|Review: Labyrinth - Return to Heaven Denied Pt. II - "A Midnight Autumn’s Dream"|
|Return to Heaven Denied Pt. II - "A Midnight Autumn’s Dream"|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: September 5, 2010
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
for:Return to Heaven Denied Pt. II - "A Midnight Autumn’s Dream"
Rated 4.7/5 (93.94%) (33 Votes)
Return to Heaven Denied would make the short list of my favorite power metal albums any day of the week, it's an album I love and respect greatly. When I found out Labyrinth had begun recording a second ...Heaven Denied, alarms sounded through my mind – as far as music goes I've rarely encountered a good sequel album. I find it's usually a band's last shot at reclaiming their former glory and one that can turn fans off for good, so you can understand why I could have been skeptical but hey, at least they had Olaf Thorsen back in the ranks. Thankfully it's pleasing to say that Labyrinth managed to escape that, they did the incredible feat of recreating both the feel and atmosphere of the original, and while admittedly not surpassing that album, managed to record a great album worthy of the title Return To Heaven Denied Pt. II.
It's all coming back, soft intros leading into speedy power metal licks, Rob Tiranti's stunning vocal work, the beautiful melodies, it's all here and I'm pleased to say it's all good. The album starts off in familiar fashion, with a play on the stunning intro to "Moonlight" from the first ...Heaven Denied album, marking a fantastic start to part II. The track itself "The Shooting Star" is a sound of a band reinvigorated, and in my eye's way more poignant than anything post-Sons of Thunder. They manage to recreate the somber, yet beautiful atmosphere throughout the album making for just as intense listen as ...Heaven Denied. It's hard to pick out standout tracks here, they're all so good but current favorites for me would be the highly melodic "Princess of the Night" with its stunning chorus, "Sailors of Time" which reminds greatly of my favorite from the last ...Heaven Denied "State of Grace", and "The Mornings Call" reminiscent of "Feel" in places and home to perhaps the most beautiful melody in the album, it still manages to drop my jaw.
Return To Heaven Denied Pt II is jam packed with catchy choruses, speedy power metal and beautiful soaring melodies. It remains both familiar and new at the same time, and should be a lesson to any band attempting a sequel. The managed to recreate everything that was great about "Return to Heaven Denied" as well as build around it which helps keep it both fresh and relevant. This is one of the best prog/power albums of the year so far, and fans of acts such as Vision Divine, Angra, or Killing Touch need this in their lives.
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