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Rhapsody (of Fire) - Frozen Tears of Angels CD (album) cover


Rhapsody (of Fire)


Progressive Metal

3.76 | 104 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Pack your bags, we are off again!

Having been left hanging on in quiet desperation for some four years, Rhapsody of Fire finally returned in 2010 to continue "The Dark secret saga", this being part 3. This particular story began in 2004 (when the band were simply known as Rhapsody) on the album "Symphony of Enchanted Lands II - The Dark Secret". It continued a couple of years later with "Triumph Or Agony", the first album released under the name Rhapsody of Fire.

When we last heard of the quest of our heroes, they had found the black book written with the blood of angels which contains "The dark secret", an evil prophesy, and things seemed to be going rather well. Fortunately, this is not in fact the case, and the story must continue. The baddies here are the Disciples of the Black Order, who would very much like to get hold of the book and release Nekron's evil, which it contains. The antidote to all this turns out to be, wait for it, a white book(!) written by goodie Erian. Unfortunately, that book is not to hand, and hence another quest must be undertaken to get hold of it before the bad guys.

Christopher Lee once again returns as narrator, the sleeve notes even containing a "costume credit" for him. He is joined by a number of other actors, including a return of the lovely Susannah York, who sadly died as I was writing this review in January 2011, playing Elion. While Lucca Turilli and Alex Staropoli dominate the song writing as usual, Fabio Lione also gets a credit this time.

Musically, the time between the last release and this has been put to good use, the songs here being notably stronger than those on "Triumph or agony". Tracks such as "Reign of terror" take us back to the gloriously over the top choirs and orchestras of the good old days, while contrasting delightfully with the pixie folk of the following "Danza di fuoco e Ghiaccio". With lyrics alternating between English, Italian and possibly Latin, there is a naturally enforced diversity to the vocal styles too.

While a couple of the tracks run to around 7 minutes, the feature track here is the 11 minute closing epic which bears the album's title.

The closing words of the lyric sheet are "To be continued...", indicating that this saga is not yet complete. Indeed, the next full instalment is scheduled for release in Spring 2011.

Once again, the album is presented with a superb booklet containing the story and the lyrics, the artwork being conceived by Turilli and Staropoli and realised by Felipe Machado Franco. The digipak version has two additional tracks. "Labyrinth of madness" opens with a wonderful guitar crescendo, this instrumental track being a vehicle for Luca Turilli to display his lead guitar dexterity. The other bonus track is an orchestral version of the song selected as a single from the album, "Sea of fate". This version is certainly different, being delivered as a majestic ballad.

It is very easy with a band such as Rhapsody of Fire, to visit them superficially and then perceive them as a cheesy prog metal band. To do so is not only self defeating, it is disingenuous to the time and effort they put into crafting their product. The stories alone are works of art which may well at some stage be brought together as cohesive volumes. Admittedly not the stuff of Booker Prizes, but infinitely more readable and enjoyable. The music is composed and performed with great attention to detail, complex choral and orchestral arrangements being paired with supreme melodies and lyrics which complement the stories. The similarity of the albums is the band's strength, they offer a product of unwavering quality and pleasure.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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