Album review: 4TH LABYRINTH – Better

Pete Feenstra chatted to Marcel Kunkel for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio in October 2019.  Pete has been a champion of 4th Labyrinth and comments on the latest album:

4th Labyrinth’s ‘Better’ is a marvellous rock album that fulfils the glimpses of potential to be found on their ‘Quattro Stagioni’ debut album.

‘Better’ is a major step forward towards the rock’s premier league and takes us on a wide ranging musical journey rooted in the twin imperatives of classic and prog rock, offset by keyboard-led new wave elements and contrasting grungy riffs.

It’s an album that makes good use of dynamics and the band’s intricately woven interplay. It’s all topped by a magnificent performance by the keyboard playing, vocalist, songwriter and producer Marcel Kunkel.

‘Better’ is an album that keep you guessing from track to track, as well as the sudden drop-downs and changes within the same song. It all works seamlessly because of the tight rhythm section of bassist Claudia McKenzie and drummer Tom Winch, while guitarist and co-producer Andrew Cross is full of restraint.

‘Better’ is an ambitious album which suggest the band have challenged themselves to come up with, eh hem, something better!

And if they occasionally slip into a few familiar genres, they do so with enough purpose, focus and full on rock to make for an invigorating album that will surely feature in several ‘best of’ lists at the end of the year. ****½

Facebook [Release date 04.10.19]

4th Labryrinth, winner of best band in Cambridge and with one of the most impressive records for playing live in the area and futher afield, known for brilliant stagecraft from Marcel Kunkel with his sharp wit, German accent, top hat and shiny jackets backed with some of Cambridge’s best musicians in Tom Winch (drums), Andy Cross (guitars), Lachlan Golder (guitars) and the rainbow-braided whirlwind Claudia McKenzie who always causes a frenzy in festival photo pits from togs trying to catch images of her trademark hair!

So we arrive at album number two following 2015′ s more poppy ‘Quattro Stagioni’, ‘Better’ I dare say is the perfect name; ‘Quattro Stagioni’ was a fine collection a 4/5 if I was reviewing today.

‘Better’ just edges it with its harder, more prog direction, not that anything is as indulgent as standard old prog nothing is over done or over played, everything balances very nicely thank you. The swirling Hammond organ is very Jon Lord in the right places everything ebbs and flows, light and shade, guitars either crunch or chime, the bass and drumming are exceptional. 4th Labryrinth have crafted an album to match the love and reputation they have from their live performances.

Sit down, turn the lights off, put on down decent headphones and pour a glass of wine, listen and enjoy! From the atmospheric intro, through the Purple-like ‘This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and the moody ‘Darkness Calling’ it’s bit in the past, a bit in the present and a lot of talent squeezed into 37 minutes. ****1/2

Review by Martin Porter

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 June 2022.

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