Lost Behind The Mask

Circus of Rock

Drummer Mirka Rantanen is a true metal soul from Finland. Being around in the hard […]
August 14, 2023
Circus of Rock - Lost Behind The Mask album cover

Drummer Mirka Rantanen is a true metal soul from Finland. Being around in the hard rock metal scene since the late eighties and drumming for a handful of projects, the guy survived all the waves that washed the metal genre throughout the years and is still going strong with his new project CIRCUS OF ROCK presenting their second full album Lost Behind The Mask. As the name of the band suggests, their output is a traditional hard rock style showing influences from bands covering the 70's all the way to the 90's. With an array of 14 guest vocals (1 per song!) and a variety of musicians in every track (sorry for omitting their names, the list is bigger than the vocals) Mirka presents us with all the hard rock flavors available in his recipe with a variety of interpretations, vocal styles and range. Let's check if the recipe works.

The album starts with "Alive And Kicking" with vocalist Girish Pradhan from India. A basic classic rock tune letting you know that the more you try to put me down, I will always come back alive and kicking. A perfect theme for a rock song that perhaps is trying to show between the lines that Mirka Rantanen is still running strong and loving Hard Rock. You have my respect sir. Always good to hear Girish Pradhan singing. The guy has a great range. With the indistinguishable voice of Jeff Scott Sotto of Malmsteen fame, we have " Keep On Shining".  A kind of mellower hard rock tune with a good melody and chorus. The album is already giving me the impression that every singer has put their stamp on their respective song and this is a good sign.

With undiscovered Argentinian singer Santiago Ramonda we have "Holding the Gun". Another good soft tune. I really do not know how the album was recorded, but by the mixing I would guess that multiple studios were used for each singer. Santiago is a good promise, but I believe his voice is a little low in the mix. Svetlana Bliznakova, or Sevi, sings "The Beast" and does not compromise. With a good voice range she tells her fight for freedom in a catchy tune with a sing along chorus. Sevi has a solid solo career in her home country Bulgaria.This tune has a good guitar solo as well. A mix of guitar and keyboard in the introduction brings us "The War Is Over" with singer Mark Boals. Another solid tune with good vocals and a memorable melody advising you to drop your guns cause the war is over. An interesting sounding guitar solo as well.

The  mood changes a little with the performance of Lordi on "Nine Lives". With his traditional raspy voice, he brings a different flavor of vocal dexterity to the track. Good backing vocals responding to the singer in the chorus. Got to love Lordi. We reach the halfway point with a romantic tune. Performed by the good Finnish singer Pinja Hanski, "All I Need" is the most pop oriented tune of the album and it felt a little out of place with the others. This does not mean it is a bad song. Is just not crunchy enough for a rock album. With a basic and recycled hard rock riff, "Truth or Consequences" performed by singer Jay Lewis starts and is a kind of formulaic hard rock tune. Riff and melody that you probably heard before and nothing that stands out much. Jay is a good singer but he is not able to bring the track out of its marasmus.

This is a 14 song album, so hold tight there. The album gets an epic mood with "Death Makes No Sound" performed by singer Antony Perviainen.  With a duet of voice and piano starting the tune, the song tells you that in battle, you cannot hear death. The song has interesting mood changes and a good guitar and keyboard solo. Singer David Readman reminds me of his homonymous David Coverdale on the track "Is It Any Wonder". In my opinion, a weak track with too much WHITESNAKE moods to my liking. A little originality goes a long way. Finnish singer Peter James Goodman introduces "Fix". A basic rock track with some keyboard passages that reminds me of DIO's Rock And Roll Children. Another song that uses all the hard rock formulas already trademarked with nothing that catches your attention.

With a total Bon Jovi style, "Heavy Fire" gets us closer to the end of the album. Performed by Chilean singer Rafael Castillo, the song has a good melody and vocal performance, but still does not impress blending with the others in its predictability. The last tune "Sunrise" starts with a good orchestration with strings and a brass section and a soft vocal interlude by Bernie Shaw of URIAH HEEP fame, with the piano. The song goes to an epic crescendo by changing moods and tempos. Great solos and you can see clearly the URIAH HEEP influences. For me, the most complete and best song of the album, and a good way to end.

However, it does not end there. The album has a bonus track "Edge of Destiny" featuring Ilkka Keskitalo on vocals. The melody in the beginning of the song reminds me a lot of Through the Fire And Flames from DRAGONFORCE. A good tune but not as good as the previous one. A small paragraph for Mirka Rantanen's good drum work in all tracks as well as the guitar players, bass players and keyboardists that participated on this album. Competent musicianship all around. Lost Behind The Mask is a good album but the issue is that, is only that. A couple of above the average tracks but the album gets lost sometimes in its identity.

5 / 10









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"Lost Behind The Mask" Track-listing:

1. Alive And Kicking
2. Keep On Shining
3. Holdin' The Gun
4. The Beast
5. The War Is Over
6. Nine Lives
7. All I Need
8. Truth Or Consequences
9. Death Makes No Sound
10. Is It Any Wonder
11. Fix
12. Heavy Fire
13. Sunrise
14. Edge Of Destiny

Circus of Rock Lineup:

Bernie Shaw-Vocals (URIAH HEEP)
Jeff Scoot Soto-Vocals (SONS OF APOLLO)
David Readman-Vocals (PINK CREAM 69)
Mark Boals-Vocals (YNGWE MASMSTEEN)
Antony Parviainen- Vocals (PSYCHEWORK)
Jay Lewis-Vocals (JAY LEWIS GANG)
Peter James Goodman-Vocals (VIRTUOSITY)
Rafael Castillo-Vocals (FIRELAND)
Svetlana Bliznakova-Vocals (SEVI)
Ilkka Keskitalo-Vocals (KING COMPANY)
Pinja Pitkanen-Vocals
Santiago Ramonda-Vocals
Lordi-Vocals (LORDI)

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