Beyond The Labyrinth - XXV

Kev Rowland, Beyond The Labyrinth - XXV

As may be surmised from the album title, the fifth album from Belgian prog band Beyond The Labyrinth was released at the end of 2021 to tie in with their 25th anniversary as a band. Although to be honest, that is something which is only technically correct as the band had a long period of not doing anything and only guitarist/composer Geert Fieuw has been there throughout, although drummer Michel Lodder has been there since their third album, 2011’s, ‘Chapter III – Stories’ (Michel has left the band since this release). They have also changed keyboard players since their last EP, and this slot is now taken by Eddy Scheire with the line-up completed by singer Filip Lemmens and bassist Dominic Heynderickx.

I initially came across the band at the time of the debut album all the way back in 2006 and I was intrigued as I was not aware of many Belgian bands playing good old fashioned neo prog. I note they are listed as prog metal on PA, but I don’t remember them ever being heavy enough to fit that particular sub-genre, and this album sees them blurring the lines of prog rock and melodic rock, and coming up with something which is very middle of the road indeed. There is not enough excitement within this, and for me this is quite a step backwards since 2019’s ‘Brand New Start’. Geert is a fine guitarist, but although there are some interesting (dated) interplays with the keyboards (check out “Dedicated to Sir J. / Rush Rush Rush” which has elements which are very Uriah Heep in style) there is no spark. The result is something which is listenable while it is being played, but has little within it to pull it back on to the player for repeats. I have long been a fan of this band but cannot see me quickly returning to this.

MLWZ album na 15-lecie