Review Summary: Not entirely the complete disaster that's depicted in the album's story, but it's still their worst album.
I find it kind of funny how so many artists try something different only to have themselves stabbed in the back in doing so. Don’t get me wrong, it’s admirable to see a band change and grow to create something that will not only surprise their audiences but also leave a long-lasting impression on them. Here, Rhapsody (of Fire) attempted to change their style at this point in their career. With Dawn of Victory
having a more restricted sound, the band now tried something a little more ambitious. This time, they try a more harsh and aggressive approach with Rain of a Thousand Flames
. Now most would probably think that something like this would end up becoming more of an epic sounding record, and while it does contain the broad openness that such an album should have, it ends up being nothing more than a predictable, forgettable, and occasionally dull affair.
Even though they create a more aggressive style, Rhapsody decides to work more their structure which in return is a welcome change. Rain of a Thousand Flames
doesn’t rely on a minute-and-a-half long instrumental in the beginning that builds up to a grand opening with a massive entourage of instruments which then leads to the next song. Instead it goes right into it, practically blasting immediately. Not to mention, it’s their shortest non-EP record to date with only seven songs, two of which are over ten minutes in length, and two others are only a minute and a half. The first song is the best on the album since it represents what Rhapsody wanted to do with this album quite well. It’s epic, brooding, and the instrumentation is spot-on. Granted it’s not much different than what Rhapsody has put out in the past, but it still works as an enjoyable piece.
However, the rest of the album just slowly dies track after track. It feels less inspired and energetic as the time passes, which is a first for Rhapsody. The fact that this record is known to be a “halt” in the storyline from the past three records; it doesn’t give Rhapsody much of a drive to perform their music. “Queen of the Dark Horizon” tries to be opulent by starting out with a seemingly-brutal opening only to have the distractions of the seemingly watered down orchestrations overtake any chance that this would have a feeling of brutality. Even the guitars come out as nothing more than a lazy approach, because they don’t take full advantage of creating a darker, more aggressive sound. “The Wizards Last Rhymes” and “Tears of a Dying Angel” follow the exact same formula only with a slightly faster pace and focus more on the orchestrations, which doesn’t make anything better. Nothing can really be said about the other tracks other than that they’re a complete bore. Both “Deadly Omen” and “Elnor’s Magic Valley” are completely pointless and out of place while “The Poem’s Evil Page” doesn’t spark any emotion in what the band is trying to portray.
To be honest, the change in structure and the first track just barely keep the record from being a total disaster. However from what the other songs have brought to the table, it makes the rest of the album a complete snooze-fest, and with only seven songs, it’s not something that will most likely be memorable. It’s not a horrible record by any means; it’s just not exciting or refreshing enough to grab anyone’s attention. Sure if you compare it to Rhapsody’s earlier records, then you might like it. But as a stand-alone album, it’s a predictable and bland outlook on power metal.