Review Summary: And thus, a new story is written...featuring Christopher Lee!
There’s always a point in a band’s career in which they just can’t seem to meet the expectations to their fans after an album that had audiences and critics praising over. The possible reason for this is simply put: a band’s so called “masterpiece” sets the bar so high as to what they can truly deliver that they end up slumping down afterwards. It’s not like they’re incredibly horrible all of a sudden at the moment the next record comes out, but people just look at it, say “it’s not as good as the last time” and then move on. Rhapsody was at this point in their careers in which they had to live up to the expectations of their previous album Power of the Dragonflame
, which was as the pinnacle of their career. However, despite the odds, they managed to make not only another consistent, well-performed album, but they managed to jump the awful slump that always trapped bands for years, with Symphony of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret
While The Dark Secret
may not be as climactic as Power of the Dragonflame
, it still holds up as it brings the heavily powerful elements that were present last time. The pounding drums, the strong guitar riffs the blast at a hundred miles an hour, the background orchestral elements and choir that back up the music so well, Fabio’s fabulous vocals, it’s all there, and once again it works incredibly well. Even the instrumentals never feel pointless like they were in many of Rhapsody’s previous albums. They have a sense of purpose that’s powerful as they add an extra layer of atmosphere and help create the world that is portrayed in The Dark Secret
. Christopher Lee’s narration is an ingenious idea for this record, and for the remainder of most of the bands albums. There’s just something in his voice that sets the mood for this so perfectly for a band like this. He keeps the audience focused and interested as he sets up the rather cheesy plot very clearly, especially in his introduction “The Ancient Prophecy/Ira Divina.”
Once again, Rhapsody sells this record with its epic, two ten minute tracks, “The White Dragon’s Order” and “Sacred Power of Raging Winds.” Much like “Angels of Darkness,” both of these tracks are a journey unto themselves as the variations of the orchestra and guitars create a roller coaster ride of solos that are well-performed throughout. And of course most of the other songs absolutely bring out the best in Rhapsody, such as in “Unholy Warcry” and “The Last Angel’s Call,” with their fast-paced tempo and heavy style while “The Magic of the Wizards Dream” and “Dragonland’s Rivers” help the record slow down and take it’s time in a soothing and beautiful manner.
If there is one thing to pick at, it’s the song “Guardiani del Destino” as to why they decided to sing it in Italian. It seems pointless to do so, even though the English version is in The Dark Secret
EP. It’s not a bad song by any means, but unless you can translate the lyrics while you’re listening to it, then it kind of ruins the experience in a way.
It’s rare to find an excellent follow-up record to a bands greatest effort. But Symphony of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret
manages to succeed with flying colors. It proves yet again that Rhapsody has the talent and quality to make a fantastic album. It may not be as impactful as last time, but it still delivers power, passion, and fun. For a genre that many people consider nothing more than cheesy, fast, tiring, and annoying, it’s incredible.