Album review: MIRKA RANTANEN’s CIRCUS OF ROCK – Come One Come All


Frontiers [release date 06.08.21]

Circus Of Rock is a multiple guests band … singers, musicians … put together by King Company drummer boy, Mirka Rantanen. The album, Come One Come All is the realisation of a life long ambition, a “dream come true” according to the man himself.

The cheesy “Welcome To The Circus” spoken intro, followed by maniacal, clownish laughter tells you all you need to know. Circus Of Rock provides old fashioned, in your face rock’n'roll entertainment, spiked with loud guitars and metallised riffs.

And with bravura vocal performances from, among others, Danny (Tyketto) Vaughn, Pasi (Thunderstone) Rantanen and Rick (Masterplan) Altzi, there’s ample here to satisfy the appetites of even the most ravenous of hard rock and melodic metal fans.

Big hitters Johny (Hardline) Gioeli and Marco (Nightwish/Tarot) Hietela create a big, bold benchmark with ‘Desperate Cry’ and ‘Ghost Town’. Gioeli’s track evolves rapidly into a powerful, stomping, riff heavy sensory assault, topped off with a towering edifice of a chorus. His gravelly vocals just about anchor it to solid ground.

And as with everything Hietela touches, there’s a constant pulse to the material … a musical heartbeat that speeds and slows as the surging, symphonic metal arrangement rises and falls. His voice acts as conductor, allowing for a much more graphic musical style.

Having set the standard, everything thereafter provides full on sonic engagement. Yes, it falters a little on the album’s second half, some uneveness is inevitable with 14 different vocalists, but the first half is almost incomparable.

Picks are ‘Never’, an out and out heart on its sleeve rock song, tuned into the melodies, harmonies and simple sentiments of 80′s AOR, sung by the master, Kimmo (Leverage) Blom. Producer Rantanen then creates a suitably dramatic musical backdrop for Elize (Amaranthe) Ryde to create her own brand of vocal sympatico. She promptly obliges with an epic “sounds-like-a-Bond-theme” ‘Times Of Despair’.

As dreams go, this one turned out pretty good. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

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