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Rhadamantys > Labyrinth of Thoughts > Reviews
Rhadamantys - Labyrinth of Thoughts

Ariadne’s Thread Won’t Help Through This Labyrinth - 91%

bayern, July 1st, 2017

This band is a collaboration between Ard van Bers, the vocalist of the progressive thrash outfit Donor, and two members of the doom/deathsters-turned-technical thrashers Creepmime, the guitar player Jaco Voorzaad and the keyboardist Gerrit Koekebakker. Van Bers only sang on Donor’s debut “Triangle of the Lost” leaving his old comrades after this recording to concentrate on his more personal efforts which also included the progressive/gothic metal formation Carthago (still active). This partnership here is responsible for one of the finest moments from the richly gifted Dutch metal scene as sadly the guys never produced anything else under the Rhadamantys moniker.

On the album reviewed here they had made a successful attempt in combining the seemingly incompatible pensive doomy atmospherics of early Creepmime with the jarring technical pyrotechnics of Donor; and had achieved a fine symbiosis on all counts. “Saxum Tantali” is just an atmospheric balladic intro van Berg adding a few oblivious lines, but “Source of Our Intelligence” means serious business its epic pathos-like character clinging more towards the doom metal side, the more aggressive riffage taking over later still interrupted by quieter, semi-balladic insertions. If this track could be viewed as a somewhat underwhelming inauguration totally missing the progressive swagger of the Donor effort, the lengthy ambient prologue of “Cryptical Evidence” would hardly make too many fans fall in love with this album; creepy intricate guitarisms start sneaking in gradually into the structure until they start whipping and lashing quite hard, forming less decipherable knots not too far from Deathrow’s “Deception Ignored” even, the brutal death metal vocals occupying the entire space leaving Van Berg just a bit of room to breathe.

“Inner Crisis” is a fabulous exhibition of technical mastery, exuberant labyrinthine rifforamas with dazzling rhythms flying from all sides their supply abruptly terminated mid-way the second half completely surrendered to tranquil meditative ambience. “Unknown Worlds in Collision” lets the leads do the enchantment initially before steel impetuous gallops harden the course their stride intercepted by seismic doomy sections, a handsomely achieved blend that later relies on creepy minimalistic riffage which transforms into the closing quiet epitaph. “Pile on the Agony” relies on doom and sombre guitars at first, moving slowly towards a grandiose vortex of both technical and melodic pirouettes which become more brutal with time reaching death metal-ish dramatism with faster and slower dashes taking turns for over 9-min, providing delightful moments for both the headbangers and the serious metal thinkers as both sides would be sitting in a pensive introspective mood exposed to the serene operatic finale.

The deep permeating atmospherics may come as too much and too meditative to some, especially to those expecting more regularly present hard-hitting thrashy moments, but the balance between the two ways of expression has been ably achieved for most of the time as the band’s purpose is not to please every single thrash metal maniac on the planet, but to provide a more expansive, further-reaching opus for a wider gamut of fans and mostly for those who like taking their time with their metal. The 90’s were transformational times with bands experimenting with all kinds of more or less appropriate mixtures between styles, trying to fit into the flippant volatile musical kaleidoscope of the decade. Rhadamantys definitely produced something original and relevant by not betraying the old school canons regardless of how difficult it may have been during this groovy/aggro/post-thrashy period which also swallowed Donor although their “Release” was one of the better adaptation efforts of the 90's. Creepmime turned to technical/progressive thrash the same year on “Chiaroscuro” to great, very positive results although that occurred without the two mentioned musicians. Voorzaad founded Constant Paranoia a few years later, a full-blooded old school death metal formation that is still operational. No traces on this act’s endeavours of those inimitable “atmosphere meets technicality” amalgams presented here; those are strictly reserved for a small number of artists who prefer to create their puzzling musical labyrinths by not leaving any helping threads for their audience.

Something more than a mere curiosity - 77%

autothrall, November 3rd, 2010

Rhadamantys were another Dutch death metal act unafraid to approach the genre from a very different angle, placing them in the same strange expanse as Creepmime, Phlebotomized and the 90s efforts from the mighty Pestilence, but stylistically there is very little here that you'll find in common with any of those. Their sole album, Labyrinth of Thoughts, is a rather unique accumulation of new age, world music, progressive rock and spurts of death and thrash riffing that, while aggressive enough, rarely ranks above the level of brutality found on a Spheres or Testimony of the Ancients. In fact, this album is so strange that its album titles is all too appropriate, for surely some amount of schizophrenia or confusion was possessing its makers at the time of composition.

Opener "Saxum Tanali" transports the listener into some lush, tranquil space upon which the hints of impending doom encroach at a mild distance. Birds chirp from the eaves of the rustic vegetation. Acoustic guitars pluck along like an elfin folk waltz. Percussive claps sound in the distance like hearing a construction site from over a neighborhood hill, the toil being carried on the winds. A mix of clean, heavily accented melodic vocals and deeper, manly narration play on the listener's attention span, gripping it for whatever might happen next: "Source of Our Intelligence", which begins with sailing, folk like clean vocals over some coiled chugging and the continued escalation of keyboards, until late in the track when the band breaks into a charging blend of moody thrash and vocals that seem like a scatterbrained addendum to Pyogenesis. The band choose an appropriate sample from Hellraiser II: Hellbound to close the track, and then we're assaulted by the dripping water and synthesized ambient world music of "Cryptical Evidence", which eventually trips into a more aggressive, taut melodic death metal sequence somewhat recollecting the more experimental Pestilence, or Cynic.

Questions, questions, darken my clear vision
Suicidal desecration of my inner strength
Explore your ambitions or accept the beauties of death
So that no more distinction of good and bad is needed

The latter half of the Labyrinth of Thoughts is somewhat less perplexing, because the band lays on more metal, and it is here you will find most of the better riffs. "Inner Crisis" is rather brief and direct for Rhadamantys, just about a minute and a half of progressive death/thrash that will indulge fans of such acts as Atheist or Creepmine, before it returns to an exotic wilderness ambient sequence over which minimal guitar leads wail. The storming that heralds "Unknown Worlds in Collision" cedes to what might be the single most magnificent piece on the album, with some explosive, excellent guitar riffs, solid bass performance and tribal warfare drumming, not to mention the exotic leads that slice through at seemingly random moments. That was over 8 minutes long, and the following "Pile on the Agony" is over 9 minutes, following the same brand of mystic and experimental death metal structuring that make the entire experience unusual.

Clearly, this effort deserves some credit for attempting to expand the very parameters of what the death metal genre might inhabit, though it is not without a few flaws. At times, the band's unusual ministrations seem so random and poorly plotted that the constant stops and starts can verge on annoyance. Their riffs, while well written, are not always highly memorable, but they are thankfully reinforced by all the new age segments, clean guitars, pianos and so forth. The vocals are largely intriguing, but several of the cleaner tones are shaky enough that they might have been re-edited, or clipped altogether. Still, Labyrinth of Thoughts succeeds to an extent that it should be heard by any devotee of demented death, whether the band's own Dutch peers or the more adventurous US bands of this period.