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Rhapsody of Fire - Triumph or agony 3/5

Reviewed: 10-13-06


1. Dar-kunor
2. Triumph or agony
3. Heart of the darklands
4. Old age of wonders
5. The myth of the holy sword
6. Il canto del vento
7. Silent dream
8. Bloody red dungeons
9. Son of pain
10. The mystic prophecy of the demonknight
11. Dark reign of fire
12. Defenders of Gaia (bonus track)
13. A new saga begins (bonus track)

In case you haven't heard, long-running Italian band Rhapsody has been forced to change their name, as Limb Schnoor (Limb Music) actually has the rights to the name Rhapsody, and since the band is no longer with the label... Rhapsody of Fire is born.

Although it has some flaws, Rhapsody's previous CD 'Symphony of enchanted lands ll/The dark secret' is a powerful piece of orchestral/symphonic power metal that I return to on regular occasion. The band's latest CD, 'Triumph or agony', is very much in the style of the previous (which means the guitars pretty much take a backseat to the orchestration, although not a major complaint), but differences are present, and I'm not sure if any of them are positive. For starters, just like with his solo band, songwriter Luca Turilli is really decreasing the amount of faster songs. In fact, the CD contains so little speed, that only track 3 "Heart of the darklands" and the first bonus track "Defenders of Gaia" jump out as being speedy. In addition, most of the slower songs (specifically track 4 "Old age of wonders" and track 6 "Il canto del vento") do practically nothing for me.

There are still songs that will impress Rhapsody fans however. The bouncy track 7 "Silent dream" quickly comes to mind, as does the dramatic track 9 "Son of pain". Plus, the longest song on the CD (over 16 minutes!), which is track 10 "The mystic prophecy of the demonknight", is quite extraordinary and really draws my interest. I should mention that Christopher Lee (of 'Lord of the rings' fame) is once again the narrator, as he was on the band's previous CD, but he doesn't make an appearance until track 10. As for the best song on the CD, it's definitely the previously mentioned bonus track "Defenders of Gaia", as it contains fantastic keyboard solos similar to what's heard on the band's great 'Rain of a thousand flames' CD.

In the end, Rhapsody (woops... Rhapsody of Fire) is a band that might see Thy Majestie, Divinefire and/or Seyminhol quickly surpassing them. Who knows, maybe even newcomers Bride Adorned and Masterpiece will take a huge leap and rise above them as well. Now keep in mind, I speak as a power metal fan, so if you're not afraid of a CD with very little speed or if you enjoy Luca's 'The infinite wonders of creation' solo CD, then 'Triumph or agony' will surely satisfy. But as for me, I'm afraid the band might be headed in the wrong direction.




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