Back with a new album, new label (Century Media), new keyboardist, new guitarist, and the return of singer Roberto Tiranti, progressive speed metal merchants Labyrinth certainly sound like a hungry band with something to prove on their latest, self-titled release. All these changes seem to have re-invigorated the band, as Labyrinth sees the five-piece kicking the chops level up a notch while adding an extra dose of melody and progressive tendencies.
Songs like "This World" and "The Prophet" are much more complex than what we normally expect from this band, as heavy guitar riffs from Andrea Cantarelli are intricately weaved with symphonic synth solos courtesy of Andrea De Paoli. Fans of Nevermore will love the brutal and crushing "Just Soldier (Stay Down)", where Cantarelli just pummels the listen with complex, brontosaurus riffs while drummer Mattia Stancioiu frantically drives home flashy double bass beats. Tiranti really shines throughout the CD, proving his mettle on the more aggressive tracks, while showing a melodic, gentle side on the poignant "Neverending Rest", and a special touch on the catchy riffery of "Hand in Hand", easily one of the bands most accessible tracks. The band combines complex Dream Theater-like arrangements with classy Iron Maiden styled power metal on "Terzinato" and "Slave to the Night", two tunes that really show what a great combination Cantarelli and De Paoli have quickly become.
It's obvious that Labyrinth were not content to simply be another player in the overcrowded neo-classical progressive metal scene. By slowing things down slightly, adding more melody, and interjecting complex guitar and keyboard parts, this band has risen above the multitude, joining Symphony X, Stratovarius, Royal Hunt, Rhapsody, and Artension at the forefront. Recommended.