MetalBite Review by Maciek on 5/13/2018 10:09:41 AM
Labyrinth Entrance is another interesting position from Godz ov War label and as I found out another one-man project (together with Absque Cor). When it comes to style it again is not easy to describe. Someone put a description that it's a blackened death metal or deathened black metal, but I don't think that's enough. I would add a bit of doom metal with some other flavours added to it. Hunger, who recorded all of the instruments and vocals, definitely likes to mix different styles and sounds together. The guitars have quite heavy sound, are low-tuned, and just like Absque Cor, maybe because it's the same person recording each part, you can hear all sections pretty clear, including bass and some ambient sounds and keyboards. The closest resemblance to me from recent albums is probably In Mourning with their "Afterglow", but Labyrinth Entrance is definitely more heavy, more low-tuned. And the material is more varied. You just have to listen to it.
The album is slightly over 40 minutes long with 6 songs entitled "Canto" followed by numbers from 0 to Roman V. This lack of particular titles telling what's in the lyrics gives an impression that it's a concept album and to me it slightly sounds like one. The whole composition of all tracks on the album starts with Canto 0 being an intro, through other tracks slightly building up the atmosphere. The tempo is gradually increasing and all instruments start to introduce more lively melody lines and rhythms with Canto I being mostly the same tempo throughout the whole song, while Canto II introducing more dark, heavier atmosphere somewhere in the middle of the track, preparing the listener for Canto III, which is probably the most characteristic track on the album, showing off most of Hunger's abilities in both composing and playing the instruments. Canto III is also more in the area of progressive death metal, that's where I get my references to Swedish In Mourning from. It really is rich in perfectly balanced keyboards, enhancing the overall mood of the material, but still being somewhere in the background and not pushing other instruments behind. Hunger also likes to experiment with different effects on his vocals, so you can find many interesting growls, shrieks, melodic vocals and some distorted speaking voice in the background throughout the whole album. The track also ends with fantastic, catchy riff, which keeps on having more and more melody lines added by guitars and keyboards, it is a proper epic track, consisting of what I exactly like in metal. The beginning of Canto IV reminded me of Forlorn Chambers a little, which again definitely puts this material in the area of Scandinavian metal, both death and black. It makes me realise that even though all tracks are connected by their titles to make each of them a part of the whole story, actually every track sounds like a whole story, with the beginning being slightly slower and creating an atmosphere for the rest of the song, and then the fast drums come in, unleashing furious riffs, then reaching the moment where the dark, heavy, doomy melodies appear to end with the riff that started the song. Canto V, closing the album, is the track that shows quite amazing drumming skills with both bass drums kicking in. The riffs are heavy, it's probably the darkest track of all here, some of disharmonies enhancing the cacophony and lyrics being mostly screamed and drums giving the track very war-like theme. At some point I think I heard some echoes from early Emperor, in the area of "In the Nightside Eclipse". And to me probably the best track to play live, obviously if Hunger thinks of it. Some melody lines at the end of the track even remind me of Enslaved.
To sum it up - this is a solid piece of material, definitely more varied and more atmospheric than Stillborn for example. Hunger's project is definitely more complex, expanding the musical spectrum and roaming almost every potential path where metallers would go. Obviously I recommend listening to the whole album in one go to feel all moods, with themes that are mostly dark, heavy and military. I only hope for some follow-up in near future as now I definitely have more appetite for such releases.
Rating: 8 out of 10