Rhapsody Of Fire - 'Legendary Years'

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Rhapsody Of Fire - 'Legendary Years'

It's one thing to re-release your old classics, it's another to re-animate them with completely different members.

What do you do when your vocalist of twenty-one years and your drummer of sixteen years suddenly up-and-leave your seemingly sinking ship of a band merely moments after releasing a career-reviving record? In the case of Symphonic Power Metal legends Rhapsody Of Fire's sole-surviving original member Alex Staropoli, you dust off the records, comb through the tunes and re-record fourteen of your finest tracks from your ground-breaking, five-album scoping, conceptual masterpiece – 'The Emerald Sword Saga' – with your new vocalist and band of merry warriors in tow, holding your middle index digit high in the air for everyone to see.

On 'Legendary Years', ROF return to '...Saga', ripping apart the rule books in which it sat, for a focused series of re-recordings where the classic tracks have been re-traced, re-worked, and re-touched with delicate precision and a sound so polished you'd be forgiven for thinking it was produced by Mr Muscle.

The saga's story follows the journey of the Ice Warrior in search of the Emerald Sword, with which he can defeat once and for all the Dark Lord Akron. It's as traditionally Power Metal as Sunday roasts are British, and yet it is beautifully interwoven together through five albums. Unfortunately, on this series of re-recordings, it kicks off rather euphorically, yet somewhat jarringly, with the titular track of the third instalment of the series – 2000's 'Dawn Of Victory' – and the order fails to realign itself, flip-flopping off into directions unknown, as if re-purposing the story of the saga as much as they have the sound of the songs.



Whilst subtle changes are there to be discovered, discussed, and devoured by old and new fans alike, the most important detail of all is the revitalising touch from the vocal performance of Giacomo Voli. He takes the source material, turns it up to eleven and proves to the hordes of doubters that he is fit to take the throne from long-term vocalist Fabio Lione, bringing new life to his predecessor's whimsical work. 'Legendary Tales' and 'Wings Of Destiny' are highlights of this hit-riddled re-recording and leave you feeling notoriously nostalgic, yet growingly curious at how damn relevant it is.

It's one thing to re-release your old classics, it's another to re-animate them with completely different members, and yet it works so ferociously well.

Jack Press

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