OSUKARU – The Labyrinth (2017)
Lead by melodic rock fighter Oz Osukaru, his band OSUKARU is back on track with their fourth full length album titled “The Labyrinth“. This time the Swedish five piece offers us their first concept album, which is lyric wise a love letter to classic fantasy movies from the ’80s – in particular the 1986 flick ‘Labyrinth’.
Music wise “The Labyrinth” sees Osukaru taking one step forward into their already established AOR-with-an-edge territory, raising the guitar riffs and the melodies just another notch.
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.
This inspired guitarist Oscar Oz Petersson aka Oz Osukaru and his band for the new album, and resulted in a cool story wrapped by melodic rocking sounds.
Much like his previous effort Transition, Osukaru sticks to his AOR melodic hard rock path, maybe slightly punchier than before.
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 power ballad ‘Undying Rose’.
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 edge to them, including ‘The Offering’, ‘Voodoo (Who Do?)’, and ‘Edge Of Night’, to name a few.
More keyboard driven are ‘It’s Only Forever’ and one of my favorites, ‘Edge Of Night’. Also, we found some nice saxophone work, as usual on all Osukaru releases.
You’ll enjoy Osukaru’s “The Labyrinth” for several reasons. One, they simply deliver the type of ’80s stuff we all love: 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.
Both aspects work flawlessly, and Osukaru has strengthened his production skills resulting in a very solid record with a bright sound.
01 – Maze of Mind
02 – The Stories We Tell
03 – Voices In the Dark
04 – Edge of Night
05 – It’s Only Forever
06 – Voodoo (Who Do?)
07 – Poisonous
08 – Undying Rose
09 – The Offering
10 – Moonlight Silhouette
Fredrik Werner – Vocals, Guitars
Oz Osukaru – Guitars, Keyboards
Vidar Mårtensson – Drums
Lisa Eugenia – Keyboards, Vocals
Olof Gadd – Bass
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