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(19:54; Freya Records)
One day I received a parcel of CDs from Freya, and I was looking through the wonderful packaging of the various True Music Guide releases and stopped when I got to this one. Here was a band I hadn’t thought of in a while, yet I loved their early albums. A quick check of the personnel and I could see my old friend Geert Fieuw is still there, but he is the only one from the early days, although drummer Michel Lodder has been there since 2011’s ‘Chapter III – Stories’ and keyboard player Sjoerd Bruyneel was on the last album, 2017’s ‘The Art of Resilience’, and they have been joined by bassist Wilfried Kiekens and new singer Filip Lemmens (ex-Double Diamond, ex Fireforce etc.). Just four songs but the boys are very much back in town, and the 20 minutes just isn’t long enough. Back in 2006 I said they reminded me of The Covenant, and that is still true but seeing as how few people will even know about that long-lost British band and their gorgeous album how about modern Uriah Heep as a starting point? A strong rhythm section provides the basis for the guitars and keyboards to drive along, and then on the top there are great vocals. This made me smile all the way through, as for me here is a band that had dropped off my radar yet are now back in spades. They are here to show they are back with a bang, and I defy any lover of melodic rock not to immediately join in singing on the opening title track. Beyond The Labyrinth are back, showing that Belgium has room for strong melodic progressive classic rock. This has also been made available on Bandcamp, so why not search it out and give it a try? They are well-known in their own country, and have opened shows and played festivals with the likes of Y&T, Uriah Heep, Doro, Jon Oliva’s Pain, Threshold, Riverside, Pagan’s Mind (and more) as well as local mainstream heroes like De Kreuners & The Magical Flying Thunderbirds. It seems like the band has a new lease on life, and now is the time to discover them. Back in 2006 I ended my review by saying “This is punchy radio friendly progressive classic rock that deserves to be heard by a much wider audience. It is a very accessible fun album and one that lovers of melodic rock would do well to investigate further - it really is a goody.” Only four songs this time, but the words still ring true. Belgium produces way more than just chocolate, discover Beyond The Labyrinth today.
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