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Rhapsody (of Fire) - Power of the Dragonflame  CD (album) cover


Rhapsody (of Fire)

Progressive Metal

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4 stars A very pleasant LP. Ok, I've always found Rhapsody's first two LPs superior but I have to recognize that the anthems "à la Rhapsody" are still present ( "Knightriders of doom" and the powerful and energizing "Agony is my Name", for instance). And I will never forget the climax of this LP, i.e the hugely impressive Luca Turilli's guitar solo in the last track which proves his place among the best guitarists of nowadays metal and is one of my favourite soli of all time.
Report this review (#32267)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm not really one to understand the widespread fascination with Rhapsody - I'll admit that occasionally they have their charm, and some pretty fast licks, but that is only what you'll see on your first impression.. I challenge Rhapsody fans to listen a little more closely to their music, because, as much as i hate to use this generalisation, but it all sounds the same. It's the same recycled rifting over and over and over, and i dont mean in a progressive way, but many of their songs actually sound close to identical. It bores me, and this album is no exception.

Rhapsody hasnt really come up with anything new with this album, recycling old riffs from their past albums, mixing them in a blender, and trying to pass it off as anything new or original..

To be fair, the album has its moments, but thats all they are, and you will tire of it quickly.. I feel that this album is just further lengthening the gap between what was once power metal, and the silly repetitive ballads that make up the better part of the genre today.

Those itching for a power metal fix should probably go with something a bit more traditional along the lines of blind guardian/iced earth or their new combined demons & wizards albums, and give this release a wide berth.

Report this review (#32270)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A tale of the dead. and the living dead!

Discounting the interim release "Rain of a thousand flames" (although musically there is little reason to do so), "Power of the Dragon Flame" was Rhapsody's fourth and final element in their "CHRONICLES OF ALGALORD - The Emerald Sword Saga". For those who have followed the story so far, things are not going so well. Our hero, the Warrior of Ice, is physically and mentally scarred by his experiences, but must continue his quest to regain the Emerald Sword. Things are not helped by the fact that the living dead have now been released! While there is of course a happy ending, there are plenty more twists and turns along the way, including the death of some significant characters.

Whether you chose to start here with Rhapsody, or with any of the previous albums, what you will find will be essentially the same, and you will either like it or loathe it!

As usual, the album opens with a brief introductory fanfare in the form of "In tenebris", which quickly plunges straight into the frantic Epic Symphonic Hollywood metal (as the sticker on the box likes to describe it) of "Knightrider of doom". "Knightrider.. " is typical of many of Rhapsody's songs with an up-and-down-the-scales sing-a-long chorus. Indeed, the following (title) track is a direct continuation. Rhapsody could easily be accused of going to the well once too often, and indeed they do tend to plagiarise themselves quite regularly (The chorus of "The march of the swordmaster" here is almost identical to "Village of dwarves" from "Dawn of victory") , but the music on each album is so well composed and produced that such criticism would be churlish.

Once again, as on the previous album, the orchestration is less to the fore than on the first two albums, with a slightly rawer feel to the music. There is of course the usual diversity to the album which critics of the band so often overlook. " Lamento Eroico" is a stunningly beautiful ballad, sung unusually for the band despite their nationality, in Italian. The fine vocal is complemented by some excellent piano. " When Demons Awake" has some death metal like verses which call and answer, although the chorus is reassuringly anthemic. "Agony is my name" includes some female operatic vocals and some great guitar work, with the double paced drums being interrupted from time to time by brief quieter passages. It is a truly awesome track. "Steelgods of the Last Apocalypse" includes an interesting synth and guitar duet.

The albums closes with the ambitious 19 minute track "Gargoyles, Angels of Darkness". The track opens with a couple of soft classical guitar pieces, the first being written and performed by Rhapsody producer Sascha Paeth. The second, written by Luca Turilli and performed by Johannes Monno has a haunting female vocal accompaniment. The track then moves through a number of phases in true prog fashion, with some (unintentionally) amusing narration, and powerful choral sections. One again, the orchestration is less obvious, but the track climaxes with a with mighty vocals and anthemic choruses, reflecting the positive outcome to the story. The track closes with a reprise of the opening track, "In tenebris". While its good to see Rhapsody pushing their own boundaries, the track is perhaps rather over ambitious, and doesn't entirely work.

It is easy with Rhapsody's album to overlook the folk and classical influences on their music. When asked, guitarist and co-main composer Luca Turilli cited Vivaldi and Paganini as his main classical influences. The significance of the ongoing story line too, should not be underestimated. Many people will simply listen to the albums, without taking the time to extract the full benefit by understanding the ongoing concept. While the lyrics of the songs attempt to reflect the tale, the phonetic delivery of the lyrics can make it difficult at times to follow. Thankfully, the wonderfully illustrated booklets which accompany the albums include extensive narratives and Tolkien like maps together with superb artwork, which all serve to complete the picture.

And so at last, after four magnificent albums, this epic saga is drawn to a close.

Report this review (#38955)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rhapsody, the Hollywood Metal warrior from Italy came back with their full length album "Power of the Dragonflame" which comprises epic and fantasy in a power metal music with orchestral arrangement. The mastermind is still two gentlemen: guitarist Luca Turili and keyboardist Alex Staropoli. They continued the saga of Algalord through a grand conceptual story that seems to be pretentious. Well, you might say that this is a progressive metal album with real symphony orchestra which reminds us to the Lord of The Rings movie. The album would definitely favor metal heads as well as those who like Nightwish, Symphony X, Dream Theater, etc.

The album starts off with the orchestral instrumental "In Tenebris" that brings the music into a familiar speed-metal vein and the exuberant title track. Lead vocalist Fabio Leone's voice seems getting better with each release even though in some parts his voice is overwhelmed by the choirs. However his style matches quite well with the massive choirs on "The March of the Swordmaster." In "When Demons Awake" the band goes into almost technical thrash metal, augmented with symphonic keyboards and multi-layer vocals. Turilli and Staropoli demonstrate themselves as a formidable duo on this track, combining in alternate guitar and synthesizer solos. Flutes, recorders, and violins dominate their presence on "Agony is My Name", a complex music that tells the story about Algalord's concept for revenge and death.

The music moves into quieter passages for "Lamento Eroico", as the name implies it sung in poignant Italian by Leone and accompanied by piano work by Staropoli. The band then brings us into an orchestral part in relatively complex arrangement in "Steelgods of the Last Apocalypse". As "The Pride of the Tyrant" being played it reminds me to the obvious influence of Yngwie Malmsteen to the band. The nineteen - minute epic "Gargoyles, Angels of Darkness" starts off with wonderful acoustic guitar work. This might be the grandiose work the band tries to do that may fit the end of Algalord chronicles. Broken into three parts, this epic brings the music into slower tempo up a bit that features heavy guitar riffs and grooves.

Even though this album is not bad at all but I still personally prefer the band's first three albums: "Legendary Tales", "Symphony of Enchanted Lands" and "Dawn of Victory". The only weak point this album has is too much choirs instead of Fabio Leone's voice. It's probably production issue as the choirs really dominate everything as if there is no accompanying music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild. GW

Report this review (#42004)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's just impressive the that Rhapsody conduces their music. From album to album they get better and better. But it's on Power of the Dragonflame they reach quite perfection. I think this kind of music doesn't have that simple combination of all prog music in general "guitar- bass-drum-keyboard-and-another-strange-kind-of-instrument". It's a combination quite perfect of an epic orchestra with true heavy metal metal band. Man, if you listen to Knightrider of Doom and don't feel inspired to do any thing, you realy need a doctor.
Report this review (#46538)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hella annoying singing...nothing special just more fast musicians going on about pointless's good only because these musicians have skill.. GOD i don't even know if i want to give them a 3 maybe that's too much; some songs are Okay, but generally after the 2nd time you've listened to this its just a pain in the rear end...if your hardcore prog fan get it and make your own descions, but as for me i would probably pass or get it from a buddy like i did.
Report this review (#118060)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars RHAPSODY OF FIRE is of course a very talented and unique band in the prog metal circles but after the previous 4-5 albums they sound quite boring.In this album they continue to play their neo-classical orchestrated prog/power metal but in my opinion they are oversaturrated and uninspired.You think that have heard every song of the album in a previous one.Better avoid it...
Report this review (#146421)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Power of the Dragonflame is the fifth studio album ( if you include Rain of a Thousand Flames) from Italian Symphonic power metal band Rhapsody. There are no surprises on the album as Rhapsody continues the style they have been playing since their first album.

The music on Power of the Dragonflame is generally fast paced euro power metal with lots of symphonic orchestral keyboard parts which is no surprise if you have heard the first four albums from the band. Personally I remember this one as more orchestral but listening to this again after a couple of years really showed me that Rhapsody hadn´t changed much. Songs like Knightrider of Doom, Power of the Dragonflame and Agony Is My Name are classic fast paced songs while there are also more mid paced songs like The March of the Swordmaster and parts of the long epic Garoyles, Angels of Darkness: Angeli Di... Garoyles, Angels of Darkness: Angeli Di... with it´s 19:02 minutes is the most innovative song on the album and really the only song which sounds a bit different from what Rhapsody have already done. It´s a great idea with a long epic but I must admit that I find it a bit trivial. A song like Lamento Eroico is the kind of serious epic choir arranged song that Rhapsody also does sometimes. Pretty impressive but again they´ve done it before.

The musicianship is as always really excellent. It has really boosted their sound with the addition of Alex Holzwarth ( Sieges Even) on drums. The soloing from Luca Turilli isn´t as excessive as it was on the two first albums which to me as a guitarist is a real shame.

The production is very good. Typical Sacha Paeth and Miro sound.

The cover artwork is only something a fantasy fan can be impressed by. Of course the cover suits the story line but IMO that storyline has never been very good and after this many albums maybe it´s time to change the course just a bit ? Well Rhapsody obviously don't agree and their real fans probably don´t agree as well. At this time I´m just so tired of the fantasy image, that I would like to see a change.

As such Power of the Dragonflame is as good as the previous albums but you have to admit that the music is by now pretty generic. Some of the songs here on Power of the Dragonflame sounds exactly like songs from the previous albums and I was actually in doubt if those songs where re-recorded for this album. Had I listened to this album as my first Rhapsody album I would easily have given it a 4 star rating, but as the lack of innovation is a problem for me I´ll only give this one a 3 star rating.

Report this review (#177021)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars mmm....very low raiting i see here..very strange,this album is the final part of the saga of the warrior of ice and the emerald sword... very tragic....!!!with this album we have more agressive parts,more metal,and the same time more symphonic,you hace to liten to the last son garoyles,angels of darknessthe intro is very nice like a flamenco style,very good performance!and then beggins the hole music and instruments,so this is a long song,with a very epic lyrics,as well,in fact.the voice of fabio on this one is amazing..and the music is awesome,so there is a part when luca take the guitar and plays very fast !,oh my god,that is Insane..

So i think that this album hace very nice tracks,is truth,they change,this is more dark...but,that the frecuency of the tale,the final battle,the end of a great history..

I enjoy a lot this album..i never get bored with this amazing add another half star to this..


Report this review (#200604)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Emerald Sword Saga comes to a valiant conclusion on Rhapsody's Power of the Dragonflame, as the band roll out an album which touches on all the different styles they'd tried out in the preceding episodes. If you have listened to the earlier chapters then by now you should know whether you like or loathe Rhapsody and their "everything crazier than everything else" approach - and if you like them, this won't disappoint one bit. Indeed, with the band apparently trying to take a slightly more measured and subtle approach with the sequel saga (The Dark Secret series, starting with Symphony of Enchanted Lands II) this album marks the end of the bombastic, over-the-top first phase of Rhapsody.
Report this review (#1025535)
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 | Review Permalink

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