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Beyond The Labyrinth - Signs CD (album) cover

SIGNS

Beyond The Labyrinth

 

Progressive Metal

3.61 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

edwin
4 stars Beyond The Labyrinth is essentially Geert Fieuw's band, or, more accurately, his life- work. He's laboured incredibly hard over the years to get BTL off the ground, so it must be a wonderful feeling for him to see the birth of their first (musical) baby, "Signs".

In the latest version of the band, the guitarist and main composer has surrounded himself with some superb musicians: Jo De Boeck on vocals, Danny Focke on keyboards, Bart Rokegem on bass, Filip Vinck on drums and the wonderful Frédérick Ost on guitars.

I had never heard a note from the band before receiving "Signs". I'd heard their music discussed, yes, so I expected something good, but never this. To be frank: this band has blown me away! What an incredible album from a virtually unknown band. And it's still growing every time I listen to it.

Beyond The Labyrinth stands for passionate music, with intelligent lyrics and excellent musicianship. It's a bit hard to categorize their music: progressive rock, with lots of classic and melodic rock influences and a metal edge (although it never gets really heavy). With this, they may not have chosen for the most marketable music; perhaps a bit too metal for prog rock purists, and metalheads might prefer their music somewhat more powerful. Still, no-one will deny that this is a fantastic effort, and fans of, say, Arena's more recent material, will no doubt appreciate this very much. I, for one, love this style.

Hard to pick favourites, as most songs are really of high quality. The opener, "Media Vision" sets the standard. Excellent song with a cool chorus. The next one, "In Flanders Fields" is a dark, moody piece about the horrors of war - truly a song that deserves some recognition. "Tomorrow Is Gone" is a melodic jewel that reminds me very much of one of my favourite bands, Praying Mantis, both musically and lyrically.

The compelling "Unholy War" is also great, as is the heavy "Digital World". "The Visionary", with its menacing intro (reminiscent of A.L. Webber's "Phantom Of The Opera"), is the epic of the album. "Prophet Of Doom" reminds me a bit of Tony Martin- era Black Sabbath or Savatage. Definite favourites are the melodic and moving "Icons" and "Freak Show", a quirky, playful rock song with a great chorus that keeps spinning in my head. In fact, only the ballad "Morning Rendezvous" is a bit sub-par; all the others make for a fantastic album.

The musicianship of all members is excellent. Singer Jo De Boeck may not have the greatest range, but his voice is solid and his singing is emotional and expressive. Frankly, a lot of much better known bands have to settle for less. Danny Focke's excellent keyboard work is very much upfront and has an important role in defining BTL's sound. The guitar solos are absolutely amazing. With Vinck and Rokegem, the band have a solid rhythm section. There are a couple of nice guests appearances as well, the most well-known being drummer Daniel Flores (Mind's Eye, XSavior), Marcel Coenen (Sun Caged) and last but not least Threshold's keyboard player Richard West.

"Signs" may not be my number one album of 2005, but it's definitely in my top 10 and without any doubt the most pleasant surprise of the year.

Buy this. Now. You won't regret it.

| 4/5 |

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