MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

A.C.T

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

A.C.T picture
A.C.T biography
A.C.T is a very popular and well-known modern progressive rock band from Sweden, having released music since 1999. They have evolved into a respectable band that has had more than a decent impact; more impressive, however, it how their songwriting and style gets better with every album. The band's musical style is eclectic, but also keen to a lot of influences, some (like QUEEN, SAGA, SUPERTRAMP, MUSE, RUSH, DREAM THEATER or ELO) being largely accepted, others (like IT BITES, ZAPPA or STYX) being more particular, and some (like GENESIS, KANSAS, JETHRO TULL, TOTO or the BEATLES) being much superficial.

The band, initially under Ola ANDERSSON on guitars, Tomas ERLANDSSON on drums, Jens APPELGREN on vocals and Jerry SAHLIN on both keyboards and drums, was created out of friendly discussions and leisure musical sessions and was named FAIRYLAND. During the entire rehearsals and the eventful years of playing and discovering their outfit, the line-up saw some changes, APPELGREN departing and three new musicians joining in: Simon NIKLASSON on bass and dynamic writing, later Peter ASP as guitarist/bassist, and Herman SAMING as vocalist, often leading the charm and lucky good impression of A.C.T's clear crystal voice. In 1995, at the suggestion of Jerry SAHLIN, FAIRYLAND finally changed into A.C.T, both in name and in perspective. Taking on a new musical direction, A.C.T went all the way to a finale at a local competition, "Musik Direkt" - which gave them the opportunity to make some demos. The next year, they were favorites all the way to the grand finale in Stockholm, where losing the competition was a small setback compared to the fame and good spirit they've witnessed since.

A.C.T are as good and exciting on stage as they are profound in the studio. They opened for a lot of good artists, like Yngwie MALMSTEEN, FISH or SAGA. Their modern or progressive relation is stable both in a popular and well-supported way.

As ...
read more

A.C.T official website

A.C.T MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s
No MP3/Stream available for this artist.
Collaborate with Progarchives.com, learn how to submit new MP3s.

A.C.T forum topics / tours, shows & news


A.C.T forum topics Create a topic now
A.C.T tours, shows & news Post an entries now

A.C.T Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all A.C.T videos (2) | Search and add more videos to A.C.T

Buy A.C.T Music


Right Now on Ebay (logo)
A.C.T Trifles And Pandemonium - Recorded Live In Tyringe, Sweden JAPAN 2CD USD $40.99 Buy It Now 19h 43m
A.C.T. Today's Report MICY-1140 CD JAPAN 2001 NEW USD $74.90 Buy It Now 1 day
Carl Cox ?- F.A.C.T. 2 - 1997 Tech House (Box C104) USD $19.92 Buy It Now 1 day
carl cox f.a.c.t australia signed cd USD $13.53 [0 bids]
2 days
A.C.T. - Silence..CD + bonus live video..Germany..prog..NEW USD $27.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Circus Pandemonium - A.C.T. (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.92 Buy It Now 4 days
A.C.T. - Circus Pandemonium [New CD] USD $20.69 Buy It Now 5 days
A.C.T. - Circus Pandemonium [New CD] USD $14.92 Buy It Now 5 days
CARL COX - F.A.C.T - 13 TRACK DANCE CD ALBUM 1995 REACT USD $4.72 Buy It Now 5 days
BRAND NEW SEALED CD A.C.T.: Imaginary Friends Import act - Rare! Import! USD $11.02 Buy It Now 6 days
A.C.T. - Last Epic - CD ** Very Good Condition ** USD $32.95 Buy It Now 6 days
A.C.T CIRCUS PANDEMONIUM Japan CD MICP-11137 2014 USD $37.99 Buy It Now 7 days
A.C.T-CIRCUS PANDEMONIUM-JAPAN CD BONUS TRACK F83 USD $26.50 Buy It Now 7 days
A.C.T. Silence MICP-10531 CD JAPAN 2006 USD $68.38 Buy It Now 8 days
Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T. (CD, Aug-2014, MVD Audio) USD $11.97 Buy It Now 11 days
Carl Cox - F.A.C.T. - Australia XOVER044 EU 2CD 129 USD $0.99 Buy It Now 12 days
Carl Cox ?- F.A.C.T. (C175) USD $11.95 Buy It Now 12 days
JPN w/ Obi - A.C.T - Imaginary Friends _ 1B/T USD $12.99 Buy It Now 12 days
SebastiAn Feat. M.I.A. ?- C.T.F.O. - CD dj - 5 Mixes Picture DJ Promo USD $13.52 Buy It Now 12 days
LOCOMOTIVE BREATH-HEAVY MACHINERY CD,SEALED,OVERDRIVE,A.C.T,T.LIZZY,RADIOACTIVE, USD $10.01 Buy It Now 13 days
CARL COX - F.A.C.T. USD $5.67 Buy It Now 13 days
JPN w/Obi - A.C.T - Imaginary Friends _ 1B/T USD $12.99 Buy It Now 13 days
A.C.T. - Silence (cd) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 15 days
A.C.T. - Imaginary Friends - CD - Limited Edition Special Edition Import - *VG* USD $25.95 Buy It Now 16 days
R.E.A.C.T. Entertainment Presents: The Birth Of A Movement *MEGA RARE* G-FUNK USD $40.00 Buy It Now 16 days
CARL COX (DJ) - F.A.C.T. AUSTRALIA II: A GLOBAL TOUR NEW CD USD $18.51 Buy It Now 16 days
CARL COX (DJ) - F.A.C.T. AUSTRALIA II: A GLOBAL TOUR USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $15.17 Buy It Now 16 days
T.R.A.C/T.R.A.C. - THE NETWORK NEW CD USD $14.18 Buy It Now 16 days
CARL COX ~ F.A.C.T. ~ 2 x CD ALBUM USD $8.51 Buy It Now 17 days
COX, CARL - F.a.C.T. Australia - CD ** Brand New ** USD $60.49 Buy It Now 20 days
COX, CARL - F.a.C.T. Australia - CD USD $41.75 Buy It Now 20 days
A.C.T. - Last Epic [New CD] Bonus Track, Japan - Import USD $25.99 Buy It Now 20 days
A.C.T. - Last Epic [New CD] Bonus Track, Japan - Import USD $29.23 Buy It Now 20 days
A.C.T. - Imaginary Friends - CD ** Brand New ** USD $41.75 Buy It Now 20 days
A.C.T-A.C.T - Circus Pandemonium CD NEW USD $16.69 Buy It Now 20 days
COX, CARL - F-a-C-T 2 - CD ** Brand New ** USD $51.95 Buy It Now 21 days
A.C.T. - Silence - CD ** Very Good Condition ** USD $14.95 Buy It Now 21 days
A.C.T. - Silence - CD ** Brand New ** USD $70.95 Buy It Now 21 days
A. C. T. U.S A Way to Empire of Strength and Order (Novum Organum) CD Album USD $19.00 Buy It Now 21 days
Various : Carl Cox F.A.C.T. CD USD $6.21 Buy It Now 21 days
COX, CARL - F-a-C-T 2 - CD ** Very Good Condition ** USD $12.95 Buy It Now 22 days
A.C.T. - Last Epic - CD - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** - RARE USD $115.95 Buy It Now 23 days
A.C.T. - CIRCUS PANDEMONIUM USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $13.74 Buy It Now 23 days
CARL COX F.A.C.T 2 CD BOX SET 1995 USD $6.75 Buy It Now 24 days
Circus Pandemonium - A.c.t. Compact Disc USD $18.57 Buy It Now 25 days
Carl Cox ?- F.A.C.T. - 1995 - (Box C378) USD $19.13 Buy It Now 25 days
Carl Cox ?- F.A.C.T. 2 (C314) USD $11.95 Buy It Now 26 days
CARL COX : F.A.C.T. FACT SILVER EDITION 2 CD REACT CD 56 27 TRACKS 1995 USD $6.48 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T. ?- Today's Report CD..Japan..w/OBI..prog..MICY-1140..NEW USD $32.99 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T / Circus Pandemonium JAPAN+1 Rush A USD $28.49 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T. - IMAGINARY FRIENDS [BONUS TRACK] NEW CD USD $28.77 Buy It Now 28 days
ACT/A.C.T. - TODAY'S REPORT NEW CD USD $28.93 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T. - CIRCUS PANDEMONIUM NEW CD USD $16.68 Buy It Now 28 days
A.C.T - Today's Report USD $29.00 Buy It Now 29 days
Used Audio Book Liquidation Sale ** Authors: B-B #795 ** Buy 1 Get 1 flat ship USD $22.99 Buy It Now 29 days

More places to buy A.C.T music online Buy A.C.T & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
A.C.T has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

A.C.T discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

A.C.T top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 122 ratings
Today's Report
1999
4.07 | 141 ratings
Imaginary Friends
2001
4.07 | 262 ratings
Last Epic
2003
3.47 | 131 ratings
Silence
2006
3.88 | 182 ratings
Circus Pandemonium
2014

A.C.T Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A.C.T Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.71 | 7 ratings
Trifles And Pandemonium
2016

A.C.T Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A.C.T Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 8 ratings
[The Early Recordings]
2002

A.C.T Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Silence by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.47 | 131 ratings

BUY
Silence
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After two great albums (Today's Report and Imaginary Friends) and a third which was not so brilliant but very good nevertheless (Last Epic), A.C.T failed to deliver a competent album with Silence.

The style of the record is the same as their previous three efforts, but this time with a bit more serious tone and with darker lyrics. And I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that they made with Silence. The lyrics of A.C.T were never their stronger point, and this time are so cheesy as always, but not as funny. And I think that's unforgivable!

The production of the album is very good again, but I find the vocals of Herman Saming lost a bit of strength this time and I don't really don't know why. He sounds tired, or bored. At least in most of the songs. Maybe it was deliberated, but then that's also a mistake, just like the lyrics. The rest of the band sound so good as always.

Truth is Pain is a good summary of what this album delivers. A darker shade in the lyrics, tiresome vocals and a worrying lack of authentic new ideas. Even the instrumental section is not so good as always, despite the great musicians. Puppeteers is not better, with its typical Saga-riff, Queen inspired choirs and a very weak chorus. What happened to you, guys?

This Wonderful World is a boring mid-tempo which talks about ecological matters in a very predictable way (it pales in comparison to Waltz With Mother Nature), while Out of Ideas is just lame, despite its fine Ola Andersson's solo. At this point I'm really worried about the compositional abilities of the band.

But hey' Not everything is lost!

Hope suddenly rises the level of the album, with a powerful pseudo-thrash metal riff with palm muting and a catchy chorus despite the less than stellar interpretation of Herman. And this good line is maintained by Into the Unknown, with another good chorus, verses with symphonic arrangements and an outstanding progressive instrumental section.

No Longer Touching ground is not so good, but it has a nice bass during the verses. Useless Argument is an uplifting tune, with some nice hard rock elements and a guitar solo which oddly reminds me to Joe Satriani! An interesting one. On the contrary, The Voice Within is another forgettable mid-tempo.

Call in Dead has strong Queen influences in the verses and a funny chorus. In the second block of verses some Arabic melodies appears, contributing to the variety of the album. Silent Screams is an introduction to Consequences, the long song of the album, advancing some of the melodies that we will hear later.

Introduction is the second introduction to the epic of the album (a bit weird, I know), this time in the form of a nice acoustic melody, which remembers me to Spock's Beard. Then The Millionaire appears to introduce the concept of the epic, which talks about wealthy and its consequences. The song is far from being brilliant, nevertheless.

Joanna is far better, being maybe the best instrumental moment of the whole album. Powerful and precise, just what this album lacks. A Father's Love has lovely keyboard melodies and a splendid chorus with orchestral arrangements, while Memory to Fight brings another typical A.C.T riff and good choirs, alongside a great final section with splendid guitars.

The Diary is one of the best sections of the album, with imaginative riffs and constant tempo changes. I specially love the riff after the bridge, the one we can hear in the chorus. Just fantastic! This is what I expect from an album of A.C.T. And so is A Wound That Won't Heal, another very good song with a marvelous final section, which contains a very delicate guitar and vocal arrangements. Why were they not able to achieve this quality through the whole record?

The Final Silence closes this album with a very good guitar solo, ending an epic which is the best section of the album despite its unfitting lyrics.

Conclusion: Silence is by no means a bad album. It has some fine songs and a very good epic. The problem is that alongside we encounter five or six forgivable tracks, and a pair of really bad ones. Maybe lack of inspiration? Or a futile attempt to search new paths for the band? Or just too long? I don't know, but this inconsistence makes Silence the worst effort of A.C.T

In addition, the lyrics are also very poor. More than ever. And considering that this was always the weakest aspect of A.C.T's music, you can imagine how bad and unfitting they are.

Best Tracks: Hope, Into the Unknown, Useless Argument and Consequences.

My Rating: **1/2, rounded up to three stars mainly because of the epic.

 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.07 | 262 ratings

BUY
Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nothing new in the horizon...

But with this superb production and strong songwriting is also this lack of surprises is not so important. If that's the first A.C.T album you hear you'll be totally blown away with their eclectic vision of prog-rock, dramatic changes in almost every song and their influences, which balance between Dream Theater, Saga, Queen and musical and cabaret spectacles.

The king of the record is still Ola Andersson and his marvellous guitars and solos, alongside with the good vocals (but a bit too high pitched for my taste) of Herman Saming. The rest of the band is also great! And they managed to expand a bit their instrumental sound with some strings arrangements this time.

Nevertheless, I have the problem that I heard the A.C.T two previous albums before Last Epic, and therefore I find this third effort a bit repetitive and not really better, despite the general opinion. Actually, I think is under Today's Report and Imaginary Friends in terms of quality. It's obviously not so progressive and too ballad oriented, and the lyrical concept just weak.

Wake Up, Manipulator and Mr. Landford are outstanding and dynamic tracks, while others like Ted's Ballad are just average. Nevertheless the whole album is enjoyable thank to the incredible Andersson solos and imaginative riffs, along with the spectacular choirs and vocal melodies.

Conclusion: Last Epic brought nothing really new to A.C.T fans, apart from another very good example of eclectic prog, strong songwriting and pristine production. And all of this is great, but I'm a bit disappointed with the lack of evolution of the band. They just made a record which sounds just like the same of the two previous albums, but a bit less progressive and more conventional. Maybe they were trying to be more commercial?

Hard to say.

Best Tracks: Wailings from a Building, Mr. Landford, Wake Up, Manipulator, Dance of Mr. Gumble.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded down to three stars.

 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.07 | 262 ratings

BUY
Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Last Epic" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through Atenzia Records in January 2003. "Last Epic" was re-released through InsideOut Music in 2007 and thereby given a wider distribution and publicity.

The music on the album is an interesting combination of 70s influenced art rock and a soft type progressive metal. The band are incredibly skilled musicians and pull off both complex rhythmic playing and more mellow type playing too. The vocals are especially impressive with both skillfully executed choirs and harmony vocals. I´m often reminded of the theatrical nature of Queen but actually even more of 10cc. There´s a tongue in cheek kind of humour about the music that points in the direction of the latter mentioned. The progressive metal element isn´t dominant on the album but when it appears the band can actually play some pretty heavy riffs and intriguing instrumental parts. I´m reminded slightly of early Dream Theater in a much more simple form. The predominantly brief instrumental parts are usually cleverly placed in the otherwise predominantly vers/chorus structured tracks. There are several highlights on the album, but I´d mention tracks like like "Wailings From a Building" and the wonderful "Mr. Landlord" as some of my personal favorites.

The sound production is clear, powerful, and detailed and suits the music well. So "Last Epic" is overall a quality release and while I sometimes feel the band could have cut down on the more ballad type tracks in favour of more hard rocking tracks (which is where I feel the band excel), even the ballads are a means to an end and upon conclusion "Last Epic" is a pretty well balanced album with a good flow. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.07 | 262 ratings

BUY
Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by gavharr

5 stars Ever wondered how the bastard child of 10CC, Queen, City Boy and Dream Theater would sound? Well, you don't need to wonder any more, because this band is probably how...

What makes this band(and especially this album) stand out, is not the fact that the musicians are skilled and can play 2 million notes a second, but the fact that they are really good songwriters. Showmanship never gets in the way of a good melody. Also A.C.T have a way of blending many differerent genres into a tune and in addition to that, making it sound completely natural.

If you are into catchy melodies, clever arrangements and skilled but restrained and smart musicians, you should really give this album a go.

IMHO it is impossible to single out any tracks, but I will mention that "Wailings From A Bulding" has a guitar solo that is the perfect combination of technique and melody. Superb!

Also worth mentioning is the band's use of three part harmonies which maybe is what reminds me the most of 10CC and City Boy. Really good and playful singing. Also this is a concept album about a bulding and it's tenants. This makes way for interesting lyrical fun from both tenants and the buildings own perspective. Very unique!

I can not recommend this album enough!

 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 182 ratings

BUY
Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Failcore

5 stars A.C.T is back with a vengeance. After an 8 year respite in which most of us (myself included) wrote them off, they have concocted an amazing offering. In fact, this may be better than Last Epic. Yes, I'll admit the circusy theme is probably a bit overused in prog, but don't worry because the music here feels fresh, and is consistently addictive and catchy, despite having some quite complex passages and really superb musicianship. I can't really think of a bad track or anything about the music here that I don't like, style wise. Some of their previous works tended to be a tad too chipper, and then Silence went too far the opposite direction and had some OTT emoness, but this release seems much more emotionally balanced, which is what makes it (and I say this tentatively since I've only had this album for a week) their best release to date. I certainly hope it's not another 8 years before we get another.
 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 182 ratings

BUY
Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A 'return to form' effort that's worth enjoying ...

As I mentioned earlier in my previous writing that I am quite happy with recent developments in prog scene as many bands produce excellent albums. In fact it confuses me which one I should spin as so many excellent happenings in relation to prog. For this reason, I do not want to expand my listening horizon to other music but prog. Why? No time man! There are so many good album from many musicians / bands like IQ, Transatlantic, Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, Curved Air, The Flower Kings to mention some of them. And now I am writing my view on another excellent album by Sweden prog group called themselves as A.C.T. Prog music is really nice and gives me full of joy in life. Prog music motivates me to create innovative things in my professional life as strategy & change management consultant. In fact, I play prog music from my MacBook when I facilitate workshops with my clients. If I am lucky sometime I got one or some of the participants asked me what music that I play. Or ...sometimes they came to me and say: "Hey ....you are a prog fan?" YUP! Of course I am; and I am proud being a prog fan!!! There is no other music as captivating a PROG - full stop!

I have a strong rationale why I love prog music very much. The proof is quite easy: get the CD of this Circus Pandemonium and spin it. Taste the music with open mind and conclude: what type of music this gentlemen from Sweden play through this album? Most of them will not be able to categorize under what basket this album is. Yes, there is a bit of rock, a bit of pop, a bit of metal and mix of them. While people like us easily say: This is PROG man! In one of reviews I did for the bad, I mentioned that they play a "cabaret rock" music. A term that is not usual in any music critics industry, I think ...

And talking about A.C.T you may want to browse around this site that I have reviewed all of their previous four albums with various rating depending upon how I feel and I think about the music. In a nutshell, after eight years of silent since their weak "Silence" album released in 2006, this new album remarks the "return to form" spirit as musically this one is closer to their best album ever "The Last Epic" released before "Silence". Even though I do not follow the band's activities during its silent or vacuum period of eight years but I always follow their release and write a review for it.

The album kicks off with an ambient nuance that sounds like silence mode just before a show - a circus show. And it blasts off with an energetic music through its second track The End (5:56). The tempo is upbeat and you may consider this as a straight rock kind of style but it surprises me when it suddenly break with powerful vocal which brings the music into its full power. I find a full sense of joy with this track and the vocal harmonies are truly topnotch, backed with excellent music riffs. There is also orchestration as well through the passage of the track. What then surprises me is the break where it seems like audience giving applaud to the circus act. It's really an innovative break! I would say this track is a masterpiece as it's flawless in terms of composition and performance. At the end of the track there is a powerful riffs combined beautifully with orchestrated arrangements and ...again ..another break with people's laugh giving applause.

The third track Everything's Falling (4:55) is still with its high energy tempo, even faster than the previous one. I love the riffs produced through its transition segments as well as jaw- dropping drumwork. The basslines are great and in some segments produce memorable riffs. The interlude part demonstrating short solo of keyboard combined with powerful basslines is really excellent - followed by powerful vocal line. Manager's Wish (5:54) is the next track with still an energetic style combined with some break with slow tempo combined with vocal line. This time it seems like there is a communication between the Manager and its circus players. A Truly Gifted Man (6:44) is different in style with nice piano fills. The music is kind of combined pop rock and reggae rhythm section. Presentation (1:03) is basically a break that demonstrates a dialogue followed with fast tempo and unique music of Look At The Freak (1:13). The follow-ups are short tracks with duration of 1 to 2 minutes :Argument (1:06), Confrontation (1:12), A Mother's Love (2:37), The Funniest Man Alive (3:46) depicting various stages of the circus story. I like Confrontation as it's quite complex and played neatly by the band which then flows into mellow part o Mother's Love. Really nice! And there is a bonus track under Japanese edition titled as Scared (4:43). The last two concluding tracks are also excellent: Lady In White (4:40) and Freak Of Nature (5:59). Lady In White has different style compared to other tracks.

Overall this is an excellent album that scores about 4.5 stars. It's beautifully composed and neatly performed by the band. The composition has good melody, superb harmonies on vocal its backing voices as well as the combined work of instruments used plus its orchestration, may tempo and style changes with relatively complex arrangements. The album has a solid structural integrity from start to end of album despite many breaks in the middle of the album - but that makes it richer. I highly recommend this and definitely it's much better than its predecessor released eight years ago. Happy that the band is still alive. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 182 ratings

BUY
Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Circus Pandemonium" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through Marquee Avalon in March 2014. It´s the first album release by the band since "Silence (2006)", so it´s been an 8 years long recording break, and I was beginning to wonder if they had disbanded without telling the world.

Thankfully that´s not the case and "Circus Pandemonium" sees A.C.T return doing what they do best: Playing melodic progressive rock/metal with great positive energy delivered with sublime technical skill. They have a distinct sound, that sets them apart from most other contemporary acts although their influences do shine through. When listening to A.C.T I´m first and foremost reminded of 70s art rock acts like Roxy Music, 10cc, Supertramp and especially Queen, but with an added progressive metal edge that reminds me of early Dream Theater.

While the music is played with great technical skill, the tracks are for the most part vers/chorus structured. The band almost always include surprises during the tracks though and while this isn´t the kind of progressive rock/metal music created to show off, there are still some pretty complex parts being played. The music for the most part sounds lighthearted and features great positive energy (sometimes to the point where I´m thinking I´m listening to a piece from a Broadway Musical), which make "Circus Pandemonium" quite the party to listen to. The instrumentation consists of bass, guitars, drums and keyboards, but it´s the high pitched vocals by Herman Saming that´s predominantly in focus. The addition of harmony and choir vocals are also an important ingredient of the band´s sound (the Queen reference is especially strong in that part of the music).

The material on "Circus Pandemonium" are generally quite clever and well written. A.C.T are very skilled composers and they pull off their adventurous ideas with ease. The combination of occasional heavy riffing and lighthearted (almost whimsical) musical ideas work wonders. Packed in a powerful and clear sound production "Circus Pandemonium" comes off as a high quality release on all parameters and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 182 ratings

BUY
Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars The Show Must Go On

So after a lengthy break of eight years, Swedish heavy prog band A.C.T have finally released a new piece of music, their fifth album, Circus Pandemonium. I found A.C.T through their critically acclaimed 2003 album Last Epic, a ridiculous and fun record, coming equally from rock opera and the bombast of a stage show as it was from progressive rock and metal. The album was hardly a groundbreaking one, but it was impossibly catchy, and actually incredibly unique ' I can't really think of another record with that kind of eccentricity and catchiness in progressive music, although recently Incura have been tackling a similar style (albeit with more of an alternative approach than progressive). A.C.T were not a huge classic band, but they were the sort that were definitely missed in their absence.

So with this new album, Circus Pandemonium, I guess I have to report some good news, and some bad news. And oddly, both happen to be the same thing ' this album is more or less A.C.T doing what A.C.T have done. I can't speak for any of the other A.C.T albums, since Last Epic is the only one I knew before this, but this is more or less the same style, more or less the same melodies and more or less the same excellent fun. Some people will rejoice to this ' this album is as accomplished as Last Epic and basically just as good, and some people honestly don't care if two albums sound the same. I know every single fan of 'djent' nodded their head in unison. But others will realise that this really is A.C.T writing on autopilot, with the same style and the same mindset. On this album, as the title suggests, we have the inclusion of some circus-style music, including influences from dark cabaret and different areas of stage theatrics. But realistically, when has A.C.T's music in the past not sounded like a carnival?

I don't really mind the continuation of the older style myself, because as I said, this is just as consistent as Last Epic, and the simple fact is that A.C.T's sound is so unique in the first place, that them playing the same thing isn't really going to make me mind. The melodies here are just as ridiculously as fun and just as memorable, particularly the infectious choruses of opener 'The End' and 'Manager's Wish'. The energy throughout the record is also unparalleled, using fantastic dynamics in a similar way that a stage show would, particularly in the first few tracks here. But although these first few songs on the album all have pretty stellar melodies, I do actually think that they all run a bit long, especially since they rely so much on the one catchy chorus melody, and no matter how catchy a chorus, its charm dies after a few repeats. As much as I enjoy the hook 'A Truly Gifted Man', it really starts to grate after a while, and it has the sort of tonality that would make me go insane if I heard it too much.

But then on the tracks in the middle of the album, the band go in the opposite direction, and we have a string of five shorter tracks, with only two of them really having any real musical substance ' the ridiculous and Bungle-esque 'Look at the Freak', and the rather sweet (although a bit clich') 'A Mother's Love'. The rest of the tracks are all story-building ones, giving us a bit of an insight into the characters and plot of this album, which seems to be about a circus freak with no tongue and an evil circus manager and a girl who tries to save him, and I can already feel everyone rolling their eyes. I honestly wish the story had been left to the background of this album, since it's so completely clich'd and contains so many archaic plot devices. 'A Mother's Love', as well as a couple of the other rock-opera styled tracks, has a massive Ayreon vibe, mostly due to the way the lyrics are sung, and the use of multiple vocalists. Although the melody on this is better than anything Arjen has written in years, I still can't shake the clich', and the notion that the lyrics feel simply like sung dialogue, making the lyrics pretty weak (ever heard of poetic dialogue?), but also meaning the melodies come second to the story, and when the story is this bad, you don't really want that.

In the end, Circus Pandemonium is certainly a good addition to the A.C.T catalogue, and long- term fans will certainly be glad for their return, but this really breaks nothing new for the band, and is basically as we should expect from them. Although I've said that this is pretty much on the same level as Last Epic, I would still return to that more than I will to this, since I feel a bit of the clich' and cheesy carnival parts of this album detract from the music, and the melodies aren't quite as good. It's still a solid record, however, and if you are looking for some bombastic and energetic circus-rock-opera-metal, (and you've already heard Incura enough), then this is a must-have.

7.1

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 182 ratings

BUY
Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars I have, after some writings about it, listened to the Swedish band A.C.T.'s fifth and latest record "Circus Pandemonium". You can't hear that the band is Swedish because they sing in English, so they could have been American or whatever. The band hasn't made a record for some years and now 2014 this is released with Thomas Lejon on drums, Herman Saming on vocals, Peter Asp on bass, Ola Andersson on guitars and Jerry Sahlin on synthesizers.

The cover is frightening but colourful and strong. It seems to display an evil circus trainefr and a poor freak, who is chained on the ground. That motive also is a theme on this concept record. My version of the album doesn't have marks between the different songs so I experienced it such a whole. Some of the passages on this record are really worth hearing. Sometimes the keyboard work is splendid or at least recognizible for prog fans and for example "The End" which nearly starts the record is borth catchy and clever. The vocals on this album are qualitative and varied. Parts of it is like a musical where a woman tries to defend "a freak" from an evil(stereotypical) circus manager. The record is over all well produced and I like it's theme. Many sole songs too are worth hearing at least once.

Though are there a lot of features I don't really like. The album is too heavy for me. I don't often find meaning for its heavyness. A bit too vociferous for me is is as I would consider it. I have also hard to hear originality. This album is good, but not exactly in my style. Three stars!

 Today's Report by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.92 | 122 ratings

BUY
Today's Report
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars This is ACT's first album. Funny that I review it the last. This is their most eclectic release, and probably less flirtations with metal here. It's basically anything goes approach - they mix rock with pop, light jazz, Latin music, neo-prog with its cheesy synths and prominent lead guitar lines, some electronic keyboard loops, even some biting social commentary. The last part of the album is made up in a typical ACT fashion of a loosely connected suite of humorous vignettes. And it's all delivered with welcome punch. Do ACT hold potential to cross over from eclectic prog to, well, crossover prog? I would certainly wish so, but probably the answer is no. They are catchy, for sure, just too heavy and technical for the pop crowd, and not enough metal for the metal crowd. So, what's left is us, aging prog dudes.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives