's sound has unquestionably matured over these last few years.
The overreach evident on previous albums has been replaced by a musical ambition that's well within their grasp. No stress, no strain, no cracks (well, only a couple). A band firmly in control, confident, making sure-footed strides.
Hurtling headlong into a song, one step ahead of the ramped up bpms, seems now to be a thing of the past. The pace is frequently far from sedate, but moderated to accommodate some outstanding melodies, impressive guitarwork and colourful orchestral flourishes.
Of course, that doesn't mean '6 Days To Nowhere'
exists in anybody's comfort zone, but unlike most other Power / Symphonic Metal bands, Labyrinth
's music is shorn of bloat and bluster, with the bombast sparingly distributed throughout the album. Much of it, especially openers 'Crossroads
' and 'There Is A Way'
, could be accurately described as straight ahead melodic metal.
As on 'Mother Earth'
, the band's acoustic variations are tasteful and well timed, carefully allowing electric guitars to crank up loudly and synth strings to sigh mournfully.
Elsewhere, 'Waiting Tomorrow' opens dramatically then lets us down with an unfocused structure. 'Just One Day'
could be Glenn Hughes
or Robert Plant. By the time we reach the chugging rhythms of ninth track 'Coldness'
and tenth track, 'Rusty Nail'
s heavy metal tendency, we realise that the number of styles Labyrinth
take in their stride is breathtaking.
When a hint of sameness sets in, they go off tangentially down some musical cul de sac ('What
', 'Out Of Control'
), holding your attention until the terrain becomes familiar. They then turn back onto the original route, before carrying onto the next track.
Only a couple of bad judgement calls spoil the album. A bluesy cover of the Beatles' 'Come Together'
doesn't work and the appropriately named 'Lost
' is a real clunker. It lurches from power metal to death metal, taking in some Flamenco variations en route, all in the blink of an eye, constantly returning to an extremely irritating signature rhythmic motif, and none of it works, not even close.
Take these two out and we'd have been left with twelve quality tracks, some better than others, but all displaying the band in a new improved light.
Written by Brian
Monday, March 26, 2007Show all reviews by BrianRatingsBrian: 6/10
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