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Rhapsody (of Fire) - Symphony of Enchanted Lands CD (album) cover


Rhapsody (of Fire)


Progressive Metal

3.75 | 139 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The good, the bad, and the Rhapsody

Rhapsody's second album is nothing more (or indeed less!) than a straight continuation of their first. If like me, you enjoyed the completely over the top pomposity of the first album "Legendary tales", then you are in for a further treat here. "Symphony of enchanted lands" continues the telling of "THE CHRONICLES OF ALGALORD - The Emerald Sword Saga", a story steeped in mythology, heroic battles, and epic fantasy. By this time, we have a hero whose quest we follow as he tries to find the hidden keys which will unlock the Ivory Gates. Somewhere behind these gates is an Emerald sword which will help our hero to restore peace and harmony to the land. While all this is going on, the combined forces of the good guys are fighting an ongoing war against evil forces.

The Chronicles story, and indeed all the lyrics, come from the imaginative and fertile mind of guitarist Lucca Turilli. Had he not been blessed with such musical talent, he would surely have found success as an author. Turilli denies any influence from the "Lord of the rings" books, claiming that he seldom reads. He does however cite Hollywood movies as a major influence, hence the "Epic Hollywood symphonic metal" tag.

The songs on these "Chronicles series" albums do not so much tell the story, as paint pictures to accompany it. While the music superbly reflects the atmosphere of the tale, the rather phonetic delivery of the lyrics makes reference to the story and the lyric sheet essential in order to enjoy the full experience. The tale alone is worth the price of admission!

After the brief operatic opening of "Epicus Furor" we segue straight into the truly magnificent "Emerald sword". This track demands to be played with the volume at eleven, the double speed drums driving incessantly behind one of the most remarkable pieces of symphonic prog metal I have heard. It's the magnificently infectious choruses which grab you here as the all male choir run up and down the scales in true macho fashion. I defy anyone not to sing along at the top of your voice while making suitable arm waving gestures!

The album has its fair share of similar tracks ("Wisdom of the kings", "Riding the winds of eternity", "Eternal glory" etc,), all of which have impossibly fast guitar work, layers of synthesisers, bombastic orchestras and choirs, and soaring choruses. There are however other more diverse pieces. "Heroes of the lost valley" has a folky, medieval feel, and "Wings of destiny" is a delicate ballad, with soft vocals.

Several of the tracks have reasonably complex structures. "Eternal glory" moves from a brief narrated opening through trumpet sounding synths and snare drums to double speed bass drums, then a soaring chorus leading to a violin backed soft vocal section, and a symphonic conclusion. "Beyond the gates of infinity" has echoes of Dream Theater with constant time changes, and a superb synth solo.

The album closes with the epic 13 minute title track. Here the band bring together all their many influences as they move through soft passages, symphonic orchestration, folk music, and of course metallic guitar riffs. This is by far the band's more ambitious track to date and while they largely pull it off, for all its length it is not the best track on the album.

In all, Symphony of enchanted lands" is a highly polished and accomplished album. It finds the band pushing even further into their own unique territory, with stunning combinations of prog metal and symphonic orchestration. Highly recommended.

The story continues on Rhapsody's third album, "Dawn of victory".

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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