Review: Mental Circus – Divine

7275748.jpegWritten by Rainer Kerber

Singer Sanne Marico founded the Belgian band Mental Circus in 2012. One year later, the self-titled debut album was released, clearly showing that Sanne’s musical idol is Evanescence, especially their front woman, Amy Lee. After several changes, only the Marico and drummer Phil Weinhold are the last remaining founding members, but that didn’t stop a second album with Divine.

‘Merciless Angel’ starts with synth sounds that are underlaid a little later from the drums. Rhythmic guitar riffs and the voice of Marico, which is strongly reminiscent of Amy Lee, dominate the song. The refrain “Let Me Be Your God” imposes musical comparisons to early Within Temptation, without, however, simply copying the Dutch symphonic metal act.

‘Heaven’ has a strong industrial hit side. The voice of Sanne is partially technically alienated and sometimes backed by frantic synth sounds. For me, one of the absolute highlights is the piano ballad ‘Someday.’ Of course, you immediately think of ‘My Immortal’ by Evanescence. Sanne can show how variable her voice is here. So much so that you can just close your eyes and dream.

‘No Way Out’ really pops out of the speakers. Full pressure drums and heavy guitar riffs are driving alongside powerful vocals.

In ‘Falling Deeper Down,’ Marico’s voice is temporarily altered, which provides for an industrial Touch. Popping guitar riffs give the song but also metallic heavyness.

Something quieter but no less powerful, ‘My Gesture’ rolls out of the speakers. Almost at the end of the album, ‘Heroin’ is another highlight for me thanks to a very catchy melodic refrain, which they do by pressing hard bass and guitar from the speakers. At 2:44 in length, however, it’s unfortunately the shortest song on the album.

Apart from the industrial noises at the beginning, ‘The Real World’ is a catchy song with almost radio-friendly qualities, especially as rhythmic riffs and percussion passages drive this melodic song.

The sound of Mental Circus lies in the intersection of Evanescence, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil, but these bands are far from cloned. The new additions to the strings (Stefanie Geerts g, Dimitry Vermeire b) ensure a powerful sound and drummer Philip Weinhold performs heavy work on the battery. The production is modern and powerful. The drawback of the album, however, is the vocal recordings. Even with the best speakers, the voice of Sanne Marico sounds somewhat dull. All in all, this was a successful second work. 7.5/10


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