Into the Arc of Time...
If you're someone who enjoys metal operas from acts like Ayreon and Genius, it'd be a real shame to miss out on the latest outing from Brazil's Soulspell. With an all-star cast, irresistible compositions, and a powerful overall sound, the end result for The Labyrinth of Truths is one of the best progressive power metal albums of 2010. The Labyrinth of Truths is a rock opera of sorts, with a host of guest vocalists, a conceptual story, and a generally bombastic sound. I haven't paid much attention to the lyrics here, but the story supposedly revolves around the concept of how just living a normal life can affect the lives of people worldwide. The lyrics never come across as outwardly cheesy, and the music is so fantastic that I wouldn't care even if they were an endless cheesefest. The latest album from Helono Vale's brainchild is essential listening for people who enjoy metal operas - The Labyrinth of Truths can compete with the best of the best.
The music here is a progressive/power metal opera played in a style not unlike Ayreon, Star One, Genius, or even Savatage. One of the most eye-opening things about The Labyrinth of Truths is the lineup filled with metal legends; something surprising for a relatively unknown project. On this album you can find vocal contributions from the likes of Jon Oliva (Savatage), Zak Stevens (Savatage), Roland Grapow (Helloween, Masterplan), and Germán Pascual (Narnia), to name but a few. The instrumental section is impressive as well, but the main hook that The Labyrinth of Truths possesses lies in the fantastic compositions. On this album you'll find operatic power metal madness in the title track, a beautiful pop-oriented song in "Adrift", or a stellar progressive epic with "A Secret Compartment". There's plenty of variation on The Labyrinth of Truths in the vocal arrangements and compositions themselves, and the album rarely (if ever) feels derivative of itself. The vocal melodies here are very appealing - just listen to some of those harmonies in "A Secret Compartment"! People who tend to look down upon pompous and symphonic power metal won't have their minds changed by this album, but for someone like me, the only way to look at this album is one of the best progressive power metal albums of 2010.
The production is great (in my opinion). There's a bit of "cheese" added because of the stressed production values, but I think it gives the music a powerful and commanding edge.
The Labyrinth of Truths took a few listens for me to appreciate, but it's safe to say that the more I hear this album, the more I love it. Soulspell has crafted an excellent progressive/power metal opera here that's an essential purchase for anyone who enjoys albums like The Human Equation by Ayreon, Victims of the Modern Age by Star One, or Streets by Savatage. 4 stars are well-deserved here. I can't say I was expecting anything this great when I first acquired The Labyrinth of Truths, so you could call this a positive surprise for me. Highly recommended!
1. The Entrance (instrumental) 01:20
2. The Labyrinth of Truths 07:52
3. Dark Prince's Dawn 06:35
4. Amon's Fountain 08:08
5. Into the Arc of Time (Haamiah's Fall) 07:12
6. Adrift 04:49
7. The Verve 06:48
8. Forest of Incantus 04:11
9. A Secret Compartment 07:22