August 31, 2021

It’s time for another project on the Frontiers label with the latest grandiose epic being Circus Of Rock, a most ambitious affair by the Finnish musician Mirka Rantanen who may be better known to you for his day job as the drummer with King Company plus many other Finnish metal bands as well.

Rantanen has assembled an extensive and most talented team of musicians and singers to create this hard rock album that is verging on metal opera territory and is very much pitched in the same arena as the works by Avantasia. Take a look at the list of musicians involved and you can see some pretty impressive names and they have all brought their ‘A Game’ to the proceedings and if you have personnel on board from the likes of Amaranthe, Tyketto, Hardline, Nightwish, Leverage, Stratovarius, Brother Firetribe, Masterplan and many others too then you know that you are going to be in for a hard rock treat and that is exactly what is delivered on this excellent album of traditional metal. It seems that Rantanen has been working on the project for a couple of years and didn’t want to release an album that predominantly featured his, admittedly, prodigious talents that was overly drum heavy as he wanted to record a true album with everyone involved 100% in the project and fully committed to the cause.

What Rantanen has produced here is a very modern sounding hard rock album which is based on the superb rock sounds of the ’70s and ’80s and there is a definite Dio/Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake feel to the album but this can hardly be a surprise as these bands and musicians have been so influential for the last 50-years or so in the music industry and there is barely a metal band around who hasn’t had some influence from either Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple of Judas Priest. It is not plagiarism but more a case of musicians paying homage to their roots and influences and you have to ask just how many musicians these days bought a guitar because of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore and the rest? So, what we have here is a classic rock album taking its basis from the 1970s but subject to all of the latest modern recording, mixing and mastering techniques so that you have a fresh, vibrant and ass kicking metal album that can stand comfortably alongside its older cousins.

Come One, Come All is a fabulous and most ambitious rock album and, given the musicians involved, it would have been a major surprise if it had not worked but everyone has pulled together and there is no sense of egos involved or anyone trying to outshine everyone else. It is what it is i.e. a rock album produced from a quality team of like minded musicians trying to produce the very best album that they can and they have gone and produced a real monster of a record that you will keep returning too. The blend of different vocalist’s works really well as they are all really complimentary with the music flowing from one song into the next virtually without a seam and special praise must be given to Elize Ryd as she really catches you attention with her spectacular performance.

Mirka Rantanen has produced a must have album and I hope that this is just the first in a series of Circus Of Rock albums as this is a rock album to savour and delight in with great songs full of the expected hooks and harmonies, vocalists at the peak of their collective powers and guitar solos that thrill to the core.

Come One, Come All track listing

  1. The Beat (Feat Riku Turunen) (3:58)
  2. Desperate Cry (Feat Johnny Gioeli) (4:51)
  3. Sheriff Of Ghost Town (Feat Marco Hietala) (4:21)
  4. Never (Feat Kimmo Blom) (3:41)
  5. In Times Of Despair (Feat Elize Ryd) (3:57)
  6. Crossroads (Feat Pasi Rantanen) (6:01)
  7. Caught In The Middle (Feat Danny Vaughn) (4:23)
  8. Plywood Covered Windows And Crappy Shoes (Antti Railio) (4:07)
  9. Edge Of Love (Feat Rick Altzi) (4:02)
  10. Set Me Free (Feat Jarkko Ahola) (4:16)
  11. Everafter (Feat Tommi Salmela) (4:43)
  12. No Reason (Feat Marc Quee) (4:29)
  13. Tears Of The Clown (Feat Erik Kraemer) (4:30)