Last month we had White Skull's Tales From the North ; this month we have Labyrinth's Timeless Crime , another slab of Italian power metal that's almost as over-the-top, but stands quite firm regardless. Still, the Pomp Factor is in full-force, from the sextet's outfits (extras from Interview with the Vampire ?) to the thematic prologue in Timeless Crime 's lyric book: "Once upon a time, a filthy story of lust and sensuality took place in a magnificently hedonistic Republic of Venice..."
Ahem. A mere four songs, Timeless Crime portrays Labyrinth as a dramatic bunch capable of well-constructed songs, all Helloween-ish but a tad grittier. Credit Mat Stancioin's drumming with putting the power to the forefront: tight, galloping double-bass work that kicks into fist-thrusting mode, syncopation skittering into the mix all the while (Queensryche's drummer on steroids, maybe?). Andrew McPaul's keyboards usually provide unobtrusive, logical accompaniment, but when virtuosity occasionally comes a'calling, so do the ELO tendencies. And it's an equally good thing that vocalist Rob Tyrant doesn't hit his falsetto too often; although he possesses a convincing mid-range, his highs sound ballsac-squeezingly forced.
In 1999, many power-metal heads are gonna' call Copycat City on Labyrinth and Timeless Crime , namely because of the deluge of such styled bands. But that shouldn't take too much away from Labyrinth's potential, because few bands can truly make pomposity a valid artistic statement; nonetheless, strictly for headbangers, with nil crossover appeal.
Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793; http://www.metalblade.com
--Nathan T. Birk