Labyrinth - Return to Heaven Denied
MetalBlade Records
Power / Speed Metal
11 songs (57'53)
Release year: 1998
Labyrinth, MetalBlade Records
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Labyrinth's second cd, Return to Heaven Denied was a breakthrough for the band both musically and commercially. It blends together fast Italian Power Metal, furious shredding solos, neoclassical keyboards and oddly enough, electronic synthesized sounds better than on Luca Turilli's new solo album. Ex-guitarist and mastermind of the band, Olaf Thorsten even says himself that Return to Heaven Denied is the album of their lives and I couldn't agree more. They have yet to release an album that comes close to being as good as this one.

The first thing that struck me was other than the sheer speed of the opener Moonlight was the voice of Rob Tyrant. He has a very obvious Italian feel to him, that is obvious if youve been listening to Power Metal for years and can tell the different nuances between German, Finnish, and American singers. He has a huge range and has a clear, gentle (but not soft), and emotional singing voice and a killer falsetto. Not to be outdone, guitarists Olaf Thorsten and Anders Rain both play lightning fast passages and solos that make you sit back and take notice. The keys on Return to Heaven Denied are not in the foreground like in bands such as Sonata Arctica but rather they are used to accent and enrich the overall sound and are blended smoothly with the rest of the instruments. Like I said earlier Moonlight, one of the best songs on here opens up the album with a very fast and positive note. New Horizons is the first song to show off the electronic side of the band before it explodes into another fast killer with dramatic keysmanship. The first ballad, The Night of Drems has some very nice singing and this song might actually get you laid! Since I dont want to do a complete song by song review here, Ill comment on the best tracks from here on out. State of Grace is another softer number with a really catchy sing along intro and chorus and the second ballad Return to Heaven Denied has some fast parts in it, rounded out by more gorgeous singing by Rob Tyrant in the last section of the song with his falsetto voice. Feel is a techno song with Power Metal guitars on top. It sounds like a horrible concept but it surprisingly works and works well, a pleasant surprise. The other tracks while not as good as the ones mentioned above do still deserve a place on the album and are by no means fillers they just are not as unique and extravagant as the rest. If you like one song on here you'l like the rest, trust me.

Return to Heaven Denied would appeal to a wide spectrum of fans with its varied styles. Although Italian Power Metal is the mainstay of the album, there is a well balanced mixture of tremendous speed, (a fact I cannot emphasize enough, it is really that fast), power, emotion and TALENT that will keep listeners coming back for more. I highly recomend this disc.

Killing Songs :
Moonlight, The Night of Dreams, State of Grace and Return to Heaven Denied
Ben quoted 84 / 100
Chris quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Labyrinth that we have reviewed:
Labyrinth - 6 Days To Nowhere reviewed by Ben and quoted 57 / 100
Labyrinth - Freeman reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Labyrinth - No Limits reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Labyrinth - Labyrinth reviewed by Marty and quoted 78 / 100
Labyrinth - Sons Of Thunder reviewed by Chris and quoted 70 / 100
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