Luca Turilli’s RHAPSODY – Ascending To Infinity

Nuclear Blast 2012

The tail end of 2011 saw my heart break in two – as that’s exactly what happened to one of my favourite bands.  Song writers and founder members of Rhapsody (Of Fire) keyboard player Alex Staropoli and guitarist Alex Turilli parted, although on good terms. While Alex (with vocalist Fabio Lione) remain as RoF, Luca has his own Rhapsody, with bassist Patrice Guers, guitarist Dominique Leurquin, drummer Alex Holzworth and vocalist Alessandro Conti.

The sound is still a huge production, although a little less operatic, and more cinematic. Opener Quantum X could preview any dark action film in big style, with layered power metal and keyboard effects.

The title track has lots of big vocals, plenty of power and neo classical guitar runs, harmonic arpeggios, it’s all classic (quite literally) stuff.

Luca himself provides the keyboards and orchestral arrangements, and having two guitarists in the studio (like the last RoF album featuring Luca, which I marginally prefer), means that there is plenty of shred and twin guitar interplay without overdubs.

This is more cinematic than the filmscore of earlier Rhapsody albums, and the vocals range from gothic / operatic to Nordic power metal throughout.

The epic, standout and masterpiece is the closing 16 minute Of Michael The Archangel And Lucifer’s Fall, which builds slowly but when the guitar kicks in it’s just a fucking kicking song. From melodic speed metal to operatic power metal to cinematic metal – it really is an essential and gripping opus.  

To be honest, after my introduction to Rhapsody in Symphony Of The Enchanted Lands II: The Darke Secret, which is impossible to match, it’s hard to be completely blown away, but this comes damn pretty close.

****1/2

Joe Geesin


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