While the movie bombed in the theaters in 1986, Labyrinth has become an enduring cult favorite. Featuring a young Jennifer Connelly (Beautiful Mind, et al) and avant garde musician David Bowie, the film was a cooperation between Muppet creator Jim Henson and Star Wars genius George Lucas. Honestly, what I remember of it, I didn't care for it either. (Suckage, would probably be my first thought of it.) I always thought Bowie was a wooden actor. Nevertheless, Labyrinth has become The Labyrinth, the concept and third(?) album for Sweden's Osukaru, a band pioneered by founder, songwriter, and guitarist Oscar Oz Petersson aka Oz Osukaru.
To start, while I know something of the story of the film, but because I don't have the lyrics, I can't speak to whether Osukaru stays true the concept or not. So we turn to the music instead. Much like his previous effort Transition, Osukaru sticks to his AOR melodic hard rock path. Being a guitarist and principal songwriter, most every song revolves around his brisk and harmonious riffs and the abundance of fiery lead guitar work. The band's vocals turn on both male and female vocalists, often in tandem as with The Stories We Tell or the ballad Undying Rose. When Fredrik Werner takes the front spot I found him to a bit gruff and raging.
Musically, I found many of the songs to be sharper, heavier, and more forceful than past material. The AOR accessibility and groove remain, but many songs, thanks to Petersson's riffage, have a definite metal edge to them, including The Offering, Voodoo (Who Do?), and Edge Of Night, to name a few. Additionally, I thought that the keyboard presence had been lessened and diffused. Slight exceptions may be found at the start of It's Only Forever and Edge Of Night. Also, within Transitions we found some nice saxophone work. I heard none of that here, or simply missed.
I think, in the end, a person may enjoy Osukaru's The Labyrinth for several reasons. One, they simply like the band and their style: Osukaru is very good at creating AOR melodic hard rock. Second, you may like the movie Labyrinth and want to hear Osukaru's spin on it. Or, alternatively, if you're a fan of both, then I say, by all means, jump right in.
In the end, a person may enjoy Osukaru's The Labyrinth for several reasons. One, they simply like the band and their style: Osukaru is very good at creating AOR melodic hard rock. Second, you may like the movie Labyrinth and want to hear Osukaru's spin on it. Or, alternatively, you're a fan of both, then I say, jump right in.
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