Labyrinth - Welcome To The Absurd Circus
Frontiers Records
Power Metal
11 songs (60:17)
Release year: 2021
Labyrinth, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Ben

Welcome To The Absurd Circus is a really excellent Power Metal release with strong Prog leanings. Several fast songs are offset by a few mid tempo, prog heavy numbers. Long time fans of the band will notice that there are again, similarities to be had with their all time classic album Return To Heaven Denied. It sounds like that statement is a bad thing, but take it from me it is not! For one, this is only the third album that Labyrinth has released since Olaf Thorsen rejoined the group in 2009. Each album essentially takes five years to craft. Welcome To The Absurd Circus is yet another solid, hefty slab of righteous Power Metal. Even though I genuinely enjoyed two out of three of the non Olaf albums (all except 6 Days To Nowhere), his return has been proven to be the right choice for the band.

Let me just get this out of the way up front. The cover art is pretty awful. When it was announced, it reminded me of the cover to Iron Maiden's Dance Of Death when it came out. Bad cpu PhotoShop does not a good album cover make. However, thankfully, the songs are what matter, and Welcome To The Absurd Circus is packed with killers. The title track is a hell of a monster track. Fast, with a slightly incensed vocal performance that gives this an edge, this also includes a tremendous guitar solo. An obvious choice for their music video / pre release single. Live Today definitely gives off strong Thunder vibes from the aforementioned Return To Heaven Denied album. The other song on here that seems like a direct call back to their classic album is Finally Free. This one to me really feels like a sequel to the song, Die For Freedom, which was the concluding track on that album. Name linkage aside, both have similar intros, similar prechorus vocal melodies, and similar bass and guitar solo sections. Now where I come from, this is too many things to be a coincidence and it makes me feel better to think that the band is this smart to connect their songs in such a way. As Long As It Lasts is the first really wild Proggy song. It has so many disparate parts that it's hard to describe. An intro that is fast and melodic, followed by verses that are clean guitars and drums, a lush, romantic chorus, and then back to the fiery intro lick. Of course there is also a cool instrumental break section. Another really complicated track would have to be the aptly titled, The Unexpected. This is one of the band's heavier songs but also switches gears to allow emotive, reflective moments here and there. Sleepwalker is a cool little number. Keyboard heavy, this has a guitar line that bounces around like morse code, but keeps in time with the drums. A Reason To Survive is the only full ballad here, and the only song that outright sucks is the unnecessary cover of Dancing With Tears In My Eyes by Ultravox. I've suffered through Freedom Call's cover, Tobias Sammet's version, and now this. Guess what? The song still sucks. Thankfully though this is the only dud and there is an hour of great music otherwise.

Other small things to point out about this release would be that there are very little techno moments to be had. Now, this is kind of a disappointment because Labyrinth always managed to incorporate them well. I'm just guessing here, but maybe they decided to cut back on those sections because there's alot of bad EDM metal that has come out since 1997. Welcome To The Absurd Circus is another feather in the hat that the band collectively wear. They have added yet another strong addition to their incredibly solid discography. Longtime fans of the band need not be afraid of any shenanigans that would reduce the quality of Labyrinth.

Killing Songs :
Sleepwalker, The Absurd Circus, The Unexpected, Word's Minefield
Ben quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Labyrinth that we have reviewed:
Labyrinth - Return To Heaven Denied Part II reviewed by Ben and quoted 82 / 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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