One of Italy's most successful and enduring hard rock bands, Labyrinth employ a captivating blend of progressive and melodic power metal, using keyboards to add a dramatic, tuneful edge to the muscle and velocity of speed metal. Emerging in 1991, the group dominated the European power metal scene of the late '90s and early 2000s, releasing a string of successful albums including 1998's career-making Return to Heaven Denied. Though the group's talent for pairing melody and might remained intact, they endured numerous lineup changes over the next decade, and after the release of Return to Heaven Denied, Pt. 2: A Midnight Autumn's Dream in 2010, Labyrinth went on an indefinite hiatus. However, they made a triumphant return in 2017 with their Frontiers-issued eighth studio long-player, Architecture of a God.
Hailing from Massa, a town in Tuscany, Labyrinth were founded in 1991. In the initial lineup, most of the members of the group used pseudonyms; the musicians included lead vocalist Fabio Tordiglione (aka Joe Terry), guitarists Andrea Cantarelli (aka Anders Rain) and Carlo Andrea Magnani (aka Olaf Thörsen), bassist Andrea Bartoletti, keyboardist Luca Contini (aka Ken Taylor), and drummer Franco Rubulotta (aka Frank Andiver). After several years of woodshedding and live work, the band cut their first demo tape, titled Midnight Resistance, in 1995. The demo earned them positive notices in the European rock press, and they were quickly signed by Underground Symphony Records, which released the band's debut EP, Piece of Time. By the time the EP hit the streets in late 1995, bassist Bartoletti had left Labyrinth, and Cristiano Bertocchi (aka Chris Breeze) took his place.
Arriving in 1996, No Limits was the band's first full-length album, and it spread Labyrinth's growing popularity in Europe, as well as becoming their first release in Japan. In 1997, Fabio Tordiglione left Labyrinth, and Roberto Tiranti (aka Rob Tyrant) became their new lead singer. That same year, Franco Rubulotta and Luca Contini also parted ways with the group, and drummer Mattia Stancioiu (aka Mat Stancioiu) and keyboard man Andrea De Paoli (aka Andrew McPauls) filled out the lineup. The 1998 album Return to Heaven Denied showcased this new edition of Labyrinth, though shortly after the album's release, Tiranti quit the group, and Morby from the band Domine became the group's new singer. Morby's tenure with the group was short-lived, and Tiranti was back at the mike in time to record the 1999 EP Timeless Crime. The Sons of Thunder album was released in 2001, with the band playing many of the major metal festivals in Europe, as well as touring heavily in Italy.
In 2003, Labyrinth self-produced their self-titled fourth album, which found them abandoning their pseudonyms in favor of their given names. It also saw guitarist Carlo Andrea Magnani leave the group; Labyrinth ended up recording the album as a five-piece, with Pier Gonella taking Magnani's place for subsequent touring. In 2005, the group issued its fifth album, Freeman; it would be the last featuring bassist Cristiano Bertocchi, and soon lead singer Tiranti was also serving double duty as bassist. 6 Days to Nowhere was issued in 2007, and in 2008 Pier Gonella left the group to focus on other projects. Carlo Andrea Magnani rejoined Labyrinth in 2009, while the same year saw the departure of drummer Mattia Stancioiu.
In 2010, the band recorded and released Return to Heaven Denied, Pt. 2: A Midnight Autumn's Dream, which introduced a new rhythm section, bassist Sergio Pagnacco and drummer Alessandro Bissa. The band subsequently took a break from the recording studio, releasing the compilation As Time Goes By... in 2011 and focusing on live work. In 2014, Roberto Tiranti left Labyrinth for a second time, with American vocalist Mark Boals signing on to replace him. In 2016, Boals dropped out, Tiranti returned, and a new lineup of Labyrinth debuted with Tiranti, Magnani, and Andrea Cantarelli joined by Oleg Smirnoff on keyboards, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, and John Macaluso on drums. This edition of the band delivered Labyrinth's first set of new material in seven years with the 2017 release Architecture of a God. The next year, they issued the concert recording Return to Live, featuring tracks spanning their long career. ~ Mark Deming~ Rovi