The debut album from Circus of Rock gave hard rock fans plenty to enjoy. The side project from King Company’s Mika Rantanen saw the Finnish musician collaborating with a whole host of familiar faces, including Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn, Axel Rudi Pell, Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioeli, and ex-Nightwish man Marco Hietala. This second outing for the Circus (released in May 2023) isn’t quite as impressive in terms of roll call, but any album that features vocal contributions from Uriah Heep’s Bernie Shaw and the legendary Jeff Scott Soto is definitely worth hearing.
For most people Uriah Heep are a band consigned to the seventies with their some of their earliest albums ‘Very ’Eavy, Very ’Umble’, ‘Demons & Wizards’ and ‘The Magicians Birthday’ their best known. Those same people probably still regard the band as a poor man’s Deep Purple and are blissfully unaware that the band’s twenty third studio release – 2011’s ‘Into The Wild’, their first for Frontiers Records – is among their absolute best. Although the straight forward hard rock on display owed more to the band’s output from the early 80s and beyond than the flowery fantasies and psudo-prog of their 70s heyday, the whole album showcased a class act – a band still more than capable of delivering the goods in the classic rock vein and in some cases really outshining their peers. Since that last album, the world also lost bassist Trevor Bolder. With that in mind, 2014’s ‘Outsider’ had much to live up to and need to work incredibly hard to match the great impression left by its immediate predecessor.