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Rhapsody (of Fire)

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Rhapsody (of Fire) Triumph or Agony album cover
3.60 | 85 ratings | 9 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dar-Kunor (3:13) :
- i) Echoes from the Elvish Woods
- ii) Fear of the Dungeons
2. Triumph or Agony (5:02)
3. Heart of the Darklands (4:10)
4. Old Age of Wonders (4:35)
5. The Myth of the Holy Sword (5:03)
6. Il Canto Del Vento (3:54)
7. Silent Dream (3:50)
8. Bloody Red Dungeons (5:11)
9. Son of Pain (4:43)
10. The Mystic Prophecy of the Demonknight (16:26) :
- i) A New Saga Begins
- ii) Through the Portals of Agony
- iii) The Black Order
- iv) Nekron's Bloody Rhymes
- v) Escape from Horror
11. Dark Reign of Fire (6:26) :
- i) Winter Dawn's Theme

Total Time 62:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Alex Staropoli / keyboards, harpsichord, piano
- Luca Turilli / guitars
- Fabio Lione / vocals
- Patrice Guers / bass
- Alex Holzwarth / drums

Releases information

CD Magic Circle Music (2006)

Thanks to dr4wazo for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) Triumph or Agony ratings distribution

(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) Triumph or Agony reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "The evil forces are planning the worst act in the history of these lands"

Having rather embarrassingly had to change their name for copyright reasons, Rhapsody become Rhapsody of Fire in 2006 and released their first album under that name. The name may have changed, but reassuringly, the music has not. The opening symphonic, choral and operatic majesty of the two part "Dar-Kunor" immediately tell us that this is business as usual.

This album continues "The dark secret" saga which began on the previous album. This is the second epic tale told in serial format by the band, but is very much a continuation of the first. The usual combination of elves, dark forces and heroes combine to further the "Lord of the rings" type adventure. Here, our hero Khaas and various aides are embarked on a quest to locate a black book written with the blood of angels which contains "The dark secret", an evil prophesy.

For some reason, the first part of the album concentrates on a retrospective, recounting the "Legend and myth of the Emerald sword" (from the first saga), the "New saga" only starting (or continuing) at track 10!

Musically, there is no progression to speak of here, if you enjoyed the band's previous albums it is pretty much a certainty you'll enjoy this one. If like me, you have followed the band from their first album, you might be starting to think that the albums are becoming just a bit too similar to each other. That said, "Triumph or agony" is overall slightly softer and more symphonic than what has gone before. There is less of the double paced heavy drumming, and more of the slower big sounding pieces. "Silent dream", "Blood red dungeons" and "Son of pain" for example, which appear consecutively on the album, are all devoid of a frantic rhythm. In their place we have soft vocals and big ballad type sounds. These are once again embellished through the appearance of a full orchestra.

The aforementioned tenth track is the centrepiece of the album, a sixteen minute 5 part epic called "The mystic prophesy of the demon knight". Here, the band go majestically over the top, with no less than seven narrators including Christopher Lee and Susannah York. At times, you could be forgiven for thinking you have suddenly re-tuned to a radio play as the characters talk to each other:
Dargor - "Yes that is the book, I am sure of it!"
Tarish - "Let us take it and leave this godforsaken place"
Iras - "The legendary evil book is now in our hands"., etc.
Our heroes having successfully retrieved the book, the saga is apparently concluded, however the closing "Dark reign of fire" warns that the "book will soon be opened with consequences beyond any nightmare". It appears we shall have to await the next instalment of this continuing story to find out in detail what evils the book contains.

The special edition of the album contains two bonus tracks. One is simply a radio edit of a section of the centrepiece track, but the other, "Defenders of Gaia" is a sort of deleted scene. It is actually one of the best tracks on the album, if not the best, very much in the tradition of songs like "Dawn of victory".

In all, this is probably best described as simply another Rhapsody (of Fire) album. While it is generally slightly more symphonic and less metallic than previous releases, all such things are relative, and "Triumph or agony" is still very much in keeping with what has gone before.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At one point in my life, I owned every single studio album by then-called RHAPSODY. Eventually, for reasons left unsaid, I was forced to let most of them go and ended up in my collection with only my favorite of their records, the original "Symphony of Enchanted Lands." If RHAPSODY was one of the bands I chose to partially got rid of at that time it's because I realized their albums sounded pretty much the same.

Yes, I love the heroics and the epic choruses and the orchestral arrangements and the use of harpsichords/clavicembalos (an instrument that, were it not for this band and others like it, would be completely unknown for many of today's baroque-music-ignoring rock fans.) But I found a problem with most every RHAPSODY album except for the one I mentioned as my favorite: after a fantastic orchestral intro and a terrific anthem-like first song, the subsequent tracks are not in the same level and tend to sound so similar to each other (and to the tracks in the other albums) that the whole experience is somewhat ruined for me.

I will review "Symphony of Enchanted Lands" soon and I'll explain why I think it's the best RHAPSODY album. But focusing in "Triumph or Agony", their first record under the new copyright-forced name, I can say that it shares the same qualities and the same mistakes of most every opus by this Italian band.

We get a terrific orchestral intro. After that, the first song, the title-track, sets us off in an excellent way. The verse is powerful and mighty and the chorus is inspiring. Things don't change that much afterwards, though. We get the obligatory quiet moment with Leone singing over a soft accompaniment in keys; we get a quiet interlude with the harpsichord taking center stage along with some flutes and soft winds; we get the mandatory longest track in the end with lots of purely orchestral-moments and voice acting by different actors, among them the legendary Christopher Lee. In a word: we get the traditional, very enjoyable, RHAPSODY OF FIRE experience. We just don't get anything new.

I don't have anything against bands that repeat successful formulas. If this album had the same amount of great songs as "Symphony of Enchanted Lands", I would rate it higher, even if it wasn't the groundbreaking record that many prog purists always demand. I can tolerate not-so-original music when it is extremely entertaining and when it's perfectly crafted. Sadly, "Triumph or Agony", while certainly perfectly played, does not have enough great choruses or memorable melodies for me to rate it higher.

The playing, as always, is first-rate. The magnificent shredder Luca Turilli returns with more of his wonderful technique, alongside master keyboardist Staropoli and the competent rhythm section. Fabio Leone, a very underrated singer who in my view should be consider among the best melody-singers in metal, gives a terrific performance though not in the same level as in previous albums.

Ridiculous lyrics aside , I love RHAPSODY (OF FIRE), and when I review their best album I will probably give it 5 stars, as I think it is a masterpiece in this style of music. But "Triump or Agony", their latest release, is more than a tad weaker and, though enjoyable, fails to be the awe-inspiring heroic experience of other efforts. 3 stars is what it deserves, as it's still an entertaining, soul-lifting record that, its problems notwithstanding, will never depress anyone who hears it, as this music sings of triumphs, glory and courage.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Triumph Or Agony' - Rhapsody Of Fire (7/10)

Once again Rhapsody Of Fire releases more of the same, but I'm not complaining. Abiding by the rule 'If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It', this talented Power Metal band from Italy has released more of the same music that can be best described as 'Film Score Influenced Power Metal.' With Orchestras, Choirs, and Operatic vocals, there's really an evocation of epic feeling in this album. The thing that distinguishes this album from it's predecessors is it's focus on more balladesque-style songs. This focus on shorter songs detracts from the overall cohesion of the album as a whole, but the 16 minute epic 'Mystic Prophecy Of The Demonknight' makes up for the other songs potential shortcomings, and comes out as one of the greatest epics I've listened to in a long time.

Over the course of sixteen minutes (twenty if you count the continuation track 'Dark Reign Of Fire') the listener embarks on an epic journey through caves and seemingly abandoned halls to find a mystical book, as conveyed by the album's concept. Lyrically concerned, fans of Lord Of The Rings will love it, but I can see why someone might get a bit irritated by the concept. Musically, it's fantastic and can easily match up to any Dream Theater or Symphony X epic.

The use of orchestral instruments is exceedingly well done, and one of the reasons the album is so great. The album's shortfall though is in it's lack of overall cohesion. If for example, there were more songs like the epynomous 'Triumph Or Agony' to liven things up throughout the album and provide a break in the album's slow feeling, this would be worthy of being a modern classic. However, one too many ballads makes this album a bit hard to enjoy as an album. It's still definately worth getting, if only for the epic (and most of the shorter songs are pretty good as well!) but it's far from being perfect.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Rhapsody's first album after an unfortunate trademark dispute prompted them to add "of Fire" to their name (but they'll always simply be Rhapsody to me) feels like a bit of a stumble to me. Perhaps they were thrown a little off their game by the unwanted legal pressures, but it seems to rely a bit more on flabby orchestral filler than Rhapsody ever have before, and the band's metal passages don't soar the way they do in previous albums. They're still just about tight enough to keep my attention, and hopefully now that the sinister Seventh Book has been discovered in the story the action will pick up, but as far as Triumph or Agony is concerned my answer is "neither" - it might not be agony to listen to, but it's certainly not a musical triumph in its own right.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have never been a big fan of Rhapsody Of Fire because I thought that their early works included to many fast and hectic tracks and a lot of useless bombast and silly orchestrations. On "Triumph Or Agony", the Italians reduced their speed and focused on a more diversified song writing without lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#808893) | Posted by kluseba | Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What's their to say about Rhapsody Of Fire (formerly just Rhapsody before the random decision for changing their name, some legal reason I believe, it's only an added 2 syllables). Their amazing use of symphonic metal and merging it with fantasy, soundtrack orchestration and power metal has ... (read more)

Report this review (#280479) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Same system use this band to create Music...they are like dream theater,nothing new on their music,so,if you are new on this band and you hear this you will be very happy,but like a lot of people that know every note by this band,they will be very sad..because this is allways the same..they d ... (read more)

Report this review (#201413) | Posted by JgX 5 | Monday, February 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Triumph or Agony is a suberb example of what is the very best of Italian symphonic prog rock. Luca Turelli's song writing is as usual sublime and he is a master storyteller. The album is well constructed, superbly orchestrated and brilliantly performed. It is big, it is bold, it is a true ep ... (read more)

Report this review (#108113) | Posted by Yikesshaggy | Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although Rhapsody...oops! Rhapsody Of Fire's proginness can be discussed, the heavy amount of cheese present in their music and lyrics can turn off many listeners. I am a heavy metal fan and I always found ROF's music enjoyable, when I felt like listening to it. Triumph Or Agony is a far more ... (read more)

Report this review (#92303) | Posted by April_Ethereal | Wednesday, September 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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