Power metal fans, rejoice! A new LABYRINTH album has been released. Their ninth studio effort, “Welcome to the Absurd Circus,” came out on January 22, 2021, via Frontiers Music and is the follow-up to the band’s 2017 acclaimed comeback album, “Architecture of a God.” LABYRINTH’s line-up is pretty much the same as on the previous release, the only exception being that now Mattia Perez (SHADOWS OF STEEL) is behind the drumkit.
Speedy power metal tracks, prog-oriented songs, and melodic tunes with a hard rock vibe are present on “Welcome to the Absurd Circus,” making it a well-balanced album that can stand toe-to-toe with their older ones. It has many of the traditional LABYRINTH elements in the mix, but also enough diversity and twists to the formula to keep the listeners engaged. As per usual, guitarists Andrea Cantarelli and Olaf Thorsen deliver all the goods, from engaging riffs to amazing solos, while Robert Tiranti’s vocal performance is top-notch throughout and the synth work embellishes and adds color to the songs.
Opener and first single, “The Absurd Circle,” is a healthy dose of straight-up power metal, complete with an amazing instrumental part halfway through that gives way to a great guitar solo. Up next, anthem “Live Today” has some stings in the background that add a touch of elegance and symphonic beauty to the speedy drums and guitar parts. After a great start with the first two tracks, the albums dips as the following songs, “One More Last Chance” and “As Long as It Lasts,” are more mid-tempo power metal ballads that offer some charming synth work and emotional vocal deliveries. Hard rocker “Den of Snakes” provides a shift in the flow of the album, as it is more dynamic in the way that it is put together, while having an ’80s vibe to the music and more great guitar work.
The second part of the album is more up-tempo and energetic and even accommodates a cover of “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes” (originally by ULTRAVOX) which works very well in their style. Elsewhere, the bass really shines on “Word’s Minefield” giving it more depth and complexity, while the keys on both album highlights, “The Unexpected” and “Sleepwalker,” seem to give a more progressive vibe to the tracks, offsetting the heaviness of the guitars. The true ballad of the album is “A Reason to Survive,” an acoustic guitar-driven atmospheric piece where vocalist Roberto Tiranti shows his gentler and softer side. “Finally Free” brings the album to a close with a final display of virtuosity and mastery from the band, the track boasting superb guitar and bass solos and an impressive instrumental passage.
Carrying the might of power metal in this new and already exciting decade, “Welcome to the Absurd Circus” is a wonderful addition not only to LABYRINTH’s discography but to the power/progressive metal catalog. There is much to love on this album, from the melodies and the guitar work to the keys and drums all the way to the vocals – everything is up to standards. Highly recommended for fans of such bands as STRATOVARIUS, RHAPSODY, or BLIND GUARDIAN.
Written by Andrea Crow
- The Absurd Circus
- Live Today
- One More Last Chance
- As Long As It Lasts
- Den Of Snakes
- Word’s Minefield
- The Unexpected
- Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
- A Reason To Survive
- Finally Free
Roberto Tiranti – Vocals
Olaf Thorsen – Guitars
Andrea Cantarelli – Guitars
Oleg Smirnoff – Keyboards
Nik Mazzucconi – Bass
Mattia Peruzzi – Drums
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