Total Time: 1:00:23
The Italian band is celebrating thirty years of existence by releasing a brand new album, four years after the really good “Architecture of a God”. LABYRINTH have gone through several phases during their career… a first quite productive period, reaching their peak with “Return to Heaven Denied” and “Sons of Thunder”, while from then on they experienced a ten year period characterized by lots of member changes, instability and not so good releases, only to come back in 2010 with the release of “Return to Heaven Denied II” reminding us of their glorious past.
In their new album entitled “Welcome to the Absurd Circus”, the band from Tuscany continues to perform what they already do very well. They follow the successful recipe of the first period, combining power metal and melodic progressive, and I dare to admit that in some cases it sounds as fresh as it did back then. Of course, this is the result of the compositional direction of the old guard, guitarists Olaf Thorsen and Andrea Cantarelli. The album is characterized once again from the extensive use of keyboards, which gives a nostalgic touch, as well as the massive heavy riffage and melodic guitars, which give a more aggressive tone on some occasions or “sweeten” the sound in others. The album begins with the title track, which was also launched as an official video. It is a typical Labyrinth track, rhythmic with nice alternations between guitar riffs and keyboards, an amazing solo and the characteristic beautiful melodic vocals of Roberto Tiranti. Roberto’s skills are amazing and this is a clear highlight of the whole album. When I first listened to the “Welcome to the Absurd Circus”, I could easily spot the songs “Den of Snakes”, “Words Minefield”, the dynamic ballad “One More Last Time” and the speedy “Live Today” and “Finally Free”.
The band is generally in excellent shape and sounds compact and well bonded. The crystal clear production is contributing to this direction and undoubtedly an excellent work has been done in regards to the sound and space of every single instrument. I can trace a certain level of relative complexity in some songs and in combination with the long duration of the album, it may take a few more listens to completely follow the entire flow of this release. If I could pinpoint few weaknesses in “Welcome to the Absurd Circus” (although it would be minor details), these would be a small “slump” in performance and overall interest during the second half of the album and perhaps the fact that by listening to it you understand that Labyrinth play it safe and repeat themselves .Therefore, there are themes here and there that are similar to earlier ones from albums of the past, especially from “Return to Heaven Denied”. Regarding the lyrical content, in several songs LABYRINTH move into a concept of social matters (which is a very interesting subject matter nowadays), while others get into a more personal, experiential direction. In the end, the result is characterized by a strong lyrical tone, leaving (at least to me) the dominant feeling of nostalgia. A beautiful album of good quality, absolutely convincing, clearly addressed to a power and heavy audience, which I highly recommend for listening.
Editorr: Kostas Kafritsas
Related Link: LABYRINTH – Facebook Page