Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Labyrinth - Return to Heaven Denied

I always forget about this awesome band when I go to pick a CD to listen to. Normally, I reach for Norther, Graveworm, or a new CD that I haven't decided how good it is yet. Those few times that Return to Heaven Denied is the chosen CD to get to my stereo or CD player, I'm blown away by what I hear. Not only is Labyrinth one of the fastest bands I've heard (Dragonforce and Skylark being faster), but they sound so beautiful when they play fast! Imagine older Stratovarius for the speed part.
I also must make note of the melodicness. This doesn't mean that the guitar riffs are well written by any means. The keyboards particularly in songs 1-6 and 11 are so perfectly woven in. Unlike bands like Sonata Arctica, the constant keyboards belong in the sound. I know - Sonata Arctica isn't a good example, but that's all I can think of. While I'm comparing the 2, Sonata Arctica is better. Why? Because ALL of Sonata Arctica's albums are great. Labyrinth only has this one. I hate the production and lack of keyboards on their newer self-titled album. That album would get 3 or less stars from me. Labyrinth's singer is wonderful. He is no Fabio Lione, but he compliments the drums and keyboards well. You really have to hear it to believe it. This doesn't sound like Secret Sphere, Rhapsody, Skylark, Arachnes, or Highlord. This is more like common power metal with an Italian voice than something you would normally hear coming out of Italy. A lot of credit goes to Labyrinth for this album. The perfectly done keyboards in tracks 1 and 3 alone should catch your attention.
Also, I think its track 5 - the singer holds one note for 10 whole seconds! Certain stand-out points like this help this album be such a gem in melodic power metal. Milestone? No - there aren't many of those. "Gem" is good enough. My idea of a milestone is something like Hatebreeder, Visions, Winterheart's Guild, When the Aurora Falls, or Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I. When something that hasn't been done before is accomplished to near perfection, THAT'S a milestone. So overall, if you don't have this album yet and want to fill your "jewelry collection" of gems, you need this album! "Pay" your respects to this great band! When you get the time, go read some of my other reviews and say if they were helpful to you or not. --- By Matt Stoessel

1. Moonlight
2. New Horizons
3. The Night Of Dreams
4. Lady Lost In Time
5. State Of Grace
6. Heaven Denied
7. Thunder
8. Feel (Legend B. Remix)
9. Time After Time
10. Falling Rain
11. Die For Freedom

- Bitrate: 192
- Format: CD
- Country: Italy

[pass - heavymetalbreed]

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