Power metal fans rejoice! The Italian power/prog metal legends Labyrinth has returned with their new album and DVD ‘Return to Live’; a live recording of their landmark album, ‘Return To Heaven Denied’; played in its entirety for only the second time ever. The original album, which was released through Metal Blade Records in 1998, is considered one of the highlights of the power metal scene of the late ’90s; with Classic Rock Magazine placing it on their list of the top albums from the genre, cementing Labyrinth’s place in metal history as power metal heavyweights alongside acts such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, and HammerFall.
Recorded at the Frontiers Metal Festival in Trezzo Sull’Adda October 2016, the event marked Labyrinth’s first reunion show with their new line-up. Featuring founding members Olaf Thorsen and Andrea Cantranelli on guitars, alongside long-time singer Roberto Tiranti, as well as new-comers Nik Mazzucconi on bass, Oleg Smirnoff (Vision Divine, Eldritch) on keyboards, and John Macaluso (TNT, Riot, Ark) on drums, who have all proved that they have got what it takes to deliver a masterful performance and do justice to such an amazing record.
The opening track, Moonlight, starts off this performance with an epic introduction, reminiscent of a heavenly choir singing symphonic hymns accompanied by thunderous, tension-building drums of war; which, undoubtedly sets the mood for the incoming fast-paced, melody-laden guitar licks and riffs that make us love power metal. Tiranti’s vocals definitely make an impact here with sky-high screams that rival the squealing guitars, which bring some amazing duelling solos that are somewhat expected when it comes to the genre of power metal.
Heaven Denied, possibly the most popular track from the original album, starts off like a sweet and sombre Iron Maiden-esque ballad which makes you feel like raising your lighter as a fire tribute to the metal gods before it breaks out into a tremendous, power-driven chorus that you simply cannot help but headbang along to. Between the beautiful guitar phrases and the seriously catchy chorus, it’s easy to understand why this is a favourite among fans of the band.
The last song of the set, In the Shade, is the only song here that doesn’t appear on 1998’s Return to Heaven Denied; instead, coming from the 1999 follow-up album, Timeless Crime. Despite this, In the Shade manages to not feel out of place. Rather, it brings a spectacular and strong ending to the show leaving you yearning for more of the masterful music that the band consistently creates. The remarkable performance in ‘Return to Live’ is able to not only capture the incredible energy and power of the original album, it also manages to add the extra magic that only comes with a live power metal show – the crowd sing-alongs, the sweet soaring melodies that push through the air, and the connection between the band and their audience. It really creates a mystical atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re actually a part of the experience, making it a truly amazing performance which is a must-hear for all fans of power metal.
‘Return to Live’ is available on CD/DVD and Blu-ray on the 26th of January via Frontiers Music SRL.