Return To Heaven Denied (Metal Blade)
by Martin Popoff
Getting added to the pink and black Metal Blade line (put all the label’s trad metal from Summer/Fall ’98 side by side; you’ll see what I mean), has to count as a victory for these speedy Italian prog metallers. But if anybody can cash in on this curiously fanatic and collectible corner of the genre (thank God for the Net), it’s these boys. Why? Well, Labyrinth are really quite speedy and focused, rarely ponderous, and really quite bent on hair-flipped heroics of a most axe-aggressive nature, even if the production is finicky, high-strung and prone to fits of neurotic hand-washing. Oh, and one of the guys looks like Fabio, another like Pete Steele. One negative: the lyrics suck as bad as their older stuff, not conceptually, but grammatically, Labyrinth carrying on that rockin’ Euro tradition of not bothering to have an English-speaking friend spend half an hour translating, while the band and its army of hangers-on spend hundreds of hours fretting every other detail.
(2345 Erringer Rd. Suite 108 Sun Valley, CA 93065)