AFM Records [Release date 26.11.21]
Italian symphonic metal legends Rhapsody (for that is what they were originally called) return with their 13th studio album and is the second in the The Nephilim’s Empire Saga concept series, and follows on from 2019’s The Eighth Mountain (and the I’ll Be Your Hero EP) nicely.
The band have had a few line-up changes of late, with a couple of members (including vocalist Fabio Leone) joining founder member Luca Turilli’s own version of the band. Rhapsody Of Fire keyboard player Alex Staropoli has done a very fine job keeping the band going and true to form (actually much more so than Turilli’s splinter group), and the new line-up has gelled and sound as good as ever. Melodic operatic power metal with choir and orchestra.
Alongside Alex are vocalist Giacomo Voli, guitarist Robi Di Mecheli, bassist Alessandro Sala and drummer Paolo Marchesich. And from the opening track Son Of Vengeance you know it’s a solid big production that’s going to enthral.
There are quieter passages, and when it builds both the guitar and vocals are layered. A clear powerful voice with an operatic nod, wonderful. The Kingdom Of Ice is a solid rock song, machine gun drums, less symphonic, but the swirling keyboards mix with the shredding guitar nicely. Then the title track that has a real story telling feel to it.
The short woodwind and narration led Eternal Snow nod back to the whimsical and concept narration of their magnum opus Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II The Dark Secret. And it’s not the only moment that hints at renaissance. The changes of mood in Abyss Of Pain II have a progressive feel.
Thirteen tracks, music that you just know is Rhapsody Of Fire, on fire. If their music grabs you at all, you’ll love this; music deserving of a big stage show. And it’s what the band do so well. Still a long way to go to reach the highs of the aforementioned Dark Secret, but even so this is one of my albums of the year. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s glorious and a salvation. *****
Review by Joe Geesin
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Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GRACE Hope (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CLASSLESS ACT Welcome To the Show (Better Noise Music)
14:00-16:00 TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT Day By Day (indie)
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