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Rhapsody (of Fire) - Ascending to Infinity (Luca Turilli's Rhapsody) CD (album) cover


Rhapsody (of Fire)


Progressive Metal

3.67 | 41 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars No more tales, but two Rhapsodies

Even before the release of "From chaos to eternity", the final album in the epic "Chronicles of Algalord" series, it was announced that Luca Turilli would be leaving Rhapsody of Fire. Great play was made of the fact that the split was amicable, and agreement was reached that both Turilli and co-founder Alex Staropoli would retain the right to use the Rhapsody name. For legal reasons of course, neither party can actually use the name Rhapsody, so Staropoli retained the Rhapsody of Fire title while Turilli formed a new band under the name Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. We therefore now have a situation similar to that of Barclay James Harvest and Wishbone Ash (and probably what Roger Waters wishes he had done!) where two variants of the band co-exist.

Two other members of Rhapsody of Fire (guitarist Dominique Leurquin and bassist Patrice Guers) moved on with Turilli while drummer Alex Holzwarth initially remained in both bands and plays on this album. It has since been recognised that this arrangement was impractical, so Holzwarth has committed to Rhapsody of Fire (where his brother is also a member) and ex-Statovarius drummer Alex Landenburg has joined Turilli. The line up is completed by new vocalist Alessandro Conti, a trained tenor.

Turilli is adamant that this new release forms the 11th studio album by Rhapsody. It is not a solo album, although he once again is the principal composer, and it is intended to retain the "Film score metal" tenets which prevailed on previous albums while moving on from the fantasy tales on which they were based. There is a loose concept running through this album, with the tracks "Quantum x", "Ascending to infinity", "Dark fate of Atlantis and "Of Michael the archangel and Lucifer's fall" all being "part of a concept related with the theories of the multiversum, the secrets of the Kabbalah and the genetics of human beings". This is though essentially a collection of songs intended to stand in their own right and as such represents a unique Rhapsody album.

That said, in musical terms Turilli stays loyal to all that fans of the band expect. The majestic choirs, the sweeping orchestral passages and the supremely melodic hooks are all as prevalent as they have ever been.

The opening "Quantum X" is slightly less symphonic than the usual Rhapsody opener, with an underlying Eastern feel, but the massed chorale and frantic orchestration reassure us that this is indeed a Rhapsody album. The track acts as a prelude to the title song, a number which musically could have been extracted from any of the previous albums. Conti's voice is similar to that of Fabio Lione, although he can reach higher notes thus adding more drama to the sublime choruses.

Thereafter we have a collection of songs to delight fans of the band who might have thought the party was over. There are no surprises as such, the music is pure Rhapsody throughout.

Other highlights include the 8 minute "Excalibur" which examines the mystique surrounding the weapon rather than the story. Here again, the Hollywood metal on which the brand is founded provides the basis for an piece of epic proportions. At time of writing, "Dark fate of Atlantis" is available as free download from the band's website. As the title might imply, it has the feel of an aquatic "Chronicles of Algalord" track, Turilli's under recognised guitar- work being a feature of the song. "Luna" is quite different to the rest of the album, as it features a male/female vocal duet. The song is a magnificent quasi-operatic ballad which allows Conti do reveal the full extent of his classical background.

The album concludes with the 16 minute, three part "Of Michael The Archangel And Lucifer's Fall", a suite which Turilli claims is one of his best ever compositions. It includes "scientific, esoteric, and religious aspects". While Christopher Lee does not appear on the album, we still have the occasional Lee sounding spoken word such as that which introduces this piece. The three parts which make up the whole contain everything we have come to expect from one of Rhapsody's long numbers. As ever, there is no room of experimentation or improvisation, the arrangement is as tight as every other track. There are though even bigger climaxes, grander orchestrations, and more pompous chorales. It is certainly an impressive finale, and one which will delight those who subscribe to the Rhapsody ethic.

Overall, "Ascending to infinity" is a fine way for the Rhapsody name to be carried forward. While being an obvious new beginning, the album and the band remain loyal to all that has brought us to this point. It will be interesting to see what comes from the other Rhapsody camp who, as Turilli magnanimously suggests, will also be releasing the eleventh Rhapsody album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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