Labyrinth - Freeman 2.5/5
3. Dive in open waters
6. Face and pay
7. Malcome grey
8. Nothing new
This is Labyrinthís 2nd CD since the bandís main songwriter, Olaf Thorsen, left the band. With these 2 CDs the band has acquitted itself well, showing that the band had more talent in it than just Thorsen. 'Freeman' has a different look about it before you even open the CD; while Labyrinth usually has covers that look mystical and not real, This cover features a naked man handcuffed, hands behind his back Ė just from the cover you know this will be a little bit of a different Labyrinth CD.
The main, and obvious, difference to this CD compared to Labyrinthís previous efforts is the extremely raw production. The guitars sound muddy, the vocals are very raw sounding and the drum sound doesnít sound good at all. I can only assume this was done intentionally as other Labyrinth CDs have far better production. There are actually some nice instrumental pieces that are tough to hear due to their place in the mix. The songs themselves are good, but not great. While the band has proven a capability to write good songs without Thorsen, they have not shown the ability to write a few great songs per CD. Instead they write a CD full of average to above average tracks. This makes for a nice CD, but not a great one. The songs still have the warm, pleasing melodies that Labyrinth has also featured.
This CD is just a little above average. Without Thorsen, I'm not sure that they have the ability to write a great CD anymore. However, it is a shame that they hid some of the quality of the songwriting on 'Freeman' behind lousy production and singing that is sometimes painful to listen to. This CD could have been a lot better even without better songwriting, letís hope the production is stronger next time.
Follow-up note: You might notice that listening to the end of track 3, "Dive in open waters", the CD appears to skip momentarily, and then end abruptly, moving on to the next song, "Freeman". It sounds like some sort of CD manufacturing defect, scratch or error on the CD, but after some research on the web, including a Google cache of a discussion on the Perpetual Motion board, including a reference to the band's own website, this is in fact how the CD was intentionally produced (to make it sound this way), and, in any event, appears to be on any version of the CD. Why a band would do this is a bit beyond me (remember the old Venom admonition that if the record was scratched or defective, throw it away and buy a new one?). But just to reassure you that your CD is not defective, this is the way it's intended to be. For what it's worth, on a substantive level, I was quite pleasantly surprised after picking up this CD, and would rate it a rather refreshing 3.5/5. - CRAIG
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