Deadly Circus Fire have a problem. They have stepped up a level or two and from now on will be judged against more demanding criteria.
Previous gigs from the prog-metal foursome have been enthusiastic and competent, but done little to suggest the multinational band could make significant progress. Here, though, they’ve leapt forward, with a deft, commanding, fiery display. Now, there’s both the combative spirit and long-sighted focus to be a lot more successful.
Every aspect of the Fire has improved. Frontman Adam Grant is tougher and so much better at controlling the audience – his voice is also more of a roar. Guitarist Save Addario throws out some lean Periphery related riffs, while bassist Mime Enort and drummer Paul Igoe offer subtlety as well as drive.
But, it’s the songs from new album The Hydra’s Tailor that highlight the way in which things have changed for the better. They still ride some brutal rapids, but have now embraced a lot more diversity and thoughtful complexity, and this makes a massive difference. You can hear the way the band are reaching out into Tool, Primus style territory on the likes of Animal, House Of Plagues and The Hydra’s Tailor, each getting those at the front of the stage moshing, yet also making everyone take notice of time changes and a creative lightness.
This reaches a crescendo on Devil’s Opera, which is turning into a DCF classic. It’s here that everything strong and positive about the band’s new approach is rammed home on a spiteful track that isn’t afraid to go off the rails.
There will be arguments as to whether the band’s decision to ditch their stage makeup is a good move. But this never clouds the fact that Deadly Circus Fire have been transformed into a formidable proposition.