Labyrinth: Architecture Of A God (Frontiers Records)
Italian power metal group Labyrinth have a potted history forming in 1991 their debut record wasn't released until 1996 but it was their 1998 record Return To Heaven Denied that was to become their signature records, a symphonic power metal masterclass it put Italian power metal on the map and along with Rhapsody, Labyrinth became one of the most recognisable names in power metal. Since then they have changed multiple members and after their 2010 release Return To Heaven Denied, Pt. 2 - A Midnight Autumn's Dream they went on a hiatus, but seven years later they have returned with original guitarist's Andrea Cantaraelli and Olaf Thörsen along with longest serving vocalist Roberto Tiranti.
Their eighth album is their first for Frontiers records and it takes their power metal sound and expands it with melodic rock tendencies on Still Alive although the rampaging classic power sounds are still present on Take On My Legacy which has duelling guitars and keys set to a furious percussive power. This is progressive record one that takes Labyrinth into the modern day with a sound that has been adapted and refined to take Labyrinth into the next period in their existence, with Frontiers behind them and stable band that has had an injection of new blood the future is bright for this Italian metal institution. 8/10
Pteroglyph: Death Of A Prince (Self Released)
No it's not a tribute to the Purple one, Death Of A Prince is a thundering slab of modern technical metal that takes elements of Gojira, Meshuggah and Devy at his most Hevy, this Leeds based mob take angular riffs, clean/harsh vocal delivery and a percussive barrage and mix it with more ambient soundscapes for a record that catches your interest from the first palm-muted chord. There are so many bands doing this at the moment that adding your own slant as a band can be difficult, Pteroglyph try hard but bands such as Tesseract (who's Acle Kahney mixed the record) do this kind of music much better, it's the vocals that are my bugbear, the cleans are a little flat and the harsh not as powerful as they could be. With nine tracks the record should fly by but you does feel a little like treading water in the middle, they are trying to do something different but unfortunately acts such as Gojira are far superior. If you love this techincal, groove heavy metal then Pteroglyph will be soemthing to sink your teeth into, however I just think they should evolve or they will become extinct. 5/10
Walk On Fire: Mind Over Matter (Escape Music)
It's been nearly 30 years since British melodic rockers Walk On Fire released their debut album Blind Faith when the album didn't perform as expected, despite high critical praise their relationship with record label MCA soured and they disbanded joining other projects and bands as session musicians. Well now they have released their second album and the band sound exactly the same as they did in 1989, big AOR hooks, David Cairns' heavy use of keys and Alan King's gravelly, soul vocals, the songs dwell on love everything that goes with it and the band have the funky, bluesy riffs of compatriots Little Angels, Skin, Tyketto et al.
This album serves as a tribute of sorts to Walk On Fire's guitarist Michael Casswell who reunited with founder members King and Cairns for this record but tragically died in 2016, his guitar playing is slick, adept to the faster rockers such as the title track as it is to open power chords on ballad The Price Of Love. Mind Over Matter is an AOR album that sees the band show no real differentiation from their 1989 debut, but that's a positive, they haven't let the years chip away at their sound, quality British AOR. 7/10