July 6, 2010

Make it sound like 12 years in the past!

Lately, I heard the news that the Italian power metal band Labyrinth will soon release their new album which will be called "Return To Heaven Denied - Part II: A Midnight Autumn's Dream". It will be the successor of their (broadly considered best) classic "Return To Heaven Denied" from 1998. And again, I'm reminded of the fact that 1998 was a mindblowingly brilliant year for fans of great metal music.

On my profile page of the german social community "meinVZ" (some sort of Facebook ripoff) I have a list mentioning things I like and things I don't like. On the "like"-side I wrote "most metal albums that were released in 1998". I thought it was funny, at first, but over and over again I stumble upon absolutely awesome albums that were indeed released in 1998, too! So it's actually true!

My first metal album ever was "Tales Of Mystery And Imagination" from Nocturnal Rites, which was also released in 1998. I was 16 back then and it was my entrance to the amazing and enchanting world of awesome metal melodies, great guitar virtuosos and overwhelming keyboard arrangements. Up to this day, THIS is what I'm looking for when listening to new releases in a store. But let's see... what awesome albums were released in 1998? Some of my favourites from that year are:

Ayreon · Into The Electric Castle
Blind Guardian · Nightfall In Middle-Earth
Destiny's End · Breathe Deep The Dark
Fates Warning · Still Life
Fear Factory · Obsolete
Helloween · Better Than Raw
Iced Earth · Something Wicked This Way Comes
KenZiner · Timescape
Labyrinth · Return To Heaven Denied
Mephistopheles · Songs For The Desolate Ones
Nightwish · Oceanborn
Nocturnal Rites · Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
Rage · XIII
Rhapsody · Legendary Tales
Shadow Gallery · Tyranny
Symphony X · Twilight In Olympus

Of course there are many more - but these are the ones I like most.

Back then, I wasn't THAT thrilled about the Labyrinth album. It was quite nice and had its unique moments but I preferred Nocturnal Rites, Blind Guardian and Rhapsody back then. Still, I'm really tensioned about the release of the new Labyrinth album - mostly because for once, the lineup is exactly the same as it was back in 1998, so there's actually the chance of getting a TRUE successor this time.

Some years ago, Helloween released "Keeper Of The Seven Keys - Part III: The Legacy" which was a nice idea - and it was a decent album, too - but the biggest problem about that album was the vocalist.

Back in 1987 and 1988, when the two "Keeper" albums were released, Helloween still had their second (and best, in my opinion) vocalist Michael Kiske. All the fans out there who love the original "Keeper" albums have HIS voice in the back of their heads when remembering the old songs! And not the voice of Andi Deris! Andi does a nice job with the later albums - he's not a bad vocalist - it's just that he's not Michael Kise! And if you don't have his name on your passport: forget about singing on a "Keeper" album, will ya?

I'm not too fond about Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime", otherwise I could have mentioned that they released a successor to that one, too and I could have reflected on that a bit - but quite frankly, I've not a clue about Queensryche. And I tried listening to "Operation Mindcrime" several times as the concept sounds really interesting (I'm a huge fan of dystopias) - but Geoff Tate REALLY gets on my nerves already at the beginning of the album...

Now, where was I...? Oh yeah, the new Labyrinth release. Well... it's not only that there'll be another potentially good album from this specific band which makes my metal-senses tingle - it's something better! It's the possibility that there actually MIGHT be a new album out that has the potential of sounding like a great old 1998 album!!
This is a bit like the sensation when Capcom released the game "MegaMan 9" which was exactly like the great classics from 20 years ago - PERFECTION!! Now, if something like THAT could happen in the world of metal music - that would be something huge!

Now why do I have a vague premonition that this sounds too good to actually happen...?