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Return to Heaven Denied
Released: 1998, Metal Blade
Ahh... The magic of the Internet. A vast wealth of porno... uh,... I mean information, at one's fingertips, accessible 24 hours a day from anywhere on the planet. And considering that metal promotion here in North America is practically non-existent, the net is an incredible way for lesser known and underground bands to gain recognition with Western metal fans. Italy's Labyrinth is one of several bands I've discovered since "logging on" to the world wide web.
Normally, technical progressive rock/metal doesn't appeal to my tastes. One reason being that often the riffing and song structures are so complicated that it's difficult (sometimes downright confusing) to just listen to it and enjoy it. Another reason is that the guitarists in these types of bands are usually such accomplished players that they make me feel inadequate as a guitar player myself. But after hearing some Real Audio clips from Return to Heaven Denied, I felt compelled to order it. The songs are on this CD are quite melodic and listenable. And don't worry, there's plenty of aggression as well.
The musicianship displayed on this CD is absolutely brilliant. Return... begins with the technically amazing and simultaneously enthralling "Moonlight" (The tempo changes in that song alone are enough to make one's jaw drop.) with their combination of skilled playing technique and quality song writing continuing throughout the entire CD. Songs like "New Horizons", Lady Lost in Time", and "Thunder" present the listener with both technical prowess and very palatable melodies. I'd go on, but I'm starting to run out of adjectives.
So if you're a fan of progressive power metal bands like Stratovarius, Fates Warning, and to a certain extent, Dream Theater, or you just appreciate breath-taking musicianship, then you'd probably be interested in Labyrinth. Oh! And in case you're wondering, guitarists Olaf Thorsen and Anders Rain did an exceptional job of making me feel like an inadequate musician. Not only that, but Thorsen also bears a strong resemblance to Fabio. So not only does he play in a band, but he can get chicks with ease as well! I think I'm beginning to hate this guy. On the other hand, I doubt that the women stick around for very long once he tries to sell them "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter..." Hehehe... Loser.
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