RHAPSODY OF FIRE

Power Metal • Italy
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Rhapsody of Fire is the new name of Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody. The name change was announced on July 14th, 2006. Read the following statement made by the webmaster:

"Due to copyright and trademark issues the band formerly known as Rhapsody has changed its name. The band members consider this a great new start, reflecting the emboldened and increasingly grandiose direction that their music has taken. “The power of the dragonflame will burn brighter than ever before,” says guitarist/songwriter Luca Turilli. Keyboardist/songwriter Alex Staropoli adds, “The name Rhapsody Of Fire better represents the energy that has always been present in this band and its music.”

With a new record company in Magic Circle Music, a new tour planned and a new album on the way, Rhapsody Of Fire will continue to explore musical fantasy worlds with the precision musicianship and unique symphonic concepts that their fans have
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Thanks to graphix, progshine, andyman1125, adg211288, DippoMagoo for the updates

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RHAPSODY OF FIRE Discography

RHAPSODY OF FIRE albums / top albums

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Legendary Tales album cover 3.79 | 34 ratings
Legendary Tales
Power Metal 1997
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Symphony Of Enchanted Lands album cover 4.10 | 39 ratings
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands
Power Metal 1998
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Dawn Of Victory album cover 3.72 | 32 ratings
Dawn Of Victory
Power Metal 2000
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Rain Of A Thousand Flames album cover 4.17 | 29 ratings
Rain Of A Thousand Flames
Power Metal 2001
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Power Of The Dragonflame album cover 3.95 | 25 ratings
Power Of The Dragonflame
Power Metal 2002
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret album cover 3.97 | 26 ratings
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret
Power Metal 2004
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Triumph Or Agony album cover 3.88 | 27 ratings
Triumph Or Agony
Power Metal 2006
RHAPSODY OF FIRE The Frozen Tears Of Angels album cover 3.84 | 21 ratings
The Frozen Tears Of Angels
Power Metal 2010
RHAPSODY OF FIRE From Chaos To Eternity album cover 3.40 | 20 ratings
From Chaos To Eternity
Power Metal 2011
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Dark Wings of Steel album cover 3.60 | 5 ratings
Dark Wings of Steel
Power Metal 2013
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Into the Legend album cover 4.07 | 3 ratings
Into the Legend
Power Metal 2016
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Legendary Years album cover 3.92 | 2 ratings
Legendary Years
Power Metal 2017
RHAPSODY OF FIRE The Eighth Mountain album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Eighth Mountain
Power Metal 2019

RHAPSODY OF FIRE EPs & splits

RHAPSODY OF FIRE The Dark Secret album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
The Dark Secret
Power Metal 2004
RHAPSODY OF FIRE The Cold Embrace Of Fear album cover 3.21 | 5 ratings
The Cold Embrace Of Fear
Power Metal 2010

RHAPSODY OF FIRE live albums

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret
Power Metal 2006
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Live - From Chaos To Eternity album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live - From Chaos To Eternity
Power Metal 2013
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Live in Atlanta album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Atlanta
Power Metal 2014

RHAPSODY OF FIRE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Land Of Immortals album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Land Of Immortals
Power Metal 1994
RHAPSODY OF FIRE Eternal Glory album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Eternal Glory
Power Metal 1995

RHAPSODY OF FIRE re-issues & compilations

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Tales From The Emerald Sword Saga album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Tales From The Emerald Sword Saga
Power Metal 2004

RHAPSODY OF FIRE singles (7)

.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Emerald Sword
Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Holy Thunderforce
Power Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
3.29 | 3 ratings
The Magic Of The Wizard's Dream
Power Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
A New Saga Begins
Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Reign Of Terror
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sea Of Fate
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Aeons of Raging Darkness
Power Metal 2011

RHAPSODY OF FIRE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Power Of The Dragon Flame
Power Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Visions From The Enchanted Lands
Power Metal 2007

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Reviews

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Rain Of A Thousand Flames

Album · 2001 · Power Metal
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For the 4th installment of “The Emerald Sword Saga,” RHAPSODY continued its epic fantastical medieval themed soundtrack metal (as they call it) and started a new more progressive phase in its compositional style. RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES differs from its three predecessors in that it recounts a parallel episode in the tale which took place shortly after “Dawn Of Victory” where while the Warrior of Ice is away, Akron ravages the lands with the coveted Emerald Sword. The album is rightfully conveys a sadder tone with more contemplative passages and tales of loss.

RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES also engages in longer classical meanderings with massive choirs that convey emotional tones and colors before the main vocals of Fabio Lione triumphantly narrate the saga at hand. RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES also utilizes themes from other bands’ works such as the near 14 minute epic sounding “Queen Of The Dark Horizons” based on the main theme from Italian prog soundtracks superstars Goblin’s main theme from the horror picture soundtrack “Phenomena.” Likewise “The Wizard’s Last Rhymes” is based on “New World Symphony” composed by Antonín Dvořák.

While the album is considered somewhat of a side story, it still approaches the 42 minute mark and primarily is composed of two main tracks: “Queen Of The Dark Horizons” and the four part “Rhymes of a Tragic Poem - The Gothic Saga" which consists of the four tracks: Tears of a Dying Angel" (6:22), "Elnor's Magic Valley" (1:40), "The Poem's Evil Page" (4:04) and "The Wizard's Last Rhymes" (10:37)” but together are almost 23 minutes in duration. The album is a lot more progressive with more varying themes and stylistics changes. While certain styles had been used for individual tracks in the past, RHAPSODY successfully infuses sprawling choral sections, classical compositional melodies, power metal heft and medieval folk flavors seamlessly into massive sprawlers.

While the symphonic power metal is still the dominant species on this album, RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES is more similar to the band’s debut “Legendary Tales” where there are more deviations from the neoclassical speed and pure folk jubilees although pure folk can still be found especially in “Einor’s Magic Valley” which is based on an Irish traditional jig called “Cooley’s Reel” which is simply a section of the “Rhymes of a Tragic Poem - The Gothic Saga,” the most sophisticated and intricately designed epic complex on the album. Throughout the four suites, many new avenues are explored such as new vocal styles, more cinematic soundtrack themes and incessant stylistic shifts including a passionate spoken narrations that reminds me of films like “Lord Of The Rings.”

Perhaps one of the most ambitious RHAPSODY albums, RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES truly takes on the cinematic soundtrack metal characteristics that the band has always been associated with. Everything on this one is on steroids and the dramatic themes lend to great subject matter that allows the musical deliveries to take on myriad heavy-handed roles that are constructed to convey the story in more fascinating constructs than the previous albums. This is obviously music that will hit you as cheesy from the getgo or dynamic and drama driven with epic tomes that recount the greatest medieval themes that are so popular these days. While nothing new under the sun, RHAPSODY nevertheless adds a passionate take on these themes with some of the most stunningly precise musical performances that bring life to these tales. Personally i think this one is generally under appreciated in relation to surrounding albums.

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Dawn Of Victory

Album · 2000 · Power Metal
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RHAPSODY continued its five volume album series that thematically covered an overarching tale called “The Emerald Sword Saga” which exemplified a classic good-vs-evil tale that narrated fantastical lands of myth and monsters. DAWN OF VICTORY is the third installment in this universe and once again crafted by the powerhouse compositional team of Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli. While it may seem the early RHAPSODY albums sound very much alike, it might be helpful to remember that the five chapter series that composes five separate releases could in reality be considered a single massive project that is broken down simply for the sake of marketing and not overwhelming the fanbase.

DAWN OF VICTORY continues the classic symphonic power metal prowess that not only displays the epic fantasy themes but also showcases the extraordinary musicianship that is unleashed. Turilli once again delivers an incessant display of guitar virtuosity complemented with lightning fast neoclassical wizardry and Starpoli exemplifies the same fiery passion on keyboards. The music is once again a mix of not only symphonic power metal but also features many brushes with pure European folk music most obvious on tracks like “The Village Of Dwarves” and while not quite as metallic as, say, Ensiferum or Korpiklaani, still packs a power metal punch at key moments but are heavily dependent on violin and flute sounds.

For the most part, RHAPSODY heeded the criticism of the band’s debut when it allowed sprawling symphonic parts to carry on with no metal bombast. DAWN OF VICTORY continues this correction that was achieved on “Symphony Of Enchantment” and continues to keep an extremely fast power metal guitar rampage throughout most of the album with only the lesser folk focused tracks deviating from the formula. While it’s not obvious, DAWN OF VICTORY also saw the debut of Alex Holzwarth as the new drummer but the style is so similar and in line with the musical deliveries that there are really no idiosyncratically stylistic changes that will give him away as a newbie as his percussive precision is as top notch as all of the other musicians involved in this fascinating project.

I can understand why this style of metal is considered too cheesy and over-the-top for some however the classical underpinnings keep this a highly melodic adventure with the metal emphasis keeping it in the head banging zone. Fabio Lione’s vocals are absolutely perfect for this operatic tale of fantasy worlds and the mix of keyboards and guitars ensures an interesting mix of metal bombast and atmospheric emotional tugs. While most tracks hover around the four to six minute range, the finale “The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord” charges its way up past the nine minute mark and offers one of the most progressive and diverse tracks as it narrates the final chapter in this musical tome of the series. The track is also probably the most successful at summing up the many stylistic shifts of the album as it displays both the symphonic power metal and folk aspects in tandem.

While not substantially different from the previous albums, RHAPSODY does a good job at mixing things up just enough to sounds like its retreading previous musical explorations. For example there are always new approaches to riffs which are mostly crafted through time signatures, riffing styles and dynamic shifts otherwise the folk, classical and power metal elements remain staunchly in place. With music this beautifully designed it’s hard not to love the hell out of it and when thought of as merely phase 3 in the 5 part series, it would be a disservice to deviate too far too fast from the formulaic approach. RHAPSODY is one of the most consistent bands in power metal and the third album DAWN OF VICTORY does not disappoint in that regard one little bit.

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Symphony Of Enchanted Lands

Album · 1998 · Power Metal
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Italy’s Luca Turilli and Alex Starapoli pioneered the new subgenre of symphonic power metal in creation on the 1997 RHAPSODY debut “Legendary Tales” which set their mystical medieval folklore laden lyrics to a unique mix of symphonic classical and baroque music, power metal and Celtic folk that was drawn out to epic scopes and to which the band RHAPSODY has always referred to as film score metal for its high fantasy polished and hard driving operatic sound circus. The band returned the following year to deliver the stellar sophomore release SYMPHONY OF ENCHANTED LANDS which fine-tuned the melding alchemic musical principles into a greater cohesive whole.

One of the main complaints about the debut was that the metal was only intermittent as sprawling classical tinged folk laden symphonic marches swallowed up vast amounts of real estate with only partial metal satisfaction for head banging pleasures. SYMPHONY OF ENCHANTED LANDS more than corrects that and offers a much greater presence of the power metal elements in the vein of classic Helloween augmented with the tighter control of the classical symphonic prowess that makes this second offering a much more energetic listening experience as it traipses through the mystical musical worlds of dragons, orcs, mages and Middle Earth sensibilities.

While RHAPSODY’s style may sound cliche by today’s standards, this Italian band was the one that kicked off this epic over-the-top symphonic power metal thing. So true that power metal does have its share of cheese and RHAPSODY is no exception with the strident operatic vocals of Fabio Lione wailing over the soaring neoclassical guitar shredding, power metal hooks and Celtic jigs meets J.S. Bach musical interludes but the stellar performances of the musicians pretty much blew everyone else away in the scene during the 90s and with a whopping sixteen guest musicians playing everything from mandolins, balalaikas, oboes and violins to marching drums and harpsichord, it’s almost as if this entire performance was done by a group of classical trained musicians moonlighting to their favorite metal style.

The saga begins with the epic soundtrack intro of “Epicus Furor” which not only introduces a Carl Orff sort of classical bombast but displays one of the most epic elements of the entire album, namely the outstanding choir sections that build up the momentum and lead to the metal fury of “Emerald Sword.” Different tracks focus on different musical genres as the lead musical flavor. While the “Emerald Sword” rips through the metal orotundity, the following “Wisdom Of The Kings” breaks out the folk melodies that incorporate stellar baroque keyboard stabs into the mix and flawlessly weaves the magic of pastoral lands, metal power angst and classical nights at the opera. Both Starapoli and Turilli trade off with virtuosic neoclassical soloing and Lione delivers a soaring vocal charm that despite being the strongest element of the band’s sound somehow fits into the larger scheme of things.

Despite some of the best tracks of RHAPSODY’s career such as the thirteen minute progressive closing title track which summarizes the entire album in a mystical amalgamation of the disparate genres presented, the album has its moments that don’t quite work so well. While the baroque meets folk interlude “Heroes Of The Lost Valley” starts off as a sweet soiree of a folk meets baroque encounter of the days of yore, the narrative part brings out all the cheese with some contrived poetic prose that sounds like an intro to a video game tutorial. However despite a few moments where the cheese factor is turned up to ridiculousness, for the most part it’s tamped down in favor of some intricate melodic interplay of the main instrumental prowess of guitar, keyboards, bass and drums with the army of supplemental sounds mainly serving the introductory parts.

Despite more emphasis on the power metal, by no means was this at the cost of the symphonic classical elements nor does it mean the folk and other instruments have been diminished one bit. It’s just that things had been integrated into a much larger picture that fits into the grandeur of the epic tale at hand. RHAPSODY were the masters of alternating between heavy bombastic metal and lush classical passages and back again with elements of folk, vocal choirs and even symphonic prog that keeps the music interesting enough for repeated listens as it chugs along and then at the drop of a hat smoothly drifts around like a feather on a zephyr breeze. RHAPSODY developed their unique style early on but on SYMPHONY OF ENCHANTED LANDS, the band created a more mature version of it and would remain amazingly consistent in their run of albums that followed. Better in many ways than the debut but a few speed bumps keep it from being perfect as well.

RHAPSODY OF FIRE The Eighth Mountain

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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It’s always exciting to see a band deliver something truly special when all the odds seem to be stacked against them. One of my favorite albums of all time is Dream Theater’s Metropolis Pt. II: Scenes From a Memory, an album which could have been the end for the band if it had been a failure, following the negative reception and behind the scenes problems with Falling Into Infinity, while many other bands have also managed to deliver some great albums in similar situations. Italian symphonic power metal legends Rhapsody of Fire are the latest to fall into this category.

Once considered one of the all-time greats of their genre, producing such masterpieces as Legendary Tales, Dawn of Victory and Power of the Dragonflame, the band has gone through a lot of turmoil in recent years, starting with the departure of multi-instrumentalist and main composer Luca Turilli, which led to the solid but somewhat underwhelming Dark Wings of Steel, followed by an excellent return to form in Into the Legend. Just as the band seemed to be back on their feet, they ended up parting ways with longtime vocalist Fabio Lione, who has since reunited with Turilli to start their own new version of Rhapsody, with their debut planned for release later this year.

With keyboardist and songwriter, Alex Staropoli left as the only remaining original member (though guitarist Roberto De Micheli was around during the band’s early days as Thundercross, before leaving in 1993 and then returning in 2011,) things looked pretty grim for the band. It only got worse from there, following the release of Legendary Years, a re-recordings album featuring tracks from the band’s first five albums, as well as the first release to feature new singer Giacomo Voli and new drummer Manuel Lotter. It was very poorly received, with the general consensus being that Voli is a good singer, but he didn’t fit well on the classics, while the overall sound production and performances just weren’t up to par with the originals.

I’ll admit, I was very close to counting the band out for good around that point, and I doubt I’m the only fan of the band to do so. However, I was willing to give them one last chance to see how their first new album with their current lineup would turn out, and things looked more hopeful as soon as the first single “The Legend Goes On” was released, as it felt like a return to the fun, simpler sound of the band’s first few releases, while also feeling fresh. I was hoping it would be an indication of what to expect from the full-length album, but now that the Eighth Mountain has finally arrived, I have to say, my expectations haven’t been met: They’ve been greatly surpassed!

Ever since Staropoli took over as the band’s main songwriter, it’s felt like he’s been wanting to recreate the fun and energy of the band’s early days, still incorporating symphonic elements as always, but not going as fully overboard with them as the band had been on their last couple of albums with Turilli. Into the Legend came pretty close, aside from a couple weaker tracks, and now The Eighth Mountain feels like it’s fully accomplished the mission, bringing back the more simple sound of the band’s early days, while still sounding fresher, more energetic and more exciting than the band has been in a very long time. Obviously, the symphonic elements are still in full effect, with the album featuring the use of a full orchestra and two full choirs, but they feel more fluidly integrated into the music, instead of overpowering everything else, which allows the rest of the band to shine through.

And shine they do, with De Micheli, in particular, delivering easily his best performance since returning to the band. He delivers some heavy, energetic riffs throughout the album, as well as performing some very melodic and beautiful solos, and of course there’s some of the classic neoclassical shredding which falls perfectly in line with what the band was doing in their early days, particularly on the epic, super speedy track “Clash of Times”. Obviously, Staropoli is impressive, as well, with his keys being the main focus as always, providing some nice backdrops throughout the album, and adding a ton of atmosphere and feeling to the tracks. I’ll also say, while I agree with the criticisms against Legendary Years, the production here is as strong as ever, with everything coming through clearly and sounding powerful, so whatever went wrong on that release, it certainly didn’t happen this time.

Following a brief intro, the album officially kicks off with “Seven Heroic Deeds”, the kind of speedy, high energy track fans have come to expect from the band. It has some heavy, yet melodic guitar work, with slight hints at neoclassical shredding early on, as well as some fun verses, a very epic chorus, featuring heavy use of choirs, and overall it strikes a perfect balance between the metal elements and the symphonic arrangements.

Of course, the elephant in the room is Voli’s vocals, which also make a strong first impression, as he delivers a fiery performance during the verses, fluidly alternating between the kind of melodic, soaring vocals fans would expect, as well as some more intense and powerful vocals, especially on the second verse, where he briefly teases at some extreme vocals, and nails them. He especially shines on the chorus, where he shows his range perfectly, going from epic high notes to deeper notes, which is some he does wonderfully throughout the album.

Fans may already be familiar with the next couple tracks, as both were recently released as singles. First is “Master of Peace”, a fast paced track which kicks off with some heavy rhythm guitar work, which carries on through the verses, where Voli shows off his range some more. The highlight of the track is the spectacular chorus, which is equal parts epic, melodic, powerful and absolutely beautiful, featuring some of Voli’s best vocals on the entire album, where he just knocks it out of the park, though the wonderful, very melodic solo later on is also amazing. The second in this set of singles is “Rain of Fury”, which showcases some epic symphonic arrangements early on, and moves at a very furious pace throughout the verses, giving way to another melodic and absolutely sensational chorus. It’s the kind of epic, speedy and melodic the track the band has always specialized in, and while I prefer the previous track slightly, both tracks are both amazing on their own, as well as a great indication of what to expect.

The momentum continues with “White Wizard”, a track which begins with some soft and beautiful keys, before the rest of the band joins in and the pace picks up a bit. It’s not quite as frantic as the previous three tracks, but still moves along at a nice pace during the verses, before picking up big time for what may actually be my favorite on the chorus on the album, as the keys and symphonic arrangements are especially effective here, while Voli’s vocals are as powerful and melodic as ever, and the chorus itself is just insanely catchy and fun, and so it’s simply a magical chorus, overall. The brief instrumental interlude, later on, is also great, and overall, the track is one of my favorites on the album.

Following four amazing tracks, the band slows down briefly on “Warrior Heart”, a classic medieval folk-infused ballad along the lines of “Forest of Unicorns” from the band’s debut. It’s a relaxing and beautiful, yet still epic track, where Voli again shines with some deep and very soft vocals, which carry the verses well, before opening up with some epic and powerful vocals during the choruses. The folk instruments are also very beautiful, and the track is instrumentally very calm and relaxing, while still being very entertaining.

The pace picks up again and doesn’t slow down much for a while, starting with “The Courage to Forgive”, a more progressive and epic track. After an extended intro, the track gallops along at a mid-pace for a while, before speeding up for another spectacular chorus, with excellent use of the choirs, as well as more great vocals from Voli. The track does a great job of alternating between slow and fast passages, a trend which continues on “March Against the Tyrant”, the first of two longer tracks on the album. It starts off with some blistering lead guitar work, before slowing down and delivering a very nice extended soft section, featuring more very soft vocals as well as the return of medieval folk elements. The track builds up momentum for a while, slowly getting heavier as it goes along, and then it speeds up for yet another incredibly epic chorus, featuring heavy guitar work and some more outstanding vocal melodies. From there, the track stays heavy, but it continues to alternate nicely between fast and mid-paced sections, with some great instrumental work, both from the band and orchestra. I’ve struggled somewhat with the band’s longer songs in the past, but this track is a clear winner, and stands as my favorite here, thanks to its excellent arrangements and chorus.

Fans of classic Rhapsody are sure to love “Clash of Times”, another fast and furious track, which features some of the best guitar work on the album. It maintains an intense pace throughout its verses and chorus and is amazing throughout but the highlight of the track comes around the halfway point, where De Micheli goes all in with epic neoclassical shredding, and the result is absolutely brilliant. The hits just keep on coming with lead single “The Legend Goes On”, another track which strikes a perfect balance between heavy guitar work, epic symphonic arrangements and keys, frantic tempos and an outstanding, very catchy chorus. Following that is the second and final ballad, “The Wind, the Rain, and the Moon. It’s a beautiful track, heavily dominated by orchestras and vocals. It has a slight film score feel to it, with the orchestras providing a beautiful backdrop, while Voli delivers some of his softest and most theatrical vocals on the album, once again stealing the show, especially during the chorus.

Closing out the album is the over 10-minute epic, “Tales of a Hero’s Fate”. I’ve mentioned before that Rhapsody epics can be very hit and miss, so expecting them to nail two on one album may be too much to ask for, right? Wrong! The track begins with more heavy guitar work and epic symphonic arrangements before the music suddenly turns darker and were treated to some very sinister sounding growls, which actually sound pretty awesome. The track stays speedy throughout, with another great chorus, where the choirs are used to great effect, and it’s an amazing track overall, with strong vocals from Voli, as well as some great instrumental passages, which range from very heavy to very beautiful, dramatic and melodic, and for the first 8 minutes, it’s an absolutely perfect Rhapsody epic, moving from highlight to highlight, without losing focus or repeating itself too much, as some of their past epics have done. After around 8 minutes, the song effectively ends, as the album closes out with some narration from the late Christopher Lee. I usually dislike narration in music, as it can be distracting, and Rhapsody, in particular, have been known to overuse it a lot in the past, but thankfully, in this case, it only appears right at the end of the album, so it isn’t as distracting as it could have been, and the song is still given more than enough time to fully develop, so the narration ends up feeling like a nice epilogue to a truly outstanding album.

When I heard Fabio Lione had left Rhapsody, I thought for sure that would be it for me, as I figured there was little chance of the band recovering from losing so many important members, at this point. Going into The Eighth Mountain, I told myself I would have been happy if it was just a solid release, but it unexpectedly turned out to be an absolute masterpiece, the likes of which can easily stand up to any of the band’s past works. Longtime fans of the band may be in for a shock when they hear just how epic, energetic, melodic and at times beautiful this release is, while anyone looking for great symphonic power metal is highly recommended to give this a listen, as it’s easily the best album of its kind released in quite some time. It’s the kind of truly shocking and invigorating release that instantly cheers me up every time I listen to it, and I can only dare to hope that the band could possibly deliver more epic releases of this caliber in the future!

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/02/17/rhapsody-of-fire-the-eighth-mountain/

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Legendary Tales

Album · 1997 · Power Metal
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Known as the pioneers of fusing power and symphonic metal into epic fantastical journeys, Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli created their progressive neoclassical driven band all the way back in 1993 in Trieste, Italy under the moniker Thundercross before finally changing it to the more familiar RHAPSODY, only then to be altered once again to RHAPSODY OF FIRE in 2006 due to trademark issues. Really? It took someone ten years to figure out they didn’t deserve the name? Geez.

Riding in the wake of power metal bands like Helloween, Running Wild and Blind Guardian, RHAPSODY was all about fantastical voyages into the world of mythical creatures, wily wizards and the eternal battle of good and evil and their debut album LEGENDARY TALES the band began the lengthy and never-ending epic journey into their high fantasy musical world of “The Emerald Sword Saga” which spanned over five albums ending with “Power Of The Dragonflame.”

Fantasy and mythology are nothing new in metal of course and traverses throughout the entire metal universe with bands like Summoning devoting their entire subject matter to Tolkien inspired themes. RHAPSODY took a similar approach only changing things around a bit to create their own mystical folklore that finds the similar Middle Earth approach between the battle of good and evil in a glorious bravado.

The album takes the frenetic energy infused riffing of power metal and applies rich symphonic and emotionally dense segments that include flutes, recorders, harpsichord, violins, cello, mandolin and a rich eight piece choir (tagged as the Choir Of Immortals) along with the expected metal instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and classic operatic over-the-top vocals. The sheer scope of the journey is performed with technical wizardry and easily takes the listener to the epic lands far away from the reality we experience in the here and now.

Yeah, power metal can be a bit cheesy at times but when it’s done right, it is grand and intense. The problem usually arises in that the band in question doesn’t quite have the chops to pull off their visions. RHAPSODY is chock full of virtuosic talent focused on Luca Turilli’s speed-drenched guitar wizardry, Alex Staropoli’s keyboard gymnastics and excellently constructed compositions that focus on all aspects of the music without any particular style or genre stealing the show. These guys have mastered the art of musical foreplay and climax like few others in the metal world yet deliver all the metal goods in ample doses.

While the metal riffs are primarily based on 80s Manowar taken to more ambitious extremes, the neoclassical solos reminisce of Yngwie Malmsteen’s classically charged shred wankery. The keyboards on the other hand exist in a neo-Baroque universe that compliment the guitar segments but often find moments of expressing unadulterated J.S.Bach glory. Mountains of melody emerge through carefully constructed flute and recorders while choirs caress the soundscape with harmonic bliss.

RHAPSODY’s debut LEGENDARY TALES truly took metal’s most virtuosic and ambitious aspects to new heights with outstanding musical performances within perfectly drawn out journeys that fleshed out emotional depth with a stellar performance by vocalist Fabio Lione whose vocal range shatters glass when on fire and yet carries a perfectly calm demeanor when poetic prose is in order. It’s no wonder RHAPSODY has been so successful starting from this not so humble beginning. All the elements have already gelled with the band’s vision having been crystal clear by mapping out a complete five part saga for their debut.

The excellent performances are even more stellar with the superb production job from Gate-Studios in Wolfsburg, German with Sascha Paeth of Heaven’s Gate and Angra fame at the helm. This is a stunningly rich collection of ten outstanding tracks that contain no samples or synthesizers. All instruments heard are the real deal. While i am blown away by LEGENDARY TALES it falters only in the more tightly composed epics that follow but consistency has been one of RHAPSODY (OF FIRE)’s strengths and this debut is certainly no exception.

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