Rhapsody of Fire
The Frozen Tears of Angels


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
May 3rd, 2010 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rhapsody (of Fire) return to form with 50+ minutes of finely cut cheese.

I've always had a soft spot for Italy's Rhapsody*, but at some point their love of theatrics became so overbearing that their once affable love of monologues and narration turned from delightfully cheesy to annoyingly pretentious. It was just following the release of Symphony of Enchanted Lands II - The Dark Secret, when the band, having a remarkably larger budget than in the past, decided to employ a 40 piece orchestra and 20 piece choir to record five additional versions of “The Magic of the Wizard's Dream”. This was unnecessary, but it only worsened with their next album. Released in 2006, Triumph or Agony featured a 70 piece orchestra and countless narrators. In the interest of time, I'll say only this: as an album it was fucking terrible; as story-telling it was even worse. Much of the album is dominated by extended orchestrations and narration and I'm entirely convinced that nobody outside of Christopher Lee (who, let's face it, is a full-time member at this point) has any idea of what's going on in the “Dark Secret Saga”, something I feel is wholly evidenced, I believe, by the fact that the story begins on the second Symphony of Enchanted Lands album, which, in considering their new album is the third in the saga, makes little sense to me. I guess it's an Italian thing.

The point is that because of the growing trend for the band to embrace their “hollywood metal” sub-genre caused me to approach The Frozen Tears Of Angels with caution. To kill the suspense, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, Christopher Lee is still the first voice you'll hear, babbling on about Nekron, but he does so for just under forty seconds and is not heard from again until the fifth track, during which he only speaks for an additional minute and a half. Here, Rhapsody have found a balance in their ability to stroke both the egos of Christopher Lee and of their own storytelling while making their music the point of emphasis for the first time in six years.

“Sea of Fate” and “Crystal Moonlight” are the band at their speediest and most familiar, dominated by a re-appearing chorus and Luca Turilli's ever-improving guitar work. The real point of intrigue comes however in the album's middle-tracks---if the first two (discounting the introductory and disposable “Dark Frozen World”) have the band revisiting their glory years, than the two that follow threaten to raise the bar. “Reign of Terror” begins in typical Rhapsody fashion---with ascending guitar harmonies---before a piercing shriek enters itself into the mix and the song's darker tones are visited repeatedly by scathing tremolo picking and an Alexi Laiho-esque scowl. “Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio”, which translates to “Dance Of Fire And Ice” and is almost certainly an allusion or tribute to fantasy author (sorry, “epic” fantasy author) George R. R. Martin, falls on the complete opposite side of the spectrum to its predecessor. Instead of adding to the band's trademark sound with shrieks and aggression it, the track has them abandoning it altogether to enlist what ultimately ends up as a seemingly traditional Italian jig. Though it does employ a distorted guitar, it's used only in accordance to a flute and as the song takes on more of a polka-tone Turilli uses his six strings to all-but replace the wind instruments altogether.

After another speedy number, “Lost In Cold Dreams” re-introduces fans to the Rhapsody of Power Ballads and while it evokes memories of “The Magic of the Wizard's Dream” (perhaps to sour reactions), the decision to withhold Lee from singing and to replace him with quieter backing vocals takes what could have been a near-replica and improves it to the point where familiarity no longer matters. The song is ultimately a little too melodramatic for its own good, but considering the band and the circumstances, that's kind of the point. “On The Way To Ainor” displays a newly emphasized Queen influence in how it compliments Fabio Lione's love of over-singing with multi-layered vocal harmonies.

The album ends in epic fashion with the overlong “The Frozen Tears of Angels”, and if you've tuned out by then it is entirely forgivable. While the album's title track uses the occasional guitar-screech and groovy piano climbs in an attempt to remain interesting, The Frozen Tears of Angels falls victim to the same truth that faults even the strongest of Rhapsody albums: there's simply too much of it. At just over 53 minutes long, it's one of the shortest albums in the band's discography but the 53 minutes is a long time no matter how you time it and ending on an 11 minute epic is going the extra mile to lose your audience.

As a result, The Frozen Tears of Angels is an album perhaps best enjoyed in sessions or fragments. Songs like “Reign of Terror”, “Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio” and “On The Way To Ainor” are best served for frequent listening but with nary a weak track in the bunch, Rhapsody have outdone themselves. It's just too much for one sitting, and while that threatens to disrupt their narrative arc, you'd be lying if you said you had any idea what was going on at this point anyways. Fans of cheesy metal, your kings have returned. Now if only they could give Manowar the kick in the ass they deserve.

*having never known anyone who used the online music distribution software of the same name, and as someone who truly believes the ensuing lawsuit was absurd, I will continue to refer to the band by their true name.



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user ratings (167)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
May 3rd 2010


7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah so i secretly still like rhapsody you want to fight about it?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2010


32190 Comments


There's a k in fucking

Also, we don't jig

Jips
May 3rd 2010


1143 Comments


summary is win...

Thor
May 3rd 2010


10244 Comments


*having never known anyone who used the online music distribution software of the same name, and as someone who truly believes the ensuing lawsuit was absurd, I will continue to refer to the band by their true name.

way to stick it to the man bro

EnCrypt.
May 3rd 2010


882 Comments


omg i wanted to review this i am getting the album today : (

EnCrypt.
May 3rd 2010


882 Comments


Your review kicked my nonexistent reviews ass

Lunarfall
May 3rd 2010


3178 Comments


dammit coke now i want to eat cheese

pride
May 3rd 2010


227 Comments


This is good to hear seeing as this was one of the bands that got my started into metal.

Bitchfork
May 3rd 2010


7584 Comments


*having never known anyone who used the online music distribution software of the same name, and as someone who truly believes the ensuing lawsuit was absurd, I will continue to refer to the band by their true name.

Does that place even work? I'm tempted to use their 10 dollar a month unlimited music program.

BigHans
May 3rd 2010


28422 Comments


Might have to get this to fulfill my random Power Metal cravings.

A7XEric
May 3rd 2010


322 Comments


I was actually working on writing a review for this XD

But anyways, this is better than a 3.5, definitely their best album in a good while.

Poet
May 3rd 2010


6003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Much of the album is dominated by extended orchestrations and narration and I'm entirely convinced that nobody outside of Christopher Lee (who, let's face it, is a full-time member at this point) has any idea of what's going on in the “Dark Secret Saga”, something I feel is wholly evidenced, I believe, by the fact that the story begins on the second Symphony of Enchanted Lands album, which, in considering their new album is the third in the saga, makes little sense to me




I understand what you're trying to say here, but reading it aloud is a bit awkward.



Otherwise, review's great as always and I obviously enjoy this album.





Baphomet
May 3rd 2010


7364 Comments


I used to love these guys like ten years ago...

I'm still gonna check this out 'cause this is some of the best cheese around.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 3rd 2010


7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

way to stick it to the man bro


shut up faggot

Tyler
Emeritus
May 3rd 2010


7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And yeah, Poet, that was intended to be multiple sentences but I added the second bit in separately and obviously did a horrible job seguing my points there. It happens when you write at 3 in the morning. I'll try to come up with a more concise way of saying it without changing the tone of the review (I could easily just go "the last album was all narrating and interludes and focused on a ridiculous story nobody understands" but I didn't write this so loosely so it would look out of place).

Tyler
Emeritus
May 3rd 2010


7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They've really found their sound with this one. I mean, it took like 20 years but you can't argue the results. The symphonics and choirs really sound great and are finally implemented tastefully and Turilli is finally at a point where he's so good at guitar that he can just play without trying to prove it to us. Fabio still over sings way too much for my liking.

bloozclooz
May 3rd 2010


1770 Comments


makes me want to hear that 70 piece orchestra

SteelErectedb4you8er
May 3rd 2010


2620 Comments


How is it I never noticed they were rhapsody of fire? Or is that a new thing?

Tyler
Emeritus
May 3rd 2010


7925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

New as of 2006. Legal trademarking issues forced them to change their name

SteelErectedb4you8er
May 3rd 2010


2620 Comments


Ah ok. Yeah, I never could get into these guys. it is almost too cheesy for me. I mean, I like some cheese, but I don't know. Great musicianship though!



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