Beyond The Labyrinth -
The Art Of Resilience

(CD 2017, 59:54, Spinal Records, Spinal013)

The tracks:
  1- The Set Up (Innocence Presumed)(5:57)
  2- Carry On(3:48)
  3- Someone Watching Over You(3:36)
  4- Prince Of Darkness(5:21)
  5- Liberation Day(3:25)
  6- Shape Shifter(6:59)
  7- Can't Get Over You(3:59)
  8- If You Believe(5:07)
  9- Salve Mater(5:42)
10- Fall Of The Raven(5:27)
11- Waiting For The Dawn(5:30)
12- Virtual Connection(4:58)

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The Belgium band Beyond The Labyrinth has reached a certain status in the melodic hard rock scene. The band have played together with Threshold. But the international breakthrough hasn't come yet.

Their music has influences of gothic, AOR and progressive rock. The band was able to melt these influences into an interesting album. They have given themselves a goal to make this world a better place by creating and spreading music which give people strength, hope, rest and solace.
This is an ambitious goal, on first sight. But after I heard the album for the first time, I was caught by the incredible great songs and the encouraging lyrics.
I myself have known better times in my life. I must even confess that The Art Of Resilience lifted me up somehow. Are all of my problems gone? Of course not! But every time I listen to this album, I get a positive vibe. A feeling I can't describe.

The line-up of the band is: Geert Fieuw (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Michel Lodder (drums, percussion), Sjoerd Bruyneel (keyboards, backing vocals) and Dominic Heyndrickx (bass guitar). Following additional vocalists are on the album: Josey Hindrix (vocals), Wizz Beauprez (vocals), Oliver Wright (vocals), Colin Flynn (vocals), Geoffrey Tarallo (vocals), Tony Carlino (vocals), Chitral Somapala (vocals), David Reed Watson (vocals), Filip Lemmens (vocals), John Ferreira (vocals).

The album opens with The Set Up. After a modest start, the song develops itself into an up-tempo song with tight guitar lines. Further on it is very melodic. The song reminds me of Arena. This is a compliment of course!
Carry On opens with absolute strong guitar parts. The songs is up-tempo once more. The vocals are great. In the song I recognize influences of Kayak, in the years of 2000.
Someone Watching Over You is a unbelievably great ballad. The ballad has all a ballad must have. It is balanced and it has certain tension. The vocals are high end. This song is a perfect example of lyrics which gives someone strength. For me it is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
The fourth song Prince Of Darkness starts with some folk influences. Once more a song which reminds me of Kayak. I must place one footnote, Kayak is in general not as heavy as Beyond The Labyrinth.
The acoustic guitar takes the lead in Liberation Day. The song is a great short ballad.
Shape Shifter is a heavy up-tempo song on which keyboards have an important role, and give the song a rather dark atmosphere. Personally I find this song a real progressive rock song. It has a variety of atmospheres.
Can't Get Over You is a typical 90s hard rock song. You can think of White Lion. The vocals in this song are great.
After all this musical landscapes, the next song If You Believe is more or less AOR orientated. The song is very melodic and has a nice beat.
Salve Matter opens with church organ and a classical choir. It develops into a mid-tempo song with strong guitar parts and outstanding vocals.
Fall Of The Raven opens also with classical influences. This time it is the cello's which are taking the lead in this mid-tempo song. The song has a dark atmosphere that I like very much.
Waiting For The Dawn is a rather strange song on the album. It's low-tempo and it's dark. Especially the vocals are extremely dark. After listening to this song several times, I must confess that it suits the album.
The album ends with Virtual Connection. This mid-tempo song is melodic, has great guitar parts and beautiful vocals. It is the best ending you can imagine.

Overall you can say that this album is really great. I hope for the band that the international break through finally will come. They deserve it!

****+ Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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