Rhapsody Of Fire - 'From Chaos To Eternity'

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Rhapsody Of Fire - 'From Chaos To Eternity'

New album by the band hailing from Trieste in Italy.

Rhapsody Of Fire originally formed back in 1993 hailing from Trieste in Italy. At the centre of the group is original guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboard player Alex Staropoli who were the driving force behind the creation. Their first demo saw the light of day in 1994, but it was not till 1997 that they served up their debut album ‘Legendary Tales’. This was a mixture of classical music, baroque and heavy metal leading to the band creating their own genre called Soundtrack Metal. The opening salvo was followed up a year later by their second record ‘Symphony Of Enchanted Lands’. With the dawn of a new millennium, the band set out on first tour in the spring supporting Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica. They continued the hard work by releasing their third opus called ‘Dawn Of Victory’ later in the year. Since 2000, Rhapsody Of Fire have issued a further four albums, 3 EPs, a compilation album, a live album and a live DVD. During this time there was also a considerable legal wrangle with their old label, which once resolved saw them sign for Nuclear Blast Records in 2009. Since 2000 the band has had just one line up change at bass, as well as recently adding a second permanent guitar to the line up. Rhapsody Of Fire currently consists of Fabio Lione (vocals), Luca Turilli (guitar), Tom Hess (guitar), Alex Staropoli (keys), Patrice Guers (bass) and Alex Holzworth (drums). On 17th June 2011 Rhapsody Of Fire release their newest album entitled ‘From Chaos To Eternity’, their second on Nuclear Blast Records.

‘From Chaos To Eternity’ opens up with the instrumental ‘Ad Infinitum’, this is exceedingly gothic and filled with guitar and heavy choir voices as well as containing the first appearance of Christopher Lee. It kicks straight into the title track which has a blisteringly fast guitar riff and a maniacal drum beat. The pace is frenetic and intense throughout this number as is most of the rest of the album. Other tracks such as ‘Tornado’ and ‘Tempesta Di Fuoco’, the first Italian lyrics entry, follow this fast gothic operatic metal route. The other non English number is the one lone ballad on the album which is ‘Anima Perduta’. This is an immensely operatic track which opens with olde world instruments before soft soulful vocals from Lione. This could easily grace any stage in any opera house. Far and away the most commercial and accessible track is ‘I Belong To The Stars’ which has a duet between the operatic choir and Lione in the intro, before a simple bass and keys driven verse. His singing in the track is done in a standard metal way. The chorus is highly memorable with the choir singing which is intermixed with a solid guitar riff. The final track on this album is the amazingly long and epic ‘Heroes Of The Waterfall Kingdom’ which clocks in just under 20 minutes. To go into much detail about each segment will spoil the surprises contained within this number for the listeners. Suffice to say the track continues to evolve right from the start to build to a brain crushing crescendo. There is some intricate guitar driven solos, lots of gothic choir singing, some captivating keys work and some immense orchestral arrangements. Lee returns intermittently to add further narration as well as some vocal dialogue from others to add detail to the story. This track is very much the epitome of a twenty minute metal opera and a fitting closer. It is worth noting that with the end of this track and album, so also ends the overall story that the band have been telling since their first release in 1997.

This album for most will be much like Marmite, you will either like it or find that is simply too different for your taste. It is not easy to offer a decent comparison for a style of music and genre such as this. The closest approximation would be the work of Dark Moor, especially in the lead guitar work/solo’s and overall pace. But this is without doubt heavier due to the two lead guitars and more operatic than Dark Moor overall. The classical feel and melodies are prevalent throughout, especially on the guitar progressions. It’s almost as if Bach, Handle or Vivaldi decided to write ‘Symphony 666’ and travelled forward in time to compose it with a speed metal band. Musically this album is very impressive both in its construction and the actual performance of it. Each member of the band has their moment in the spotlight at some point and they play well together as a unit. This is especially true when taking into account the sophisticated nature of the music. With the classical components being mixed into with his own style, Turilli shows some amazing talent on the six string. The same could be said with the Lione who shows a diverse range of vocal talent from metal to opera in his performances. They are suitably supported by the rest of the band especially Staropoli on the keys who is given license to roam and create his own keys solo’s.

Christopher Lee’s inclusion is another master stroke adding gravitas and a regal feel to the story telling. Given the intricateness and complexity of the music recorded, the production is well handled. This difficult task was given to trusted previous partners Sascha Paeth and Mchael Rodenberg at the Gate Studios in Wolfsburg. With the multitude of different facets at work each part is found space to be heard. Listeners of heavy progressive metal and speed metal should be in the like it camp for this album. The sophisticated music should tickle all the weak spots of the progressive lovers. At the same time the pace and heaviness of the guitars and bass should keep the speed enthusiasts happy. Symphonic metal listeners should find enough grandeur in the operatic delivery and orchestral arrangements to take something away from this album as well. It would be nice to think even fans of traditional classical music and opera could appreciate some of the melodies and compositions here. But even within these groups there are likely to be many who find this simply to over the top and too elaborate. This will surely be the case for many others with tastes in different rock genres. This is an interesting but seriously complex and intricate album. A release for those music fans with a love of metal that has something really different and more diverse to offer than other main stream established acts.

Dave Scott

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