Beyond The Labyrinth

Castles In The Sand

Written by: AP on 17/03/2009 00:24:42

One glance at the MySpace page of Belgian prog-metal group Beyond The Labyrinth is enough to suggest that we might be dealing with yet another self-important bunch with nothing to show for it but leather jackets, serious poses and titles stolen from obscure underground literature. "Castles in the Sand" is the band's second album, and has been in the works for the past decade, if the band's central figure Geer Fieuw is to be believed; the music itself makes such statements not very credible. It also turns out that band has recently converted into an exclusively studio-project making whatever reason you may still have had to get into them void. Can a release be any more pointless?

The album begins with a suspenseful orchestral build-up, which tricks me into thinking it might have some promise. It flows neatly into the powerful intro of "Solitary Dancer" only to vanish in a puff of preposterous bullshit when Jo opens Pandora's Box. Out of it comes his pompous voice and lyrics that have the eloquence of a third-grade creative writing piece: "Tick, tock, tick, tock, the ticking of the clock / tick, tock, tick, tock, keeps me awake at night / tick, tock, tick, tock, I'm running out of time / tick, tock, tick, tock, tells me my time is up". Add to that synthesizers that sound like an old arcade game and sub par production and multiply by ten, and you've got yourself an album's worth of pseudo-intellectual gugu-gaga.

You'd think that some proper solid instrumentation as per it being progressive metal after all might save the day, but no. Jo's ego has seen to it that the mix promotes his voice first and foremost and affords very little prominence for the guitar and bass section, with the result that "Castles in the Sand" sounds like it was recorded in a flooded cave. Not that it matters anyway, because there isn't anything there to be heard save for an occasional modest solo or two. Suddenly it makes much more sense that very little praise that hasn't been written by Geert himself can be found on "Castles in the Sand". And while I'm not familiar with the band's past work, this album certainly hasn't increased my motivation to check it out.


Download: Pure Sabotage

For the fans of: Beyond Twilight, Ricocher

Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.11.2008



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