A.C.T
Metal Related / Progressive Metal • Sweden

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A.C.T (Swedish pronunciation: [ækt]) is a Swedish progressive rock band formed in 1995 under the name ‘Fairyland’, in Malmö. Initially under Ola Andersson on guitars, Tomas Erlandsson on drums, Jens Appelgren on vocals and Jerry Sahlin on both keyboards and drums, Fairyland was started by members of a music school in Malmö. Amongst various line-up changes, Fairlyland changed its name into A.C.T in 1995. In 1996 A.C.T first came into the public eye when it made its way to the final of a Swedish music competition. In 1997 a new demo was recorded and the band toured extensively in Sweden, eventually recording its debut album, "Today’s Report", released in 1999. Following the release of this album, A.C.T embarked on a Scandinavian tour with the progressive rock band Saga. In 2001, the second album "Imaginary Friends" was recorded and the band appointed Graham Collins of AAUK as their manager, read more...
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A.C.T Discography

A.C.T albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.33 | 6 ratings
Today's Report
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.25 | 6 ratings
Imaginary Friends
Metal Related 2001
.. Album Cover 3.58 | 7 ratings
Last Epic
Metal Related 2003
.. Album Cover 3.06 | 5 ratings
Silence
Metal Related 2006
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 7 ratings
Circus Pandemonium
Metal Related 2014

A.C.T EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
The Early Recordings
Metal Related 2002

A.C.T live albums

A.C.T demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
For Promotional Use Only
Metal Related 2001

A.C.T boxset & compilations

A.C.T singles (0)

A.C.T movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

A.C.T Reviews

A.C.T Circus Pandemonium

Album · 2014 · Metal Related
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UMUR
"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.

A.C.T Circus Pandemonium

Album · 2014 · Metal Related
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Gallifrey
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 cliché) “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 clichéd 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 cliché, 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 cliché 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.

7.0

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

A.C.T Imaginary Friends

Album · 2001 · Metal Related
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progshine
What makes me like A.C.T so much is their unique blending of styles.

Since I listened to their debut Today's Report, I've payed more and more attention, cause they're Progressive Metal, but they aren't, they're AOR, but they aren't, they're are classic Prog Rock, but they aren't.

THAT makes them interesting, you can see a heavy riff AND a violin, like in 'A Supposed Tour'. You have all these pop melodies all around, and Herman Saming vocals are unique!

I guess they have a unique sound in general, I, at least, don't know any other band that looks like them!

It's good to see they are recording a new album right now as I'm writting this little review.

A.C.T Today's Report

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Today´s Report" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through MTM Music in 1999.

The music on the album is heavy progressive rock with an occasional metal edge. The compositions are very sophisticated and melodic but not necessarily complex. There is an emphasis on catchiness rather than on technical playing. It shouldn´t be misunderstood though as A.C.T are very accomplished musicians and they occasionally play some really technically challenging parts. The high pitched lead vocals by Herman Saming, the harmony vocals and the choirs are very impressive too and sometimes remind me of the high quality vocal work of Queen. When A.C.T are most heavy and progressive they remind me of early Dream Theater.

Standout tracks are "Abandoned World", "Waltz With Mother Nature", "Today's Report" (with the spoken catastrophic words), "Welcome" (damn catchy that one) and of course the "Personalities" suite which is brilliant to my ears.

The only issue I have with "Today´s Report", is that the sound production could have been sligthly better, but it´s nothing too serious and the excellent musicianship and adventurous songwriting more than make up for it. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

A.C.T Last Epic

Album · 2003 · Metal Related
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dtguitarfan
This album holds very high status in my collection. If I were to introduce someone to the Progressive Rock genre by handing them a stack of 10 albums, this would be one of them. And the band has this knack for creating intricate, yet incredibly catchy tunes. Whenever I pull this album out to listen to it, for days afterwards I find myself humming or whistling sections of the album. I sometimes find myself remembering and humming or whistling sections of this album even after months of not listening to it. This is an incredibly unique album. The best way I can think to describe this album is with Peter Pan's words: "Oh the cleverness of me!" I pick this phrase not only because "clever" is the best word to describe the album, but also because of the playfulness of the band - like a musical Peter Pan. The album is a concept album that introduces different residents of an apartment building as musical characters. In one of the songs, titled "Wake Up ? Apartment 122", I believe the apartment itself is made into a character. The music of this song itself is very playful, and has a Progressive Reggae feel to it. But the lyrics are especially playful - here is a section:

All these weird things that I am seeing, Glad I'm not like a human being, Losing temper, and problems with PMS?

This album is a masterpiece, and you should listen to it. I promise you it will be a fun experience, at the very least. The only reason I'm giving this 4 stars and not 5 is due to the feel of the album being less heavy than what I think most people on this site would look for, but the music itself is incredible.

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