Rhapsody

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Legendary Tales

Rhapsody - Legendary Tales ©1997 Limb Music
1. Ira Tenax
2. Warrior Of Ice
3. Rage Of The Winter
4. Forest Of Unicorns
5. Flames Of Revenge
6. Virgin Skies
7. Land Of Immortals
8. Echoes Of Tragedy
9. Lord Of Thunder
10. Legendary Tales

Technical power metal from Italy, with heavy doses of neo-classical orchestration. It's loads of fun, really. The singer sings in a typically high power-metal voice, but thankfully is not as goofy as the rest (though there are moments that absolutely crack me up) in the genre. Lots of Malmsteen-esque solos, with the "I am a guitar god" type of sweeps and tapping. They are more tastefully done, too, than Malmsteen - more attention given to presentation of melody than to the use of maximum possible notes in a single unit of time. The songs generally follow a straightforward thrash/power metal structure - 'cept for the more "emotional" songs which are hilarious glam-rock ballads. The neo-classical feel is more heavily incorporated than Malmsteen, too - lots of baroque keyboards, strings and choirs coupled with thrashy (sometimes unimaginative) riffs and the mandatory (over)use of double bass. The songwriting is quite decent, overall, but suffers from predictability towards the end. Those who like pretentious "raging metal" will love this - indeed, Rhapsody manage to create a thrash/neoclassical hybrid without compromising the complexity of thrash or the pompous symphonic nature of classical music. And catchy choruses, too! "Land of Immortals" particularly stands out as being a well-done fusion of fast metal and some uplifting classical.

To me, though, this is just too funny to be taken very seriously. The booklet (sleeve) doesn't help, either. The band members are trying too hard to pose like Warriors From an Enchanted Land™ , and they have printed a half-baked fantasy story that is too damn generic to be worth following. Map of revelant land included - clichéd names like "Darklands" and "Enchanted Valleys" further erode their credibility. Lyrics are goofy - more of the Ancient Kingdom™ and the Brave Knights™ and the Mighty Warrior™. Also included is a band biography full of innocently conceited adjectives. Fun music, somewhat difficult to be ambivalent about - you'll either love it or hate it. Strange how this doesn't apply to me, though.

Review by Rahul Joshi

Review date: 01/1999

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Symphony Of Enchanted Lands

Rhapsody - Symphony Of Enchanted Lands ©1998 Limb Music
1. Epicus Furor
2. Emerald Sword
3. Wisdom Of The Kings
4. Heroes Of The Lost Valley
5. Eternal Glory
6. Beyond The Gates Of Infinity
7. Wings Of Destiny
8. The Dark Tower Of The Abyss
9. Riding The Winds Of Eternity
10. Symphony Of Enchanted Lands

This is not a review easily written with a straight face. Rhapsody are the kings of epic fantasy metal depicting hordes of singing barbarians hewing down their hapless evil foes to win the hearts of many a maiden fair. If you close your eyes while listening to this album, you can see them marching on, singing in harmony of their selfless defense of all that is good, pure, and right, these noble guitar wielding knights of the amplifier.

Okay, I think I have got it out of my system now. This CD is larger in scope than Legendary Tales, if such a thing is possible. Yes, the concept is cheesy, the lyrics overblown, and the musicians strike the somber poses of those about to die in the rink with their fellow gladiators. However, the CD is still a lot of fun and once you scrape away the silly facade, there is some serious musicianship offering some great music on the disc. Once I get past the mental image of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd chasing each other about with axes and swords, the music is very enjoyable.

This CD boasts many more classical interludes than Legendary Tales, bigger choruses, longer songs and much more involved and layered composition. It represents epic, symphonic metal at its finest, battle smurfs aside. The music is huge and sweeping, showing the growth of Luca Turilli's ability as a song writer. The epic, thirteen minute "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands" attests to that growth with its flow and balance. The classical interludes blend well with the disc. The baroque stylization and general medieval sound meshes well with the bursts of speed and power supporting the singing in a grand manner. The bits and pieces that make up the songs all fit together very well, without sounding out of place or forced. The disc is just plain fun.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2000

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Dawn Of Victory

Rhapsody - Dawn Of Victory ©2000 Limb Music
1. Lux Triumphans
2. Dawn Of Victory
3. Triumph For My Magic Steel
4. The Village Of Dwarves
5. Dargor, Shadowlord Of The Black Mountain
6. The Bloody Rage Of The Titans
7. Holy Thunderforce
8. Trolls In The Dark (Instrumental)
9. The Last Winged Unicorn
10. The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord

Gallant, noble magic steel, oh my! I'm sorry, but it is very hard to review a disc like this with a straight face. The "oh-so-serious" feel of the melodrama may cause fits of giggling, so let the listener beware. This disc might be hazardous to your health if you are driving and listening at the same time . . . the other drivers may frown on you drawing a sword and trying to cleave your way through the traffic jam while astride your noble SUV (white, of course).

Sigh. Take everything you thought you knew about overblown, over the top drama metal and throw it away. Rhapsody are hurriedly rewriting the manual on how to play the muscle bound hero for which every fair maiden in the kingdom yearns. It is so hard to separate the image they portray on their liner notes from the music they produce. I wonder if they refer to Luca Turilli, their anchor and front man, as Sir Luca?

The music is fast, orchestral and symphonic. It is also over the top and prancing, almost daring you to take issue with it. Easily the best effort from Rhapsody to date, this disc is going to be consumed, lock, stock, and battle pennon by the hordes of symphonic metal fans who have come to expect this sort of thing from Rhapsody, Hammerfall, Edguy, and several other bands of this style. The music is technical and complex, filled with soaring solos and sweeping rhythms. The choruses are huge and sung by large choirs. No one can fault the production and orchestration that it took to churn out this disc. This has a truly epic feel to it from start to finish. The themes may be tired and in need of some originality, but the play and singing are top notch. For those who are considering entering the realm of heavy metal knighthood, this is the disc you'll need for your indoctrination. Rhapsody have coined the term "Hollywood Metal" to describe their peculiar sound. It is an apt term as it takes in the cinematic approach they use. They create a great escape from the world with their fun approach to telling a story, shamelessly embellishing it to make a larger than life epic of good versus evil. The classical and renaissance elements are the special effects used to enhance their story telling and paint a grand, sweeping picture.

The music is a driving, pounding, swarm you under attack interlaced with the classical, symphonic elements backed by the huge choirs one has come to associate with Rhapsody. It gallops along at a breathless pace, carrying you along with it. If you can set aside your cynical attitudes and lose yourself in the sound, it is an amusing way to pass an hour.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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Power Of The Dragonflame

Rhapsody - Power Of The Dragonflame ©2002 Limb Music
1. In Tenebris
2. Knightrider Of Doom
3. Power Of The Dragonflame
4. The March Of The Swordmaster
5. When Demons Awake
6. Agony Is My Name
7. Lamento Eroico
8. Steelgods Of The Last Apocalypse
9. The Pride Of The Tyrant
10. Gargoyles, Angels Of Darkness

Exactly how seriously are we supposed to take Rhapsody?

Noted mostly as one of the most over-the-top power metal bands, Rhapsody is an entity that seems to be everyone's guilty pleasure. Even those who severely dislike the most overblown and cheesy power metal will give Rhapsody their props. I'm not sure if that's any badge of honor, though. When you are known for being the torchbearer of all things schmaltzy and ludicrous in a subgenre, I wouldn't go about putting that on a resume.

Due to all the descriptions of Rhapsody's music coupled with their reliance on a D&D theme, I've never been compelled to visit their little kingdom of warriors, dragons, swords, mead and mozzerella. But Power of the Dragonflame has been sitting in my inbox for awhile and I finally gave in to find out just exactly Rhapsody is all about. And it's worse than I feared. Every aspect of power metal I dislike is presented in full force here. From the castratto vocals to the pompous song arrangements to the predictable song arrangements, Power of the Dragonflame is the penultimate power metal album. Sounding like a mix between Bal-Sagoth and early Helloween with Stratovarius thrown in for good measure, Rhapsody goes about their business of warrior tunes, seemingly oblivious to the danger of being such a parody of that which they are so obviously serious about. I half expected David Hasselhoff to make a guest appearance on "Knightriders of Doom" but we didn't even get so much as a "hello" from KITT. The guitar solos are properly wanking, the tempos are double bass waterfalls that offer mostly a workout for the drummer (I will give any power metal drummer his due for having to be rather fit), but this is the kind of thing that sails right by without impacting most listeners.

Rhapsody does this sort of thing very well, but the problem is that what they're doing is hardly necessary for anyone. It might be good for a laugh or two, but I'd be very concerned about the taste of anyone who raptly sits next to their speakers, somberly absorbing every note and lyric presented on this album. I feel worse as a music fan for having endured this festival of silliness.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2002

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