Formed in 1991, Labyrinth is an Italian power/progressive metal band that consistently delivers the goods and really should be much, much bigger than they are. If you are a fan already then you know what to expect and this album will already be eagerly anticipated but if the name is new to you them I urge you to do a little investigating as Labyrinth is a quality metal band that deserves your attention. Welcome To The Absurd Circus is now the band’s ninth album and follows on from the quite magnificent Architecture Of A God which came out in 2017 so it has been a long wait but at least we did have the live album, Return To Live in 2018, to whet our appetite and build up the levels of anticipation.
As seems to be the case with most bands these days, Labyrinth has seen a fair number of musicians come and go over the years and now have a slightly revamped team to the one that put out Architecture Of A God with Roberto Tiranti on vocals, Olaf Thorsen (aka Carlo Andrea Magnani) and Andrea Cantarelli on guitars, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, Oleg Smirnoff on keyboards and new man Mattia Peruzzi taking over drumming duties from John Macaluso. It seems strange that even though the line-up has changed the beating heart and core sound of the band remains constant and this is certainly due to the two guitarists as the only remaining original members in the band and therefore custodians of the Labyrinth legacy and this is also Rob Tiranti’s third stint as vocalist so he too is steeped in the band’s history. He has an amazing, soaring and powerful voice and is a master of the high pitched scream and he never fails to impress.
The band trades in most superior progressive metal so guitars are very much to the fore with Cantarelli and Thorson trading lick for lick as their searing guitar work takes metal to another level altogether. However, there is melody aplenty with the glorious keyboards of Smirnoff providing lush backing and then some quite sublime and endearing keyboard solos too. If you are into Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Rhapsody and the imperious Royal Hunt then you will most certainly enjoy the prog/power metal than Labyrinth play so well. The songs are well written and show a band that knows all about melody and hooks but their real remit is to rock and they rock hard. This is epic metal from a band that gives everything to the cause and always delivers superb hard rock that few can match in intensity. If you haven’t heard them play so far then you are really missing a treat from this simply wonderful band and this is as good a place as any to start your education, metal with true Italian flair and passion.
The album features eleven storming tracks that hit you hard in the gut and the power and energy never falters for a second. There is one cover and it’s a real beauty and rather unexpected too being the Ultravox classic Dancing With Tears In My Eyes. The band has not changed the song too much although, as should be expected, it is a far heavier version than we are used to and it works really well. Maybe, an album of covers is something for the band to consider for the future as I’m sure that it would work very well as this band has the talent to do whatever it wants.
An essential album from an essential band.
Welcome To The Absurd Circus track list
- The Absurd Circus (6:17)
- Live Today (5:41)
- One More Last Chance (6:13)
- As Long As It Lasts (5:18)
- Den Of Snakes (6:34)
- Word’s Minefield (5:12)
- The Unexpected (5:06)
- Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (4:41)
- Sleepwalker (4:26)
- A Reason To Survive (4:30)
- Finally Free (6:24)