RHAPSODY - RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES - LIMB
Sorry, oh sorry! Debbie, Limb, SPV, everyone I am so sorry. It is true, it sounds akin to a Hollywood soundtrack and has the pomp and grandeur of a major production, but Rhapsody is simply too wimpy for serious metal fans. Drenched in keyboards and piano intermezzos, the Italians crank up the cheese factor to full fondue and compose music for the next big ancient Italian epic to hit the big screen. The melodies drench the songs and the vocals are so ever beautiful and promising I almost got myself a pedicure and treated myself to a day at the spa. It's simply too mainstream and pretentious to work. It's time to go and rent The English Patient now (I cheated, I got Dark City instead).
RHAPSODY - POWER OF THE DRAGONFLAME - LIMB
Rhapsody, for those who have not heard the Italian band, can be described in two convergent manners. Rhapsody can be a speed metal band awash in keyboards and symphonic arrangements. The band can rightfully be considered a wimped out, washed up, synthesized and symphonized speed metal mistake. Then again, this band can be considered an orchestra introducing distorted guitar picking to its symphony.
Power Of The Dragonflame is a huge album. The epic passages, long songs, majestic titles and grandiose art all coalesce to make rhapsody the epitome of pomp in all of musical Europe. Not that this means much to a metal fan, but credit is due and credit is given. As for me, it's back to metal now! - Ali "The Metallian"
RHAPSODY - SYMPHONY OF ENCHANTED LANDS II - THE DARK SECRET - SPV
The new Rhapsody opus is yet another grand production featuring various recordings, producers, instrumentations, an orchestra and even most impressively the voice of Christopher Lee as the narrator of the concept behind the album. The band's pompous rock/Classical fusion flies ahead, while Lee tells the tale of seven books in a mythical land forged as a collection of evil with one last one lost and not yet found. Now this might be me, but substitute book with ring and you get awfully close to a well-known story. Oh well...
The production is obviously big and impressive, the guest even more noteworthy and fans of Rhapsody or Classically-motivated rock will absolutely love what these Italians have come up with. Even a metal fan has to be fascinated by a concept that is supposedly going to span at least five albums. Of course, the cover artwork is again impressively majestic and stirring. Having said that, this is not metal so newer fans should tread with caution. - Ali "The Metallian"
RHAPSODY - LIVE IN CANADA 2005 (THE DARK SECRET) - SPV
A band that relies so much on orchestral, non-metal instruments and other effects must find it difficult to perform live shows and convey their sound in a live setting. Fans of Rhapsody will definitely look forward to hear the band and their power metal sounds live but for others an epic metal release has to be exceptional to work. This one hour long, recorded on their first appearance ever in Montreal, does a decent job of it and from what one can hear the masses attending the show at the city’s Metropolis venue they may have succeeded. The emphasis of this eleven-track release is on their latest, Symphony Of Enchanted Lands - Part 2, with some lucky fans getting a bonus DVD.
RHAPSODY OF FIRE - TRIUMPH OR AGONY - SPV
Why a band that has existed for over a decade runs into copyright issues now is very suspicious and the brief explanation given on their bio is useless at best, but onto the music we go. A Lord Of The Rings, shall we say, inspired intro starts off this new beginning for the Italians. The title track follows bringing with it the usual vocals and chorus but one that is perhaps surprisingly simple in structure without too much of the extras like keyboards or female vocals. Heart Of The Darklands starts off with a Yngwie-esque solo and does sound like Rising Force too. Old Age Of Wonders feature flutes to start and therefore one must move on. The Myth Of The Holy Sword could easily pass as a tribute to Manowar. Il Canto Del Vento is not much more than a typical ballad, one surely worthy of a place on the Italian charts. Silent Dream is fast and heavy compared to the former but that is not saying much and also scores a few points on the catchiness meter. Bloody Red Dungeons is another ballad to slow-paced song. There are more flutes and more of Lord Of The Rings on Son Of Pain. The 16-minute long The Mystic Prophecy Of The Demon Knight follows and mixes much of what is heard earlier into its various five parts, of note is its ninth minute point where it picks up in pace and heaviness, but it doesn’t last for long. Dark Reign Of Fire closes the album with more choirs and atmospheric passages. Neither triumph nor agony here, just Rhapsody. - Anna Tergel