By Jason Wellwood
I wish Rhapsody of Fire would actually film a movie. Between the awesome, arm hair tingling voice of narrator Christopher Lee and the bombastic power of the music and choral pairings on The Frozen Tears of Angels, I think every single D&D fan, closeted or not, would be clamouring for front row seats. 2006’s Triumph or Agony just wasn’t up to the promise that Rhapsody (prior to name change) had displayed with Symphony of Enchanted Lands II. On this record the band reclaim that, ahem, fire and add a few torches to the blaze.
Luca Turilli’s guitar playing has never sounded clearer or faster, a tribute to both his playing and production skills. At times the effect is dizzying. The interplay between Turilli and keyboardist Alex Staropoli is at its sharpest and on ‘Sea of Fate’ they make it sound effortless. ‘Crystal Moonlight’ is smoother but works as a vocal showpiece for Fabio Lione who has a depth to his vocal that few other singers of the genre possess. ‘Reign of Terror’ combines the guitar fury and frantic rhythm section with operatic vocals that would not be out of place in a good swords and sorcerer flick. You know, the part where the villains are tearing apart the village at the behest of the evil warlord? That part would be perfect for this song. The magic of Rhapsody of Fire is not solely within the superb musicianship of the band but in their ability to turn their songs into virtual films. ‘Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio’ may mean little to me in terms of understanding the lyrics but, in my head I see the bard walking through the tables in the tavern, lute in hand, leaning conspiratorially towards the patrons…and I’ve just outed myself as the biggest nerd in the world.
Rhapsody of Fire isn’t for everyone. It’s big, bombastic, operatic power metal with a sword in one hand and a jewelled waistcoat. Dragon is mandatory, chain mail optional. Many would write this sort of music off as cheese, but the serious amount of work put into the song writing and arranging of this album begs to differ. I defy you to listen to ‘Raging Starfire’ without raising a fist to the sky. The Frozen Tears of Angels is a solid, fun record that need not apologize for being metal.