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

DAWN OF VICTORY

Rhapsody (of Fire)

 

Progressive Metal

3.73 | 76 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The beautiful princess is kidnapped!

Q - What do Rhapsody and Tangerine Dream have in common?

A - After reviewing a few of their albums it becomes more and more difficult to say anything new about them. Both bands are masters of their chosen (and admittedly very different) crafts, and both stick closely to what they are good at.

So with "Dawn of Victory", we venture into Rhapsody's world of "Symphonic epic Hollywood metal" again, for their third album of wonderfully bombastic music.

For those who have followed my reviews of Rhapsody to date, "Dawn of victory" continues the wonderful "CHRONICLES OF ALGALORD - The Emerald Sword Saga" which began with their first album "Legendary tales", and continued through "Symphony of enchanted lands". In this, part three of the four part tale, the wizard Aresius of Elgard continues to tell the story in his distinctive, sometimes colloquial way.

By now, our Nordic hero, known only as "The warrior of ice", has tamed a mighty dragon by sparing its life, found the keys for the Ivory Gates, and recovered the Emerald Sword. The sword (as you will recall!), holds the key to peace in the trouble lands of Algalord. Things of course do not go smoothly, and wouldn't you just know it, a beautiful princess along with a number of heroic knights, is kidnapped from the Enchanted Lands by the bad guys. The ransom for their release is none other than the Emerald Sword (sharp intake of breath now!). While until now, the story has been one of heroics and triumph in the face of adversity, "Dawn of victory", despite its title, finds things taking a much darker, and more disturbing turn.

Musically, "Dawn of victory" is slightly stripped down compared to its predecessors. The anthemic choruses and mighty choirs are still there, but the orchestration has been kept in check, the album having more of a metallic rock feel. Things get off to the by now usual start with a brief opening operatic male vocal anthem, which builds quickly to a climactic crescendo, then bursts into the title track. The track "Dawn of victory" is right up there with Rhapsody's finest. Driven along by double speed drumming, the vocals vary between super-fast verses, and slower, mighty choruses. The minimal orchestration is noticeable, but does not detract from the highly infectious chorale of the choruses. A truly magnificent opener.

There are plenty more of the traditional Rhapsody tracks such as "Triumph for My Magic Steel ", "Dargor - Shadowlord of the Black Mountain", and "Holy thunderforce" (the titles tell you all you need to know) all with driving beats, soaring choruses, and excellent guitar solos.

There are though, also some interestingly different songs. "The Village of Dwarves" brings the band's traditional folk influences to the fore. After a female vocal start with soft bird sounds, a Celtic pipes sound bursts in, and we are treated to a gypsy camp fire type song which might be taken from an old musical film. "The Bloody Rage of the Titans" opens as a ballad, with piano and superb soaring vocals, supported by the choir. The track has a progressive structure, moving through a folk dance and some excellent waltz like guitar work. There are similarities in places with Guns 'n' Roses "November rain", the pace being majestic without the double beat drumming of other tracks. "Trolls in the Dark" is a brief guitar instrumental introduced by an effective child vocal accompanied by baroque recorder.

The album closes with the epic track "The Mighty Ride of the Firelord" clocking in at over 9 minutes. After a dramatic intro which might have come straight from the orchestral score to a horror movie, the band throw everything into the pot one last time, with mixed choirs, guitar breaks, sweeping violin, and narration all building towards the grand ending.

In all, Rhapsody's third album finds the band altering the controls slightly, but creating an album which follows on perfectly from those which went before. While the orchestration is not as significant this time, this is more than compensated for by the strength of the melodies. A fine album indeed, with the usual excellent packaging.

The story continues with Rhapsody's fourth full album "Power of the dragonflame".

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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