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Rhapsody (of Fire)

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Rhapsody (of Fire) Legendary Tales album cover
3.74 | 139 ratings | 16 reviews | 34% 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

(139 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) Legendary Tales reviews

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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 "Legendary Tales" is the debut full-length studio album by Italian power metal act Rhapsody (later Rhapsody of Fire as they had to change their name due to copyright issues). The album was released through Limb Music in October 1997. The band formed in 1993 under the Thundercross monicker but changed their name to Rhapsody in 1995. They released the "Eternal Glory" demo in 1995, which led to their label deal with Limb Music. "Warrior Of Ice" and "Land Of Immortals" are featured on both "Eternal Glory (1995)" and on "Legendary Tales". The two demo tracks "Invernal Fury" and "Alive and Proud" were also re-recorded and included on "Legendary Tales", but was given new titles ("Rage of the Winter" and "Lord of the Thunder", respectively). Other than those re-recordings from the demo "Legendary Tales" only features freshly written original material.

Stylistically Rhapsody play a symphonic European power metal style, which at its core is greatly influenced by the 1980s German power metal scene (and late 80s Helloween in particular), but expands on that sound with omnipresent symphonic and neo-classical influenced keyboards and choirs. It can get quite epic at times, but also very pompous and more than a little cheesy. "Legendary Tales" is the first album in a long line of releases from Rhapsody featuring the concept fantasy saga of the Emerald Sword. I wonīt go into details about the lyrical concept, but just tell you that you get exactly what you expect from such a story (heroes, magic, and all...).

The sound production is handled by the legendary producer team of Sascha Paeth and Miro (Avantasia, Angra, Gamma Ray, Heavens Gate...etc.) and not surprisingly "Legendary Tales" is a very well produced release. Paeth also plays session bass on the album. The musicianship is generally strong and keyboard player Alex Staropoli and guitarist Luca Turilli compete for the listenerīs attention throughout the album. One jaw-dropping guitar solo, intricate heavy/power metal riff follows the one before, and the keyboard playing follows suit. The drumming by Daniele Carbonera is varied and powerful, and lead vocalist Fabio Lione has a strong voice and a passionate delivery (itīs a little like listening to a power metal version of Dream Theaterīs James LaBrie) and his Italian accent is tolerable (some may even find it charming).

"Legendary Tales" opens with the short classical intro piece "Ira Tenax", which builds tension and an epic atmosphere before giving way to the powerful bombast of "Warrior Of Ice", which is a song where Rhapsody show all their talents for composing and playing powerful symphonic power metal. Itīs a varied and relatively complex track, while still being catchy, melodic, and well structured. The album continues with "Rage Of The Winter", which is arguably another highlight of the album, featuring an almost progressive leaning middle section which some very impressive guitar work. "Forest Of Unicorns" takes the listener on an epic acoustic folk fantasy journey, and while it certainly borders cheesy territory, itīs quite the beautiful and well composed track.

After that the album continues like this and shifts between energetic Euro power metal, symphonic parts, and folk sections, closing with the epic mid-paced and heavy title track (other highlights include "Flames Of Revenge", "Land Of Immortals", and "Lord Of The Thunder"). The quiet folky parts arenīt dominating the album and thatīs a good choice, because while they work fine as variation, they are the least interesting part of the album. Rhapsody are strongest when they play their fastests and most heavy parts (and dip their toes in progressive songwriting), and least interesting when they take the tempo down and play more mellow parts.

"Legendary Tales" is an exceptional debut album by Rhapsody, featuring an incredibly well sounding production job, which is detailed, powerful, and not too polished (which happens too often in this genre), high level musicianship on all posts, and very intriguing and varied songwriting. In other words a high quality release on all parameters. If you canīt stomach bombast and epic symphonic power metal songwriting and concepts, this may not be your poison, but to those who can, this is a highly recommendable release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

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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