Elegy - Labyrinth of Dreams (Reissue)
Having sold more than a quarter of a million albums in their career, it often seems that the Netherlands prog band Elegy's first album, "Labyrinth of Dreams" is perhaps their most brilliant. Their sound was acclaimed for uniqueness, being a high pitched form of progressive that dares to be lightly technical and borrow the richness of sweet melodies. Vocalist Ed Hovinga gave the album its most colour, his voice naturally being in the higher spectrum of the vocal range and the guitars were styled right along with it, sharply neo-classically inclined, bubbly like champagne or shaken soda pop, and ultimately distinctive for the electric's shrillness.

Eight songs with vocals and two that are instrumentals display band's talents evenly. "Take My Love" bounces along at a happy grin infused pacing, trying to stir up some bluesy memories before the huge wall of prog-infested sound just bursts down the musical doors. The chorus rings out bubbly fine in an explosion of gleeful vocals and squealing guitars. It's just so infectiously joyful.

"Over and Out" buries itself more firmly along the hard rock path of things, but succumbs to its proggy intentions in the end. "Labyrinth of Dreams" is the sweeping, epic and pristinely beautiful title track. The guitars are perfectly crystal, and help outline the vocals. Hovinga swaps back and forth between a deep, lush, soulful sound and his high pitched ecstatic wailing. The two elements bring a heavy emotional dimension to the song. Heavy bass and thundering drumwork lure it from being just another spacey ballad. The center section of the song is the sticky sweet part. Richly progressive sounding and the guitars soar in from everywhere.

"The Guiding Light" is often marked as the favorite, being the truest piece of speed-prog that would later see further development and commercial success under the guiding wings from Stratovarius, Angra, and a host of others.

Instrumentally speaking there's "All Systems Go" and "Mass Hysteria". "All Systems" being a wild guitar fest that keeps a focused melody track, and "Hysteria" that just goes wild for the sake of virtuosic explosions. Other songs are less memorable, but striking nontheless, swapping around the high pitched flavor of the album and swirling it in various different elements for individual shakedowns. "Powergames" and "The Grand Change" both are not bad examples of Elegy holding their own.

"Labyrinth of Dreams"
is a guitar dominated prog metal disc that stirs interest from the first song to the last and keeps up that high energy flow. The songs are straight forward structurally and the album has enough punch and stamina to hold the attention of the most jaded prog fans. This was a fresh new world for progressive minded metal and it shows in every loving note. There's no extended keyboard solos, or plodding progressive parts (under the excuse of "atmosphere"), it just keeps flowing. Elegy later changed vocalists and courted a darker mood under the other singer, which was better fitting to their name, but losing the majority of the band's higher pitched quirky charm.  The founding guitar player, Henk van de Laars would leave a few years later, further altering the face of the band forever. 

Written by Alanna
Sunday, May 31, 2009
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Review by Alanna

Released by
Metal Mind Productions - 1992

1. The Grand Change
2. I'm No Fool
3. Take My Love
4. All Systems Go (instr.)
5. Trouble In Paradise
6. Over and Out
7. Labyrinth of Dreams
8. Mass Hysteria (instr.)
9. Powergames
10. The Guiding Light

Progressive metal

Related links
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Elegy - Official Website

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Reissues: Primal Instinct ; Manifestation Of Fear; Principles Of Pain (Reissue) - (Brian)

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