STARQUAKE – At The Circus (2023)

STARQUAKE - At The Circus (2023) - full

We already presented before this good band STARQUAKE on this website, and now ”At the Circus” is the third album from this project by German multi-instrumentalist Mikey Wenzel. The first two (Times that Matter and Time Space Matter) were both excellent homages to Mikey’s love of 1970s style progressive rock.
”At the Circus” builds on that to be, in my opinion, even better than the first two.
Go back fifty years or so when bands such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Yes, Camel, Pink Floyd et al were at their peak and that’s what At The Circus is all about.
Crunching heavy riffs, lots of swirling organs and other keys/syths, multi-harmony vocals and melodies and plenty of twiddly proggy bits too.

A short intro of fairground type sounds and we’re straight in to the heavy progressive Heep/Purple style stuff with ‘Life’s a Circus’. The big biting riffs backed up with the Hammond organ, cutting solos and the layered vocals with a catchy hook. Packs a lot in to three and a half minutes.
‘Clowns Don’t Cry’ is another goodie as is ‘Nu Knots’ – frantic, speedy and heavy as you like, more Hammond/swirling keys, a bit of a change of pace mid-track and still time to squeeze in a nice solo in to three and a half minutes. Have a listen:

‘Life Without You’ is a nicely more melodic song bookended with the short duo of proggy instrumentals ‘Strings Attached’ and ‘No Strings Attached’.
Other highlights on an album so good it’s hard to single out anything more outstanding that the rest check out ‘Never Really Over’ coming in a six minutes of that glorious heavy progressive big riffs and keys including a chunky Hammond solo, and the similarly heavy six and a half minutes of ‘All My Friends Are Dead’.

The closer – Farewell – is eight and a half minutes incorporating everything and all elements of what Mikey clearly wants to achieve with Starquake and his fondness for the classic heavy / progressive rock.

”At the Circus” captures the essence of ’70s / early ’80s rock/prog in great form. It’s done so well and a real pleasure to listen to for a simple lad such as myself who to a large extent is still stuck in those decades musically – let’s be honest, the best Rock era.
Highly Recommended


01 – Welcome – Usher In (Noverture)
02 – Introduction
03 – Life’s A Circus
04 – Clowns Don’t Cry
05 – Nu Knots
06 – Strings Attached
07 – Life Without You
08 – No Strings Attached
09 – Platform (Flink Poit)
10 – Train To Nowhere
11 – War is…
12 – Never Really Over
13 – Afterlife
14 – All My Friends Are Dead
15 – Prayer
16 – Slow Down
17 – Farewell – Usher Out (Underture)

Mikey Wenzel – all vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards

Jan “Donkey” van Meerendonk / drums
Andi Pernpeintner / Hammond (2-5,9,13,17) Hammond solo (12,13,17)
Joe Wagner / guitar solo (3,5,7,10,12-15,17)
Alex Kugler / guitar solo (2,5,7,12-14,17), harp (10)
Reinhold “Oki” Okon / vocals (4)
Gaby Weihmayer / vocals (7)
Michael Ocker / vocals (12)
Martin Treppesch / baritone guitar & bass (3)
Jochen Schertel / guitar solo (9)
Florian Ebner / guitar solo (15)
Versilian Studio Chamber Orchestra / string quartet (6, 17)


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