The debut release of Cambridge-based band 4th Labyrinth, 2015’s Quattro Stagioni, brought the band some degree of public and critical acclaim. The album was plugged in a number of publications and featured on several radio stations across the county, which included the Beeb. Since then the band have been gigging around the country, appearing at festivals, supporting acts like Wishbone Ash, Carl Palmer’s ELP and prog legends Focus, and they’ve been attracting positive reviews wherever they’ve played. So, the impending release of their second album, Better, is an opportunity for the band to show they’re fulfilling the promise shown on their debut album.
And they’ve come up with a pretty damn good piece of work as well, an album filled with some fine catchy hooks and tunes. Quattro Stagioni was described as being stuffed with classic songwriting and with a refreshingly interesting lyrical stance, and this album follows along the same path. It’s not a long album, with nine tracks lasting only thirty seven minutes, but they offer plenty in this time to keep the listener occupied. The band claim their mission is to bring approachable rock music back to where it ought to be, and they’ve laid down their marker where they think this place is. They show they’re a versatile band, unconstrained by the boundaries of genre. The music on offer traverses a variety of styles in the band’s desire to create something a little bit off the beaten track.
The band leap straight into action, after a haunting piece at the beginning, with This is Rock ‘n Roll, which is the rockiest piece on the album, with a powerful beat all the way through. Darkness is Calling is very reminiscent of Riverside in its prog-like feel and its use of chording, whereas Keep me from Falling occupies rock territory, especially with its guitar histrionics midway through. These three tracks alone demonstrate the capability of the band in varying their style while keeping fans onside. And there are plenty of other good tracks on the album, notably album closer Make it Mine which, at over seven minutes, is the longest track.
4th Labyrinth have shown they’re capable of meeting the challenge of making their second album as interesting as their debut. Now the challenge is to build on this promise.