Return To Heaven Denied

Labyrinth - Return To Heaven Denied ©1998 Metal Blade
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

A word of advice: Do not listen to this CD while driving on a long, lonely stretch of highway. If you do, you'll notice that you're going 90 MPH in an attempt to keep up with the pace of the sound on this disc. I've noticed that "Cool song on the radio" is not a really useful excuse with the police when they pull you over. I recommend a sturdy chair, preferably bolted to the floor. Perhaps a five-point seat harness too.

This CD is a wake-up call to the infinite number of Dream Theater clones running around out there that are producing lifeless music. When Labyrinth released No Limits in 1996, they were one of many Italian neo-classical, progressive bands that were popping up. I am glad to see they are still around, even after the loss of Joe Terry (now Fabio Leone of Rhapsody). Terry has been replaced by Rob Tyrant who has a splendid voice, well capable of carrying the power of Labyrinth's music. Labyrinth plays in the same vein as Stratovarius, Rage or Helloween with a full dose of added speed. I'd classify the disc as progressive speed metal which I think is better than speedy progressive metal. This is a release that plays loud, in your face, jam it down your throat music. And it keeps you coming back again and again to listen one more time. It absolutely rockets along with some wonderful songs that immediately brand themselves into your memory. The music just blazes along with a twin guitar attack that is a metal fan's wet dream. Surrounded and pursued by the keys, the guitars propel the music at a break-neck pace with the bassist somehow keeping up at warp speed. The songs are what one expects from progressive metal, full of changes and redirection. But the changes come at a blistering pace and really hook you into listening. Just when you think you know where the song is headed, the direction changes, the pace steps up another notch, or the bottom drops out from under you. This CD is a true heavy metal roller coaster ride that will leave you breathlessly racing to get back in line and ride again.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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