|Review: Labyrinth - Return To Heaven Denied|
|Return To Heaven Denied|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1998
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: August 15, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Return To Heaven Denied
Rated 4.66/5 (93.1%) (58 Votes)
This was Labyrinth's second full-length, and it's the one everyone talks about. After seven years of existence and a lot of lineup changes, this fine Prog/Power band from the land of bad accents finally produced an album within a hair of being a classic.
You can't really apply the tag 'generic' to this band, because while they may sound quite a bit like other proggy Power Metal bands like Eldritch, Athena and Domine, that's because Labyrinth were there at the beginning with all the rest of them, and has in fact traded singers around with Athena and Domine in the past. Labyrinth essentially sound like mid-period Fates Warning combined with that distinctly Italian penchant for keyboards and double-bass speed. The fact that singer Rob Tyrant sounds a whole lot like Ray Alder does a lot to help this resemblance. The fact that killer songs like "Heaven Denied" and "Thunder" feature catchy, prog-style vocal lines reminiscent of vintage FW helps a lot too. Overall RTHD is a razor-sharp, hook-laden exercise on energetic Italian Power Metal with more than a touch of prog in the songwriting. There are lots of keyboards on display here, and the crunch is a bit damped down, but not as much as you would think, and the album has a lot of kick. The only possible beef here is that they rely a bit too much on the double-bass runs, and the songs are not always as catchy and memorable as they could be. The first seven songs are first rate, with aforementioned standouts "Heaven Denied" and "Thunder", but the last four are not quite as good, and don't stick as well. Like Fates Warning, Labyrinth's material is complex, and will take repeated listens to really get into, but not too many.
This is one of the landmarks in Italian Power metal, and still stands as a high point of the scene after six years. If you are a fan of progressive Power Metal then this is a CD you just have to have, as it is the yardstick by which other such albums must be measured. Essential.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: 6 Days To Nowhere (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)|
Review: Labyrinth (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Return to Heaven Denied Pt. II - "A Midnight Autumn’s Dream" (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Sons of Thunder (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Interview with Rob Tyrant on July 6, 2007 (Interviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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