Album review: RHAPSODY OF FIRE – Dark Wings Of Steel


Rhapsody Of Fire - Dark Wings Of Steel

AFM Records [Release date 25.11.13]

Rhapsody of Fire return with their first studio album since the amicable split of main songwriters Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli in 2012 – Luca has his own version of the band called Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody who released Ascending to Infinity in June of the same year. Whereas Luca wanted to pursue his own “cinematic metal”, Alex and company wanted to return to the roots of their early output under the Rhapsody banner.

I must admit that I have a soft spot for Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Dawn of Victory and Rain of a Thousand Flames but my interest slowly began to wane. The more recent albums have left me cold so the prospect of Rhapsody returning to their early style is a big plus point…and sorry but I still haven’t got used to them not being called Rhapsody even after 10 years with the “of Fire” name.

Joining keyboard maestro Starpoli and ever present vocalist Fabio Lione are long term drummer Alex Holzworth, brother and Blind Guardian bassist Oliver Holzworth. New boy Roberto De Micheli replacing the irreplaceable Turilli on guitar does a sterling job nonetheless.

Vis Divina opens the proceedings in style with a majestic choir before the orchestra kicks in…suitably over the top. Rising From Tragic Flames recalls the classic early Rhapsody sounds before Angel of Light brings the power ballad to a new level with superb orchestration and the wonderful backing vocals of a full choir.

Unfortunately things take a downward spiral from here – My Sacrifice takes a full 8 minutes to go nowhere, Italian number Custode Di Pace is downright boring and the title track Dark Wings of Steel disappoints. Something is missing from the song writing department and his name is Luca Turilli. The use of the backing choir on every chorus also is monotonous and becomes too predictable by the end.

As with any Rhapsody of Fire release you need to spend a little time with the songs before they start to worm their way into your brain but the problem we have here is that it just may not be worth all of the effort in the first place!

The stories have gone, no Christopher Lee, no Luca Turilli … something is missing from Dark Wings of Steel. The band needs to find out what before the next release. Overall disappointing…  ***

Review by Phil Berisford

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