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Rhapsody (of Fire) - Dawn Of Victory CD (album) cover

DAWN OF VICTORY

Rhapsody (of Fire)

 

Progressive Metal

3.78 | 108 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars RHAPSODY continued its five volume album series that thematically covered an overarching tale called "The Emerald Sword Saga" which exemplified a classic good-vs-evil tale that narrated fantastical lands of myth and monsters. DAWN OF VICTORY is the third installment in this universe and once again crafted by the powerhouse compositional team of Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli. While it may seem the early RHAPSODY albums sound very much alike, it might be helpful to remember that the five chapter series that composes five separate releases could in reality be considered a single massive project that is broken down simply for the sake of marketing and not overwhelming the fanbase.

DAWN OF VICTORY continues the classic symphonic power metal prowess that not only displays the epic fantasy themes but also showcases the extraordinary musicianship that is unleashed. Turilli once again delivers an incessant display of guitar virtuosity complemented with lightning fast neoclassical wizardry and Starpoli exemplifies the same fiery passion on keyboards. The music is once again a mix of not only symphonic power metal but also features many brushes with pure European folk music most obvious on tracks like "The Village Of Dwarves" and while not quite as metallic as, say, Ensiferum or Korpiklaani, still packs a power metal punch at key moments but are heavily dependent on violin and flute sounds.

For the most part, RHAPSODY heeded the criticism of the band's debut when it allowed sprawling symphonic parts to carry on with no metal bombast. DAWN OF VICTORY continues this correction that was achieved on "Symphony Of Enchantment" and continues to keep an extremely fast power metal guitar rampage throughout most of the album with only the lesser folk focused tracks deviating from the formula. While it's not obvious, DAWN OF VICTORY also saw the debut of Alex Holzwarth as the new drummer but the style is so similar and in line with the musical deliveries that there are really no idiosyncratically stylistic changes that will give him away as a newbie as his percussive precision is as top notch as all of the other musicians involved in this fascinating project.

I can understand why this style of metal is considered too cheesy and over-the-top for some however the classical underpinnings keep this a highly melodic adventure with the metal emphasis keeping it in the head banging zone. Fabio Lione's vocals are absolutely perfect for this operatic tale of fantasy worlds and the mix of keyboards and guitars ensures an interesting mix of metal bombast and atmospheric emotional tugs. While most tracks hover around the four to six minute range, the finale "The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord" charges its way up past the nine minute mark and offers one of the most progressive and diverse tracks as it narrates the final chapter in this musical tome of the series. The track is also probably the most successful at summing up the many stylistic shifts of the album as it displays both the symphonic power metal and folk aspects in tandem.

While not substantially different from the previous albums, RHAPSODY does a good job at mixing things up just enough to sounds like its retreading previous musical explorations. For example there are always new approaches to riffs which are mostly crafted through time signatures, riffing styles and dynamic shifts otherwise the folk, classical and power metal elements remain staunchly in place. With music this beautifully designed it's hard not to love the hell out of it and when thought of as merely phase 3 in the 5 part series, it would be a disservice to deviate too far too fast from the formulaic approach. RHAPSODY is one of the most consistent bands in power metal and the third album DAWN OF VICTORY does not disappoint in that regard one little bit.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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