to hear it! And I have NOT been dissatisfied and neither will any of you. BUT, if you were looking to see a 1st Chapter Pt. II or anything your gonna hit your head on the wall. This is a new, innovate creation from the band that breaks new ground from them. And I've gotta hand it to them, I've never listened to a better concept album (Well okay maybe ayreon had some) but still, I felt everything from this album. The emotion, the atmosphere, the anger, the despair. Go for christ sakes and download this, enjoy it, and if your a good person BUY it when it comes out as well! Either that or purchase thier merchandise. Support a good band, don't just rip them off. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know i enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reading it as well. If you have any questions just write on my wall or add a comment to this. ~Ben N. Rizzo "Isolate"