Review: Osukaru – The Labyrinth

Record Info

Label: City of Lights Records
Producer: Fredrik Werner and Oz Osukaru
Release date: February 24, 2017
Line-up: Fredrik Werner (vo, g), Oz Osukaru (g), Lisa Eugenia (vo, keyb), Olof Gadd (b), Vidar Mårtensson (dr), (Fredrik Svensson, bass on The Offering)

Rating: 8/10
(10: A Master Piece / a future classic, 9: Superb, near perfect, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Good, 5: Average)

We’ve followed Osukaru pretty much all the way since the start where band leader Oz Osukaru has brought forward his vision with the band, a band that has evolved from a more or less project form with all the line-up changes although Oz song writing always been the red thread.
Since 2013 Osukaru for sure became a stable band keeping the key members in the band, even if the release of Triumphant was a bit hasty.
Ever since the 2012 release of Salvation where the band released a bit tougher songs like Tear It Down and Hot Blooded Woman the band has kept coming back to that kind of songs. With singer Fredrik Werner (who came onboard 2013) Osukaru has got a sound I think suit the band and his voice.  2013 they also got onboard a female vocalist Cecilia Camuii (now replaced with Lisa Eugenia) that fits very good with the AOR songs.

With The Labyrinth the vision has been to create a theme album where the stories are inspired from the sci-fi movie with the same name. If you havn’t seen the Movie, don’t worry as the album could be listened to without having seen it. It start of with a short intro called Maze of Mind that sounds really pompy and are all in the 80’s soundtrack vein. First real song is The Stories We Tell, I do think this song is amongst the best AOR songs Oz has written and the guitar solos shifting from Oz to Fredrik fits the song very well.
Song number three Voices in The Dark are one of those a bit tougher songs that I’ve come to prefer with the band. The lead song are handled by Lisa Eugenia who has got a quite deep voice, but to me it sounds like she’s got a whole lot more to give, now don’t missunderstand me she’s doing a good job even if I believe this young vocalist got even more to give. Fredrik Werner plays a mean solo here, probably the best solo ever on an Osukaru album.
Edge of Night pass me by quite un-noticed not a bad song but nothing special to me.
Powerballad It’s Only Forever on the other hand is something different as its the first ballad after the rockers but also Lisa Eugenia really do the song justice and its one beautiful song.
After that we get another rocker Voodoo (Who Do) where Fredrik Werner both handles the lead vocals and more of that mean guitar playing.
A short interlude (quite cool actually) follows prior to another ballad, Undying Rose, this time a duo not as good as It’s Only Forever.
The Offering is perhaps my favorite on The Labyrinth. The rough sound once again appears and Fredrik gives the song that extra energy when singing from the top of his lungs “can’t stand the thought of losing you”.
Last song of this quite short album (37 minutes) Monlight Silhouette is quite standard AOR and does not raise my eyebrows.

To summarize I’d hold this album equally good as my to date favorite with the band Salvation. But also with a big plus the album got a way much better production. The latter albums from Osukaru there has been a much better budget on the production side and I do think the band got good enough songs to get even better marketing support. With that said I really think you should check this album out, it has got a whole bunch of good songs.

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Same year as faboulus Deep Purple record "Stormbringer" were recorded I was born outside Borås, Sweden. Now 34 years later I'm livin outside Gothenburg, my time is devoted to music and I'm listening to it almost constantly. Melodic rock or Blues are my favorite genres but almost anything goes. Besides music I enjoy Football and Basketball but also other sports that include Swedish participators. Ofcourse as anyone else I enjoy a good laugh with friends over a pint or two. I've got the opinion that you can't pick a best musician nor the best album, however here's a couple of albums I never tend to tire on: Whitesnake - Slide it in Rainbow - Difficult to cure Giant - Time to burn Dare - Blood from stone Magnum - Princess Alice and the broken Arrow Thunder - Behind closed doors Gotthard - Lipservice