Review Summary: While cheesy in nature, these are some unbelievably talented artists who try to be epic and succeed at a rate that I have never seen before.
Power Metal is a genre that people tend to love or hate passionately. Some can’t stand the fantasy lyrics with dragons, orcs, and wizards, but I am definitely a sucker for this genre. One band I am particularly fond of is Rhapsody of Fire. Rhapsody of Fire takes the cake as being by far the cheesiest band on the face of the planet. I don’t know what it is about these Italians, but man, do they make me feel like a total dork while listening to them.
Rhapsody of Fire released their first album Legendary Tales in 1997 while they were still considered Rhapsody (stupid trademark issues). I feel that this is their greatest album to date and is a phenomenal slice of epic awesomeness. That is the other word to describe Rhapsody of Fire; epic. They are truly a cheesy epic band who just happens to write fantasy stories for their albums, but I have never paid attention to the “story lines” that these guys put out.
Three members really stand out for Rhapsody of Fire, and the first of those is definitely the vocals of Fabio Lionne. From his operatic wails in the opener of Warrior of Ice
, Fabio’s voice never gives up. His soothing like voice in the middle of Rage of the Winter
gives me goosebumps almost everytime I hear it. He does try to have his soothing voice in the two ballads; Echoes of Tragedy
and Forest of the Unicorns
, but in my opinion, they don’t work out too well and are a complete disappointment. Thankfully though, a couple of solid performances in Flames of Revenge
and Lord of the Thunder
cancel out the embarrassment of the ballads on this album.
Next we have the interesting fellow named Luca Turilli, the guitarist and songwriter. Easily influenced by Malmsteen and co, Turilli plays a mean axe throughout. From the Maiden esque chugging riffs in Warrior of Ice
to a solo that is nothing short of fantastic in Lord of the Thunder
, Turilli shows he is indeed very talented.
The third and the most important part of the band in my eyes is Alex Staropoli, the keyboardist. His synth lines turn Rhapsody of Fire from being another average power metal band into a symphony of grand excellence. His parts in Warrior of Ice
and Flames of Revenge
are mind blowing, able to make Tuomas Holopainen blush in some aspects. Granted, Rhapsody of Fire does incorporate some orchestral instruments like violins, cellos, and violas, but Alex is at the helm the whole entire way.
Two songs though, are easily the most epic and grandest things I’ve ever heard without using a full orchestra. These beasts are called Land of Immortals
and the title track Legendary Tales
. Let’s start with the latter. This 7 and a half minute assault on symphonic music starts out slow with Fabio’s graceful voice and some flute action, but explodes with a guitar melody that will stick in my head for the rest of my life, this is Luca truly at his best. The chorus is anything but epic and it leads into another soft flute section and then another memorable chorus. It looks like the song will end on a soft note, but the cries of Fire and Steel are just fantastic. Alex ends the song nicely.
Lastly we have the best song on the album and Rhapsody of Fire’s best song ever, Land of Immortals
. Only three words can describe this song, HOLY, CRAP, BATMAN!! Fabio’s vocals are excellent again on this, but he doesn’t steal the show. Only this time, Alex shows why he is so great because this song is a keyboard orgy, orgasmic like almost. The synth lines are crazy in this song and when we get to the middle of the song, we have a Children of Bodom like duel between Alex and Luca, only unlike CoB, This kicks the word Epic in face. The ending of this song can be considered my second favorite ending of a power metal song ever (being beat slightly by Lost Horizon’s World Through My Fateless Eyes).
Overall, Rhapsody of Fires’ debut album Legendary Tales is definitely a classic for the symphonic/power metal scene. While cheesy in nature, these are some unbelievably talented artists who try to be epic and succeed at a rate that I have never seen before. With the exclusion of the two ballads, Legendary Tales still turns out to be a rollercoaster ride for power metal lovers everywhere, and I highly recommend this album.
Warrior of Ice
Land of Immortals