Italian prog power metal legends Labyrinth have been around a long time. I recall getting “Return to Heaven Denied” back in 1998 and not really being sure if I liked it initially but it grew on me. Then I remember how disappointed I was with the follow up “Sons of Thunder.” That roller coaster continued.
The self titled album renewed my faith in them only to be unsure about “Freeman” and then really hating “6 Days to Nowhere.” Now granted, the band went through various lineup changes over the years which really didn’t help matters. Notably, guitarist Carlo Andrea Magnani (Olaf Thorsen) left after “Sons of Thunder.” He came back for 2010’s sequel “Return to Heaven Denied Pt. II” which seemed a tad calculated to me.
Finally years later, the Italian label Frontiers offered a contract to guitars Andrea Cantarelli and Magnani to make peace with lead vocalist Roberto Tiranti and make some new music. This is not the first time this label has dangled the carrot to get a band to make some music. So the three of them recruited 3 additional new members to round out a new formation, which includes ex-TNT/Ark drummer John Macaluso.
The band sound great over all on the new album “Architecture of a God” but without long time keyboardist Andrea De Paoli, it just doesn’t seem like a true “reunion” album. Plus, De Paoli made better choices for patches than new player Oleg Smirnoff. Still, there is no denying that the music is really strong, the band is tight as fuck and Tiranti can still really sing. Check the high note on “Still Alive.” WOW!
Given my own love/hate relationship with Labyrinth, I figured “Architecture of a God” would evoke a strong response one way or another. The good news is that this is not a steaming pile of shit like “6 Days to Nowhere” and while maybe it isn’t as incredible as the self titled album, it is much closer to THAT than probably anything they’ve done. Sure there are iffy moments here and there; most are from Smirnoff. For example, what the fuck is with the video game keyboards on “Take on My Legacy”???? “A New Dream” also has some questionable key sounds.
Another positive thing is that Frontiers didn’t force the band into an AOR metal sound like many of the label’s acts. So if you’ve ever liked Labyrinth, I think you should give a listen to “Architecture of a God.” It’s not a masterpiece but it’s not forced either. I’ll be curious to see how long this lineup survives before they are pissed off at each other or something.
2. Still Alive
3. Take On My Legacy
4. A New Dream
5. Someone Says
6. Random Logic
7. Architecture Of A God
9. Those Days
10. We Belong To Yesterday
11. Stardust And Ashes
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.