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Rhapsody (of Fire) - Legendary Tales CD (album) cover

LEGENDARY TALES

Rhapsody (of Fire)

 

Progressive Metal

3.75 | 114 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ahh the debut album from power metal gods Rhapsody ( yes that was their name on the first couple of albums. They had to change their name to Rhapsody of Fire because of a copyright court case). This is a real classic in the power metal world, I would say on the line with The keeper albums from Helloween, and people who know power metal knows that these are big words. When I was first introduced to this album I was completely unprepared for the bombastic sound that Rhapsody create, and it took some getting used to, but I must say that the first couple of albums from Rhapsody made me so excited in those days and still does when Iīm in the mood for this kind of music. Legendary Tales and sophmore album Symphony of Enchanted Lands are my favorites. The third album Dawn of Glory is also very good, but from there on I think it went downhill. Itīs as if Rhapsody of Fire has run out of ideas.

Well on this their debut album they still sounded fresh and innovative. They really helped power metal to a revival as the genre was almost dead at the time of the release of Legendary Tales, only a few bands like Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, and Helloween had kept the genre alive up through the nineties, but these bands mostly enjoyed their success in Germany and Japan. With the revival of power metal in the late nineties people in other countries started noticing the genre again and lots of new bands began to appear. Bands like Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. These bands have again inspired thousand of newcomers in the new millinium. A band like Dragonforce is a great example.

The music on Legendary Tales is Power metal with lots of orchestral arrangements and loud choirs a cocktail that has also been used in the eighties but never with this effect. Rhapsody is clearly inspired by bands like Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen, Helloween and Manowar but they have a sound that is completely their own mainly due to the extensive use of orchestra ( in this case a string ensemble). The music is pretty fast with double bass drum a lot of the time, even though there are quiter parts and songs to add to the variation. Itīs very melodic and the mood is light and at times folky. I usually describe the early albums from Rhapsody by saying that they kick ass, and I think that is a valid statement. The good thing is that they do so much more than that and I guess itīs those things that have earned them a place in prog arhieves.

The production is handled by Miro and Sasha Paeth who also plays bass, acoustic guitars, and mandolin on Legendary Tales. Sasha Paeth is not a member of the band though only the creator of the beautiful production. I think the production is just wonderful.

The lyrics is a concept fairytale/ Fantasy story that I wont go further into. Lyrics like these are not my cup of tea to be frank, so the music has to be really good for me to endure stories about heroes, dragons and Emerald Swords. Fortunately this is the case here.

I canīt write a review of a Rhapsody album without mentioning mastermind and guitarist Luca Turilli who with keyboardist Alex Staropoli is responsible for composing the music. Turilli is a guitar virtoso and his signature sweeps are a big part of Rhapsodyīs sound. He is not only fast, but also incredibly melodious and deserves praise as one of the better guitarists in heavy metal today. Lead singer Fabio Lione has to be mentioned as well, as he is a very distinct and competent vocalist. He used to sing with the terrible italian band Labyrinth who are also in the archieves for some reason. He sings in a majestic tone but is also capable of more emotional and sometimes heartfelt singing ( read cheesy singing). His accent is acceptable.

The album starts with Ira Tenax which is a great symphonic intro with staccato operatic singing and some beautiful orchestral arrangements. This intro seques into Warrior of Ice and a welcome scream from Fabio Lione. This is a Rhapsody classic and a live favorite. Itīs such a great and powerful song. The middle section is really beautiful with baroque classical themes.

Rage of Winter is my favorite song on Legendary Tales. Itīs very powerful and has a great sing along chorus. Again the middle section is full of great instrumental parts. Turilli plays some of his best ever solos on this one.

Forest Of Unicorns represents Rhapsodyīs folky side with flute and mandolin. This is a great song. It always gets me in a good mood.

Flames of Revenge is another powerful and fast song. A real killer.

Virgin Skies is a quiet and somewhat trivial little song. Not to my liking really.

Land Of Immortals is another favorite of mine. Great metal song.

Echoes Of Tragedy is just the most cheesy song, and this is exactly why Rhapsody has never made a perfect album. These kind of songs are so disgusting in my ears that the possibility of a masterpiece stamp is gone with the wind. Just skip this one and youīll be allright.

Lord Of The Thunder is another one of those great metal songs that I just love. No one does this kind of metal better than Rhapsody.

Legendary Tales is more mid tempo paced than the rest of the metal songs. Itīs kind of an epic song and a really great one.

This is an excellent addition in any music collection, even though I donīt find this album to be very progressive. 4 stars is a fair rating as most of the songs are 4 or 5 star songs and one song is worth only 1. If youīre curious about Rhapsody, Iīll recommend youīll try this one as your first.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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