Labyrinth - Return To Heaven Denied Part II
Scarlet Records
Melodic Speed Metal
10 songs (57:29)
Release year: 2010
Labyrinth, Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

In the late 2000's there was a spate of "belated sequel" albums being released. What this means is that you had bands like Gamma Ray put out Land Of The Free... Part II, Helloween did a Keepers Legacy album, and one of Italy's best bands, Labyrinth, released this, Return To Heaven Denied Part II: A Midnight Autumn's Dream, or whatever. I refuse to use the blatant Shakespeare comparison portion of the title in conversation (with myself), because it makes anyone saying the full title out loud to anyone else sound like a pompous asshole who doesn't know that obvious literary reference is obvious. Anyhoo, what makes this album particularly interesting is that it marked the return of long time guitarist and co founder, Olaf Thorsen, to the band. He had been concentrating his time with Vision Divine, but apparently he still maintained a friendship with Andrea Cantorelli and Roberto Tiranti, the other two musical pillars of Labyrinth. The three of them got back together and decided to "return to form" with their own "sequel" album.

One of the super cool aspects of the original Return To Heaven Denied album is that it ended with a melody refrain that began the album, albeit slightly more melancholy. This, along with the dreamlike feel of the album, really added to the detached sense of reality the album pushes on you. Well, The Shooting Star begins THIS album with a guitar playing the outro melody of the last song from Return...Numero Uno, and the listener is immediately thrust back into the ethereal world of Labyrinth. Great care has been taken with this album to really be a true continuation. The cover art is a much lighter shade of purple than used on Part One, indicating aging, time passing, and the huge ass maze in the foreground is an intimidating figure while the winter snow and leafless trees provide a sense of bleakness and loss.

Pseudo philosophy aside, with the return of Olaf we also bear witness to the return of a fast and speedy metal band! I was one of the maybe half dozen fans that actually really liked their experimental Freeman album, but I did think 6 Days To Nowhere was straight ass water. The aforementioned Shooting Star is a cool eight minute journey and while there are reflective moments, it mainly is an out and out rocker. In what I highly doubt is a coincidence, The Chance begins very much like Save Me from Sons Of Thunder. An almost church like choir of voices and gentle singing give way to super fast and aggressive riffing. While the band doesn't go into say, Pantera territory, Princess Of The Night (no, not a Saxon cover) is one Labyrinth's heaviest riffers. The band made a video for Sailors Of Time, which was a solid choice I think. It definitely sounds the most "accessible" to a non metal fan in the sense that the first verses are bass n drums n Roberto's powerful voice. A stylistic change out of left field hits us at the end with A Painting On The Wall. The intro sounds like classed up cock rock with suspended chords giving that "searching for something" feeling. The band obviously make this work and they would come back to this sound for just a bit on the next album... which is also a "comeback" album.

When Return To Heaven Denied Part Deux was released ten years ago, it was overlooked. Labyrinth had lost alot of traction due to some poorly received albums that sounded like nothing the band had done before. Olaf I think had some things going on with Vision Divine that were stalling the band out, so the two forces coming together again was a good thing fo sho. Out of all the bands that released "belated sequel albums", Labyrinth put out one that actually stands with the original.

Killing Songs :
The Shooting Star, A Painting On The Wall, In This Void, Sailors Of Time
Ben quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Labyrinth that we have reviewed:
Labyrinth - Welcome To The Absurd Circus reviewed by Ben and quoted 84 / 100
Labyrinth - Architecture Of A God reviewed by Ben and quoted 85 / 100
Labyrinth - 6 Days To Nowhere reviewed by Ben and quoted 57 / 100
Labyrinth - Freeman reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Labyrinth - No Limits reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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