Rhapsody of Fire – Into the Legend

Rhapsody of Fire - Into the LegendSince Italian cheese metal mongers Rhapsody (with or without Fire) split up into two Rhapsody’s (one with, one without Fire), we’re getting a whole lotta Rhapsody on our plates. After Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody (sans Fire) last year, now it’s the semi-original Rhapsody of Fire’s turn with Into the Legend.

Good news first: it’s a far better album than 2013’s Dawn of Victory. Then again, that almost goes without saying, because Dawn of Victory was a real stinker, and arguably the band’s first bad album. A beautifully orchestrated but ultimately meandering, mid-tempo slog, it did not offer much hope for the future, after guitarist and co-founder Luca Turilli left to form his own Rhapsody, and subsequently released a stellar album with Ascending to Infinity. For the second round of Rhapsody versus Rhapsody, things might be a little different. This Rhapsody, the one led by singer Fabio Lione and keyboard player Alex Staropoli, managed to tap into what made this band good in the first place, and Into the Legend is an album full of exactly that (whilst Turilli’s last output was a bit plodding and lacklustre).

After the obligatory into In Principio, Into the Legend burst out in great fashion with Distant Sky. The band loses no time to get directly to the point: this is your Rhapsody of Fire from the past. The one that released symphonic power metal gems like Symphony of Enchanted Lands and Power of the Dragonflame all those years ago. The only thing that’s audibly different on this new effort is Roby De Micheli on axe shredding duties instead of Turilli. It is, however, also the only disappointing thing about Into the Legend. De Micheli is a good player, but he lacks the flair Turilli works into his solos. There are a few too many uninspired tab solos here, and after a while you almost start missing Turilli’s omnipresent arpeggios. Almost.

Over the course of the next eight songs, Rhapsody of Fire never breaks their own boundaries, and never does something unexpected. It’s a very safe album, quite predictable in nature for fans of the band, but perhaps that’s just what the band needed after Dawn of Victory. To prove that this is still the band it once used to be, and that they are able to carry on without Luca Turilli and still write the same type of material. Into the Legend is full of the classic symphonic power metal stuff you’ve come to know and love (or loathe) from these guys, and with the exception of the mid-tempo Winter’s Rain and the ballad Shining Star, this is a faster paced record than Dawn of Victory ever was.

For fans of the older stuff, Into the Legend is a record right up their alley. All the extra orchestration that marred Dawn of Victory is gone, and instead we get an inspired band of musicians doing what they’re best at. There’s your bombastic intro, your epic 16-minute album closer and a lot of neo-classical noodling in between. Fabio Lione also pulls off a great vocal performance here, although I get the impression his English pronunciation gets worse with every album. Give him a few more albums and he’ll sound like Alberto Bertorelli from ‘Allo ‘Allo! There’s nothing on Into the Legend you haven’t heard before, but it sounds crisp and fresh here, not in the least because of the very clear, lush production.

Into the Legend is a plate of fine, Italian cheese. Predictable cheese you’ve ordered before, but cheese nonetheless. And it’s good cheese, especially after the disappointing previous course. If Rhapsody of Fire can continue releasing albums of this quality in the future, we can be friends again and all is forgiven.

Label: AFM Records
Release: Out now

Track listing:

  1. In Principio
  2. Distant Sky
  3. Into The Legend
  4. Winter’s Rain
  5. A Voice In The Cold Wind
  6. Valley Of Shadows
  7. Shining Star
  8. Realms Of Light
  9. Rage Of Darkness
  10. The Kiss Of Life

Line-up:

  • Fabio Lione – lead vocals
  • Roby De Micheli – guitars
  • Alessandro Sala – bass
  • Alex Staropoli – keyboards
  • Alex Holzwarth – drums

Further surfing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__6VtmQxsg0

Review by Ralph Plug

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