Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rhapsody (of Fire) - Dawn of Victory CD (album) cover


Rhapsody (of Fire)


Progressive Metal

3.77 | 113 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars On their third album, Italian power metal masters Rhapsody started to slightly change the formula they had so successfully employed on their previous two records. Legendary Tales and Symphony of Enchanted Lands were remarkably constructed using in equal part heavy doses of neo-classical power metal and elements of Baroque music, opera and epic soundtrack music. It was a mixture that hit the spot, allowing the Italians to carve their own niche as extraordinary bards in the busy world of European power metal.

Dawn of Victory takes one step or two further in the direction of muscle and speed, tilting the scale in favour of metal rather than classical/operatic music. The songs are faster and more centred around guitar riffs than classical orchestrations. The album is also more decidedly electric, as the score of acoustic and classical instruments that had been copiously employed on previous records is considerably reduced here (Baroque recorders and a violin). This switch towards the heavier side of the band's sound partly reflects the development of the storyline that now enters a more bloody and belligerent phase (Dawn of Victory is the third instalment of a multi-album concept about the battle between good and evil in a Tolkienesque fantasy world). However, I also suspect that their first tour experience in 2000 may have also played a role, as the band probably realized that the incredibly nuanced and multi-layered studio compositions of the first two albums were incredibly hard to reproduce live. The songs written for Dawn of Victory are more direct, aggressive and metallized compared to the previous two records, and I can imagine they would have been much more impactful in a live setting.

The quality of the music remains high. Luca Turilli's fast-as-lightning guitar riffs and neoclassical melodic leads drive the songs, with Alex Staropoli taking the role of co-lead and throwing in a few excellent keyboard solos. The rhythmic section is powerful and relentless, and the work of drummer Thunderforce is particularly impressive (the band never revealed the identity of Thunderforce and some even think the drum parts were actually programmed ? either way the drums are on fire on this record). Fabio Lione confirms his status as one of the best singers in the genre, with a dramatic and operatic voice that can hit high notes but also transmit emotions and feelings.

The tracklist is consistently good, making this one of my favourite Rhapsody albums to play. There are still a couple of songs that stand out for me and are among my favourite from the band. The title-track is an epic monster with one of the best power metal choruses I ever heard. "The Bloody Rage of the Titans" starts as a ballad with piano and vocals and then develops in a fantastic mid-tempo with strong cinematic vibes and again an excellent chorus. "Dargor Shadowlord of the Black Mountain" and the single "Holy Thunderforce" are also remarkable especially for their thunderous pace and trailblazing guitar riffs. The lengthy closing piece "The Mighty Ride of the Firelord" is intended to bring the album to an epic finale, but is actually where Rhapsody show their compositional limits as the track feels more like two songs stitched together than a well-structured, multi-part composition. I also have to subtract points for the general silliness of the concept and sappiness of the lyrics. The stories of dragons, princesses and knights are a trademark of the genre, but they have been told in much more convincing ways by other bands than Rhapsody.

Nevertheless, Dawn of Victory is a fun record to listen to, and feels fresh and spontaneous, which is a blessing after the slightly deflated and overproduced Symphony of Enchanted Lands. It marks a transition for Rhapsody music towards a more standard power metal sound where the patterns and instrumentation of Baroque music play a lesser role than in the previous albums. The band will further continue in this direction on the following records, further reducing Rhapsody's uniqueness in the power metal scene. Fortunately, Dawn of Victory is just on the right side of this transition, which makes it one of my favourite Rhapsody albums to date.

lukretio | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.