Rhapsody - Power Of The Dragonflame

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Limb Music
Catalog Number: LMP 0203-040
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:00:00

"Superlative": of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammatical comparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent. So the English language should be full of superlatives, right? Practically every adjective has one - good, better, best; grand, grander, grandest; bombastic, more bombastic, most bombastic; where best, grandest and most bombastic are the superlatives. Problem is - when trying to describe Rhapsody's Power Of The Dragonflame, I ran out of superlatives!

This album is only for those who are into over-the-top, epic metal. And as long as there is real quality behind the music, I am.into those sounds in a big way - and no one does bombastic epics better than Rhapsody, Italy's masters of power-metal. A brief description of the first two tracks will give you a taste of the grand soundscapes that are Rhapsody's signature:

The introduction is a one and a half minute overture of opulent classical choirs and orchestral arrangements. Then in what has become something of a tradition, the lush overture flows straight into a stutter-step rapid fire of staccato power chords, blistering lead guitar, and the excellent vocals of Fabio Lione trading passages with that big choir - all played over lush, dominant keyboards and a soft orchestral backing. It's a huge sound, and several of the album's most important themes are developed here.

See, Rhapsody does nothing in half-measures. Nothing. Adding to the metal instrumentation and vocals of the six band members are choirs, church choirs, a female baroque vocalist, violins, two classical guitarists, and an English narrator.

In 1997 Rhapsody developed a grand Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy tale known as the Emerald Sword Saga, and this release is the fifth and final installment of that grand 47-song, 5 hour epic rock opera.

It takes energy to listen to a Rhapsody album, particularly if you follow the storyline from album to album. But the best booklets in the industry make it easier - with excellent cover art, the full set of lyrics, a detailed synopsis of the story, maps, and band info. And by the time you've gone through the whole thing, and sunk yourself into the deep emotions and the complexities of the music, you'll be exhausted but thoroughly satisfied.

Besides that wonderful introduction, two tracks stand out: "Lamento Eroico" is an operatic piece that showcases vocalist Fabio Lione's versatility, and is a pleasant break from the driving pace of the rest of the album. It is a poignant number sung in Italian, accompanied by a slow, majestic piano piece by Alex Staropoli, and a soft string backing. There is a narrative ballad style to the verses, and the choruses are grandly operatic with Lione accompanied by male choirs. The metal instrumentation is kept to a minimum, and this is a close as Rhapsody gets to a power ballad.

The final 19-minute track "Garoyles, Angels of Darkness:" is a sweeping progressive epic that closes out the whole story and ranges musically from the Hollywood filmscape style of Symphony X's V, through the full power-metal style of the best from Europe. It starts with a beautiful two-minute classical guitar passage backed by 'tron-like sampled keys, then explodes into thrash-metal riffs and classic metal vocals. It quickly develops into a bigger sound with those keyboards, choirs and the string section building a wall of sound, which then pulls back and changes form and ? this song is all over the map! It flows beautifully and ranges from classical guitar and piano to full metal thrash to operatic choirs to spoken narratives, and themes from earlier tracks as well as from some of the prior albums are reprised and brought to a majestic climax. Again - nothing done in half-measures!

All Rhapsody (and Luca Turilli) albums are showcases for their superb compositions and their excellent musicianship and singing, and the choirs add a splendid majesty and texture.

So - ignoring that thesaurus for a minute: This is the most (add your favorite superlative here) ambitious progressive symphonic metal in music today, and collectively, the epic-discography comprises the ultimate concept album. Power Of The Dragonflame itself rates somewhere between 4.5 and 4.75 out of 5 - but add the rich background story and the 5-album 6-year history of this combined productions and it soars to a five-golden-star rating.

In Tenebris (01:28) / Knightrider of Doom (03:56) / Power of the Dragonflame (04:27) / The March of the Swordmaster (05:04) / When Demons Awake (06:46) / Agony Is My Name (04:58) / Lamento Eroico (04:38) / Steelgods of the Last Apocalypse (05:48) / The Pride of the Tyrant (04:53) / Garoyles, Angels of Darkness: Angeli Di... (19:02)

Fabio Lione - vocals
Luca Turilli - guitar
Alex Staropoli - keyboards
Alessandro Lotta -bass
Alex Holzwarth - drums
Dominique Leurquin - guitar


Herby Langhans, Miro, Robert Hunecke-Rizzo, Cinzia Rizzo, Oliver Hartmann - epic choirs
Bridget Fogle, Previn Moore - church choirs
Bridget Fogle - female baroque voice
Manuel Staropoli - baroque recorders
Dana Lurie - lead violin
Jay Lansford - narration
Sascha Paeth - bass, 1st classical guitar intro (10)
Thunderforce - drums

Johannes Monno - 2nd classical guitar intro and interlude (composed by Luca Turilli) (10)

Legendary Tales (1997)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998)
Dawn Of Victory (2000)
Rain Of A Thousand Flames (2001)
Power Of The Dragonflame (2002)
The Dark Secret (2004)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret (2004)
Rhapsody Of Fire - Triumph Or Agony (The Dark Secret Saga, Part II) (2007)
Rhapsody Of Fire - The Frozen Tears Of Angels (2010)

Rhapsody Of Fire - Visions From The Enchanted Lands (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: December 14th 2003
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website: www.rhapsodyoffire.com
Hits: 609
Language: english


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