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Rhapsody (of Fire)

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Rhapsody (of Fire) Legendary Tales album cover
3.74 | 137 ratings | 16 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ira Tenax (1:13)
2. Warrior of Ice (5:58)
3. Rage of the Winter (6:10)
4. Forest of Unicorns (3:23)
5. Flames of Revenge (5:32)
6. Virgin Skies (1:22)
7. Land of Immortals (4:49)
8. Echoes of Tragedy (3:32)
9. Lord of the Thunder (5:32)
10. Legendary Tales (7:50)

Total Time 45:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Fabio Lione / vocals
- Sasha Paeth / bass, acoustic guitars & mandolin
- Luca Turilli / guitars
- Daniele Carbonera / drums
- Alex Staropoli / keyboards
- Robert Hunecke / bass
- Manuel Staropoli / baroque recorder
- Thomas Rettke, Cinzia Rizzo / backing vocals
- Anne Schnyder / lead violin

+ Choir of Immortals:
- Thomas Rettke, Robert Hunecke, Miro, Wolfgang Herbst, Ricky Rizzo, Fabio Lione, Luca Turilli, Alex Staropoli, Cinzia Rizzo, Tatiana Bloch
+ Strings ensemble:
- Anne Schnyder & Helia Davis / violins
- Oliver Kopf / violas
- Paul F. Böhnke / cello
- André Neygenfind / contrabass

Releases information

CD Limb Music Products #LMP 9710 001

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) Legendary Tales ratings distribution

(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) Legendary Tales reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars As I have commented in my previous reviews about this band, this is the first one of TRILOGY albums that this band has produced. As debut album and also one of the trilogy, this is a great album. Yes, some of you may disagree why this band is categorized under prog as this group is in the vein of power metal band wagon. Hold your thoughts for a second. This band has pushed forward the boundary of power metal music pioneered by Germany's HELLOWEEN with their seminal work "Keeper of the Seven Keys 1 & 2". The tagline rhythm is definitely a power metal vein as you may find the double-bass drumming style with speed tempo. But, this band is different with other power metal bands. It has a mixture of classical music with great orchestration, rock as well as metal. The other thing that differentiates with others are their structural composition where they always put string arrangements in some segments of their music especially during transitions from one melody to another. In my view, the ability to create such smooth transitions between melodies is a critical for a musician to be categorized in prog basket. Rhapsody does it really well. So, they are prog to the corner!

As usual, this album is opened by a choir in a church style of singing "Ira Tenax" that sets the overall tone of the album. Observe the opening organ sound that of similar with Rick Wakeman's style! The opening track flows seamlessly to first energetic track "Warrior Of Ice" sung altogether with choirs at beginning of the track. When we enter the body of music, it's clear that there is a balance combination of string arrangements with accompanying power metal rhythm at back ground. There are some breaks with great string composition using violin and cellos in classical music touch. I personally love these breaks with violin / cellos songs as the melody is really nice and sweet.

The third track "Rage Of The Winter" is opened with an ambient keyboard sound accompanied by a choir at background. It then flows to power metal music with frequent "classical" breaks. Very nice. The inclusion of acoustic guitar in metal vein makes this track wonderful. The organ / keyboard sound at some transitions are also great, followed by electric guitar solo. The two instruments then blend together in perfect melody and has produced a fantastic harmony! You may observe frequent shifting tempos where the rhythm flows dynamically to set the guitar in for solo and it continues then to string arrangement before it finally the music comes back to its original tagline.

Fourth track "Forest Of Unicorns" is a short track that is one of my favorites because it perfectly combines classical music, traditional (ethnic) music and rock. It opens with a nice classical touch followed by single vocal line by Fabio Lione. At the end of his singing there is a nice part of vocal line sung together with a background of traditional music (Scotland?). No drumming in this track. It's really great composition. It does not require you to be a prog lover to enjoy this track. Anyone would enjoy this track.

The next track "Flames Of Revenge" is almost purely a power metal tune with typical metal double-bass drumming. Compared to previous tracks, this one is rather straight music even though there is a nice classical music in the middle of this track. This part has enriched the track very much. Once the classical touch ends, it continues to short lead guitar solo and then keyboard solo. It then comes back to straight power metal rhythm. It's excellent.

"Echoes Of Tragedy" is a mellow track with a very strong classical music influence. The orchestration is excellent. You should not miss this track! It then goes excellently to an upbeat track "Lord Of The Thunder". What a great flow here!

Friends, I think you should experience yourself with this album as I'm sure that you would not regret purchasing this album. I believe. The rest of tracks are excellent as well; all of them with the same standard. Don't spend your time reading this review, buy the CD now! Once you listen to it, don't forget to write your experience in this page. Overall, this album has a strong songwriting, very tight composition with high standard of structural integrity. Each track is well positioned to tell the whole story of the album. Again, I admire the collaborative work of this album's masterminds: Alex Staropoli, Luca Turili, Sascha Paeth and Miro. All of you are great! Thank you for creating such a wonderful album! Rating 5/5. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Introducing our new hero

Rhapsody make symphonic progressive metal (or symphonic epic Hollywood metal as it says on the label) of the highest quality. Bands like Symphony X and Stratovarius offer a similar style of music, but for me Rhapsody have no equals. This is my sort of music. It is pompous, over the top, perhaps even pretentious, but it's also exciting, original, and most of all loud!

Let me say upfront, this music will not suit many of those who participate in this site, it is not traditional prog. Indeed, the age old debate about whether the music is prog or not will run and run, but for me enough of the ingredients are here. The only thing I would say is that the double speed drums which are often present in prog metal, are very much a part of Rhapsody's sound.

Rhapsody were formed in Italy by guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboard player Alex Staropoli out of the ashes of their former band Thundercross. Turilli was lead vocalist with Thundercross, but Fabio Lione (ex Labyrinth) was brought in to be lead vocalist for Rhapsody. After recording a number of demos, they were signed up by a studio in Germany, where they recorded their first album. The band took several years to reach the point where their debut album was ready to be released, resulting in a piece of work far more accomplished than most bands will manager in their entire careers.

"Legendary Tales", released in 1997 was the first in a planned series of four albums telling a convoluted story. For those who have the interest, the story (THE CHRONICLES OF ALGALORD - The Emerald Sword Saga) is available in all its glory in the booklets accompanying the albums, and also in full on the band's website ( To go into any sort of detail here would take far too long, but the tale is along the lines of a darker "Lord of the rings". It is steeped in Nordic mythology, with good vs. evil, epic journeys and encounters, and blood thirsty battles. There are also clear references to Arthurian legend, with a wizard, a "black king" (knight?) and a place called Ancelot (i.e. Lancelot without the L!) For those familiar with Todd Rundgren's album "Ra", there is a passing similarity in the story with "Singring and the glass guitar".

"Legendary tales" sets the scene, and introduces us to our hero, a formidable Nordic warrior. His twin challenges are to lead a combined army into battle, while simultaneously locating keys which will allow him to gain access to a legendary sword. Legend has it that the sword will bring peace and stability to the troubled lands of Algalord. In terms of a concept, Rhapsody's series of albums are perfect. If only all concept albums were this inspired!

Musically, this is a superb prog rock album. We have the quasi-operatic intro of " Ira Tenax" which bursts straight into the pounding beat of "Warrior of ice". There we find symphonic orchestral breaks, melodic vocals, he-man power choruses, softer passages, orchestra and harpsichord exchanges, fantasy lyrics, and plenty of time changes, all in the first seven minutes!

As the album develops, there are more than the usual (for Rhapsody) soft and quirky sections. The largely acoustic "Forest of unicorns" has some fine delicate singing, with interludes of Steeleye Span like folk. "Virgin skies" is a serene mixture of harpsichord and flute, with some pleasant orchestration, while "Echoes of tragedy" has an anthemic male vocal chorus to complement the soft orchestrated start.

There are of course plenty of the more typical Rhapsody pieces. "Flames of revenge" and "Lord of the thunder" both have fine have examples of the band's superb power choruses. With the distinctive orchestration used by the band, these tracks have the feel of a turbo powered Electric Light Orchestra playing prog based music.

It has to be said that some of the impact of the lyrics can be lost at times through their phonetic rendition, but the accompanying lyric sheet and the website story allow the listener to follow the story with ease (should they be so inclined). Some of the melodies are perhaps not quite as strong as on later albums, and symphonic overtones are relatively subdued. While "Legendary tales" was the band's first album, there isn't really any overriding reason to start here, each album stand up in its own right. It does however represent an excellent first outing for the band, and is highly recommended to those who enjoy symphonic prog metal.

The album is completed by some fine artwork, and a well presented booklet with full lyrics and narrative.

The story continues on Rhapsody's second album, "Symphony of Enchanted lands".

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Does anybody know if these guys are supposed to be a serious band? I’m assuming they are not.

I found this in the overstock bin of a used record store recently, and for $3 USD figured I couldn’t go wrong. This is some of the funniest metal music I’ve ever heard! I would have thought this was another Spinal Tap inspiration, except this album came out at least a decade after Spinal Tap, so maybe the inspiration was the other way around. No matter, the over-the-top lyrics here and some of the grossly pretentious arrangements would cause me to completely dismiss these guys were it not for the fact that most of them appear to actually be pretty good musicians. Drummer Daniele Carbonera especially seems to have a real knack for fast-paced, varied tempos that keep the tracks moving along well, except for a couple like “Forest of Unicorns” which take a bit of a folksy turn.

Singer Fabio Lione sounds like a Latin Ronnie James Dio but without the lower end of a vocal register. Pretty good metal voice actually, and he carries a tune very well.

As near as I can tell the overall ‘theme’ of the album, if there actually is supposed to be one, is a sort of loosely-formed fantasy medieval tale, or maybe more like a screenplay perhaps. Pretty weird I must say.

I really don’t know anything about these guys beyond what’s in the album liner, and since this appears to be a CD reprint there isn’t much. The album is heavy with string arrangements – several violins/violas it sounds like, and mandolin and flute/recorder on a couple of the slower tracks, but mostly this is speed metal with a very light gothic lilt to it and plenty of fast strings, not unlike Stream of Passion or Nightwish, but without the dominant operatic female singer (although there are some female vocals here).

A couple songs like “Lord of the Thunder” have some sporadic tempo changes, mostly in the form of short docile passages surrounded by thunderous metal shredding with string arrangements, while others like “Flames of Revenge” just hit the floor running and don’t let up.

Like I said, I’m not sure these guys are meant to be taken seriously, and if they are then they take themselves way too seriously. But as a speed metal album the guitars are pretty good for the most part, the main male vocalist does a pretty good job of holding a note and not overpowering the instruments, and the orchestral string arrangements definitely add an element of complexity to the music that make it a step or so above your everyday mindless metal. So three stars for talent and effort, and here’s hoping these guys aren’t laughing at any of us who are looking at a lemon pie and praising it as fine art.


Review by andrea
4 stars Rhapsody's music is an interesting mix of strong classical influences and power metal. You can find in their albums echoes of Helloween, Manowar or Blind Guardian blended with baroque music and medieval chants. "One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with age and memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present, like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake." In J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord Of The Rings" one of the characters, used these words to describe his first impression of the Ents. Perhaps use the same words to describe the music of this Italian band from Trieste could be a little bit daring, but I think that it could give you an idea. Lyrics are inspired by a "saga" in "Tolkien's style" and "Legendary Tales" is just the first chapter.

The opener, "Ira tenax" is just a short introduction sung in Latin that reminds of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" and that leads to "Warrior Of Ice", a track where reminiscences of eighties heavy metal (Europe) are intertwined with choirs and baroque strings. "Demons of abyss wail for my pride / On wings of glory I'll fly brave and wild. Fight your holy war / Rise your mighty sword and ride". The following "Rage Of The Winter" is in the same mood, while "The Forest Of Unicorns" comes like the calm after the storm featuring flute and acoustic guitar. "Beware of unholy fire / My guardian of the trees."

The rhythm goes up again with "Flames Of Revenge"; "Virgin Skies" is just a short calm instrumental break featuring flute and harpsichord that leads to the melodic and energetic "Land Of Immortals". The music fluently goes on without boring moments. "Echoes Of Tragedy", "Lord Of The Thunder" and the long final title track are other good examples of the Rhapsody's style. Anyway, in my opinion lyrics are not the strength of the band: the effort to describe the fight of Good against Evil is clumsy and there's an abuse of words like "Pride", "Glory", "Revenge", "Holy war", "Holy blood", "Holy Rage", etc. that nowadays could sound "politically incorrect".

In the whole an excellent debut album, full of freshness and energy, but not a real masterpiece.

Review by russellk
1 stars Cheese. Gouda, edam, cheddar, camembert. Great to eat, but awful to listen to.

I saw the cover of this record, and just had to get a copy. Was the music as *bad* as the cover suggested it might be? Yes, and more! Don't get me wrong, the musicians play well. It's just that every ingredient is maxed out for effect. There's no subtlety, no buildup, no context. Just dive into the sea of cheese, where everything is played at a million miles an hour. Emotional as a buzzsaw and twice as dangerous.

Look, I'd love to think there is some SPINAL TAP thing going on, that this is not supposed to be serious. But, if so, all the more reason to condemn them for taking money from the kids who love the image. And, according to my son, RHAPSODY are not the worst. That honour, he assures me, goes to MANOWAR, who even have a parody band.

Special criticism has to be reserved for the lyrics. Advertised as the first in an ongoing series - akin to the best fantasy novels, so it is said - I discovered special extra cheese instead. 'Land of Immortals' is on as I write this. In the one song we have destiny, brave hearts, dragon's spell, immortals, eternity, the ancient ruins of Kron, holy force of wisdom and an epic holy quest. Oh dear. Enough to give the fantasy genre, already a soft target, a worse name than it has already.

I write fantasy for a living. I work hard within the constraints of the genre to achieve something escapist but meaningful, aware of the genre's antecedents but avoiding being derivative. This stuff, however, calls up every cliche ever created. Of course, cliched genre fantasy has its fans. If you like ever-triumphant, one- dimensional heroes, if your idea of a story is a complete lack of tension, in which females only have large breasts and tiny waists, and males are born with swords in their hands, then this music is for you. Enjoy. And when you grow up, it'll be the sort of thing you'll never admit to doing, along with owning the full set of teletubbies.

Review by 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 I´m 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. It´s 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. It´s 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 it´s 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 can´t 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 Rhapsody´s 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. It´s 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. It´s 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 Rhapsody´s 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 you´ll 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. It´s kind of an epic song and a really great one.

This is an excellent addition in any music collection, even though I don´t 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 you´re curious about Rhapsody, I´ll recommend you´ll try this one as your first.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars First Rhapsody album from 1997. When I bought this album Legendary tales 11 years ago, I had great expectation about this band and album. Everybody said they are in vein with Stratovarius, Time Machine, Yngwie Malmsteen. Well to tell you the truth , Rhapsody have from all this bands influences. At first listen I was not very exciting , but not bored aither, neo classical metal with speedy instrumentation here and there, but also some folk moments. So the music was enjoyble but, i guess I've heared this before. The power metal is combined very well with speed metal and here and there when mood cganges are some folk moments. All pieces has same level, not one in front, so a good album but I don't considering this a s a masterpiece or close. 3 stars I think is fair, anyway the first 2 albums of Rhapsody are the best they ever done, the rest are good but kinda the same to each other, in this genre is hard to evolve.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Baroque

The sheer idea that an Italian Power Metal band could ever capture my attention, let alone win my respect and even admiration, was rather foreign to me before I discovered Rhapsody's 1997 debut Legendary Tales. This proves that having an open mind is important in music. The truth is that Rhapsody is much more than a (sophisticated) European Power Metal band. If one looks beyond the most superficial aspects - like the cover art, song titles, generic genre categorizations etc. - something altogether more interesting, and dare I say progressive, is unveiled. Legendary Tales is heavily rooted in Neo-Classical Metal and it also has many Folk influences. The lyrics are admittedly hard to take seriously, and I have never bothered to get into the story behind the album, but the musicianship is of the highest calibre. Both the instrumental and vocal talents and the compositional skills are highly impressive. I am always worried upon hearing a non- English person singing in English, but I'm happy to hear that there is hardly a trace of Italian accent in the superb vocals of Fabio Lione.

Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force is an obvious influence on Rhapsody, not only in the virtuoso guitar work of Luca Turilli, but also in the equally impressive keyboard work of Alex Staropoli (which is partly similar to that of Rising Force's Jens Johansson). Another aspect heavily inspired by Rising Force is the lovely Baroque interludes. The cautious use of a smaller string ensemble (violin, viola and cello) instead of a full-blown symphonic orchestra keeps the sound from becoming too bombastic. But what makes the music of Rhapsody really stand out for me is the very tasteful use of harpsichord, lead violin, recorder and mandolin, all perfectly incorporated into the arsenal of instruments found in more conventional (Prog) Metal. The use of these unconventional elements gives the music a wonderful medieval feel that is omnipresent. It is not the case that these unusual instruments are used only in interludes between wholly conventional Metal songs - no, they constitute a fully integrated part of Rhapsody's sound. There are also some occasional female backing vocals and male choirs. The key to success here is that keep everything to just the right level, never allowing the sound to become bloated. The end result is a strongly measured album full of drama and excitement without ever sounding overdone.

Another strong characteristic of Legendary Tales is its variation without ever compromising coherence. There is a very good balance between ballads and quieter passages on the one hand and fast paced songs on the other, an equally good balance between acoustic and electric instrumentation and also between vocal and instrumental passages. The songs are full of tempo changes and dazzling twists and turns. The compositions are all strong and there is not a single weak moment. There is a very appealing sense of urgency throughout and they never waste a minute but always get straight to the point.

Many would dismiss this music as cheesy (which I suppose I did myself in the past), but I think that this is done with a certain charm and originality that eliminates that problem on this occasion. Later albums by the band would, however, get things wrong in several ways. Together with Kamelot's The Fourth Legacy and Symphony X's The Divine Wings Of Tragedy, Rhapsody's Legendary Tales is my favourite album this vein and highly impressive in its own right.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Rhapsody's debut album is a skilled blend of power metal and symphonic metal. With Dungeons & Dragons lyrics and riffs reminiscent of Manowar, it's a meatier stew than symphonic metal typically offers, and the occasional outbursts of medieval-ish instrumentation and acoustic interludes are effective when it comes to reinforcing the epic fantasy tone the band strive for. Luca Turilli is the star player here, both in terms of his guitar skills and in conceptualising the Emerald Sword Saga which would form the thematic basis of this and the subsequent brace of Rhapsody albums. A decent enough entry point into the Rhapsody mythos.
Review by Menswear
3 stars Troubadours with leather pants

When it comes to power metal it's like toilet paper: there are fancier ones but they basically do all the same thing.

What makes this album stands out (a bit) is certainly the neo-metallum sauce that sidedishes the concept or swords and dragons. That's what attracted me first, a blend of medieval mood and feisty guitars. And, once again, I think the 80's did it a bit better (and earlier) so I'd check with Odyssey by Malmsteen before, for example. But if you are new to the genre, prepare for a grandiose journey in some faraway land yada yada yada.

Everything is played right on the nuggets: precise guitars and flabbergasting technique of keyboards too. As I said earlier, it's bas basically the same recipe over and over and over again but hey, it sells.

If it's your first experience, it's one heck of a ride and done with astounding technique. If it's not, still enjoyable moderately.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Known as the pioneers of fusing power and symphonic metal into epic fantastical journeys, Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli created their progressive neoclassical driven band all the way back in 1993 in Trieste, Italy under the moniker Thundercross before finally changing it to the more familiar RHAPSODY, only then to be altered once again to RHAPSODY OF FIRE in 2006 due to trademark issues. Really? It took someone ten years to figure out they didn't deserve the name? Geez.

Riding in the wake of power metal bands like Helloween, Running Wild and Blind Guardian, RHAPSODY was all about fantastical voyages into the world of mythical creatures, wily wizards and the eternal battle of good and evil and their debut album LEGENDARY TALES the band began the lengthy and never-ending epic journey into their high fantasy musical world of "The Emerald Sword Saga" which spanned over five albums ending with "Power Of The Dragonflame."

Fantasy and mythology are nothing new in metal of course and traverses throughout the entire metal universe with bands like Summoning devoting their entire subject matter to Tolkien inspired themes. RHAPSODY took a similar approach only changing things around a bit to create their own mystical folklore that finds the similar Middle Earth approach between the battle of good and evil in a glorious bravado.

The album takes the frenetic energy infused riffing of power metal and applies rich symphonic and emotionally dense segments that include flutes, recorders, harpsichord, violins, cello, mandolin and a rich eight piece choir (tagged as the Choir Of Immortals) along with the expected metal instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and classic operatic over-the-top vocals. The sheer scope of the journey is performed with technical wizardry and easily takes the listener to the epic lands far away from the reality we experience in the here and now.

Yeah, power metal can be a bit cheesy at times but when it's done right, it is grand and intense. The problem usually arises in that the band in question doesn't quite have the chops to pull off their visions. RHAPSODY is chock full of virtuosic talent focused on Luca Turilli's speed-drenched guitar wizardry, Alex Staropoli's keyboard gymnastics and excellently constructed compositions that focus on all aspects of the music without any particular style or genre stealing the show. These guys have mastered the art of musical foreplay and climax like few others in the metal world yet deliver all the metal goods in ample doses.

While the metal riffs are primarily based on 80s Manowar taken to more ambitious extremes, the neoclassical solos reminisce of Yngwie Malmsteen's classically charged shred wankery. The keyboards on the other hand exist in a neo-Baroque universe that compliment the guitar segments but often find moments of expressing unadulterated J.S.Bach glory. Mountains of melody emerge through carefully constructed flute and recorders while choirs caress the soundscape with harmonic bliss.

RHAPSODY's debut LEGENDARY TALES truly took metal's most virtuosic and ambitious aspects to new heights with outstanding musical performances within perfectly drawn out journeys that fleshed out emotional depth with a stellar performance by vocalist Fabio Lione whose vocal range shatters glass when on fire and yet carries a perfectly calm demeanor when poetic prose is in order. It's no wonder RHAPSODY has been so successful starting from this not so humble beginning. All the elements have already gelled with the band's vision having been crystal clear by mapping out a complete five part saga for their debut.

The excellent performances are even more stellar with the superb production job from Gate-Studios in Wolfsburg, German with Sascha Paeth of Heaven's Gate and Angra fame at the helm. This is a stunningly rich collection of ten outstanding tracks that contain no samples or synthesizers. All instruments heard are the real deal. While i am blown away by LEGENDARY TALES it falters only in the more tightly composed epics that follow but consistency has been one of RHAPSODY (OF FIRE)'s strengths and this debut is certainly no exception.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Growing up as a metal fan in Italy, it was pretty much impossible to miss the explosion of Italian power metal supernova Rhapsody. It instantly became the biggest and most successful Italian band to be recognized internationally in the genre, and Luca Turilli's face was on the cover of almost every ... (read more)

Report this review (#2736518) | Posted by lukretio | Friday, April 8, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars And so begins the story of the Warrior of ice and the emerald sword, with this album of 1997 of the Italian band Rhapsody, now (rhapsody of fire) and that's due to legal problems. But I will talk about the music of this awesome debut album,that is the approach. the gender of Rhapsody of fire cou ... (read more)

Report this review (#267648) | Posted by JgX 5 | Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Huge point of start from the virtuosos of neo classical metal ! Classical parts perfectly blended with speed metal, perfect chorus and arpeggios and solos, great overall dynamics, etc... Nothing to get rid of in this masterpiece, just pure metallic offerings for any kind of epic and symp ... (read more)

Report this review (#32218) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Two thumbs. That's my impression when hearing legendary tales. Great and talented musicians with great technical capability. Legendary Tales is debut album from Rhapsody, they've shown unique sound. From Ira Tenax (1:13) to Legendary Tales (7:50), Rhapsody combined perfectly speed metal, class ... (read more)

Report this review (#32217) | Posted by torro | Tuesday, February 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you buy any Rhapsody album, buy this one first. Alot of people get put off by their more recent "hollywood metal" albums, as they can admittedly be a bit OTT! But this album is their most raw and excelent effort and displays musicianship well, without being overpowered by too many orchestra ... (read more)

Report this review (#32213) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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