Four years. That
long time took one of the most valuable power metal bands for the last two decades in metal history in order to come back with a new label, new album and rediscovered passion for the very same unique music blend which inspired thousands of dreamers. And
just as expected, the new portion of Italian magic once again manages to carry us beyond the boring, gloomy daily round to a world full of genuine emotions where the only boundaries are those of the listener’s imagination.
The saga of the apocalyptic prophecy of the demonknight continues, along with the creative development of the band. With no officiousness, lavish sonates and without any real orchestra behind their backs, Luca and Alex managed to create their most refined record since the legendary “Power
of the Dragonflame”, and at the same time their heaviest and complex magnum opus. Although “The Frozen Tears
of Angels” stakes on a more firm and compact presentation, it doesn’t lack compositional wealth by any means. On the contrary – the album is as concentrated and homogeneous as it is diverse. The style leap is also serious: a noticeable stress focuses on the rhythm section and mostly on the guitar as a dominant instrument; Both
orchestral and choir parts are limited hard; Gone are the positive pathos inspired settings which place is now taken by a new expressiveness, marked by experience, wisdom and maybe several lost illusions. As a result of all this, today Rhapsody
sound more than ever as a 100 % metal band, instead medieval bards with electric guitars, as many people thought they were. Definitions and labels such as “happy metal” directed towards the band nowadays sound not only irrelevant but also frankly stupid, having in mind the general gloomy and dark mood of the record. The epic consistence in their music has grown to a dramatic scale, the dimensional – into purposeful, the majestic – into tense and offensive.
all changes, there are still several band features left which we can always rely on. The notable, emotional and skilled performance of Fabio Lione, whom I would hardly refer to in any way other than to a vocal god. After the obvious retreat from his characteristic virtuoso trademark in “Triumph
”, here Luca Turilly offers a phenomenal guitar work – rush, aggressive and enriched with the obligatory neoclassical nuances. Once
again, we get to hear the unique storyteller Christopher Lee, whose sombre vocal revelations add the last element to the bridge between melody and story, to which it’s high time to make way.
Minimalistic, threatening and in general pretty different from the previous introductions of Rhapsody
, “Dark Frozen
World” opens the gates to the alternative reality of Algalord. Surprisingly, “Sea of Fate
” is not the typical hit of a hymn, which always opened the previous albums of the band. Varied and thoroughly complex, it mixes episodical links from the last production of Vision Divine
with vague Asian elements and progressive deviations which pursue the works of Rhapsody
of a Thousand Flames
”. “Crystal Moonlight
”, despite its more direct spirit, follows the same mood, alternating full speed power tempo with unexpected compositional hinders. The extremely detailed “Reign
of Terror” offers a glimpse on the semi-evolutional remark of old songs such as “When Demons Awake
” and “Thunder
’s Mighty Roar” – combination between aggressive, exceeding the power metal instrumental patterns and extreme vocals, performed by Fabio in an exquisite way. Along the constant shifts between all expressive approaches and the mood they bring shine Latin chants, fierce arpeggio mix, a-capella moments – all in all, a true model of stylish diversity in the ranks of one piece. The effective singing and the sound of playful baroque flute in “Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio” serve as another evidence for that the guys from Trieste are capable of playing perfect folk everytime they feel like it. “Raging Starfire” is the most conventional track in an album, far from the ordinary sound in its entirety, providing a nostalgic reading of the well-known old style which we’ll doubtfully hear again. Rhapsody
have many ballads, but each of them is a little masterpiece on its own – tradition from which “Lost
Dreams” doesn’t make an exception. The gentle, melancholic acoustic during the verses, the sensual power of the chorus and the closing solo theme add another pearl to the quintet’s collection. “On the Way to Ainor” stands for a semi-culmination during the record’s unfolding in both provisional and technical point of view. Multi-layered harmonies, mind-sweeping choral refrain, operatic female vocals and thrilling solo attacks of Turilli merge in seven minutes of power, progressive and symphonic splendour – pure perfection, to say the least. Intelligently structured and absorbing, the spacial homonymous epos reveals itself bit by bit, embracing us in splendid keyboard orchestrations and guitar tricks, while its thick atmosphere makes us want to get lost in the entire magical experience at least one more time.
With “The Frozen Tears
of Angels” the Italian masters once again created something rare and special, the smallest achievement of which is capable of entering the symphonic metal manuals. Because Rhapsody
’s art is not just series of elegantly bound tones, soothing the ears. It also isn’t a selfish demonstration of technical superiority, which the musicians undoubtfully hold over the majority of their colleagues, and certainly not just a successful synthesis between both heavy metal and classic musical legacy. It is a beauty, enthusiasm and spiritual delight in its clearest form… And
I can only be glad that I’m part of the many people enchanted by its touch.