Friday, June 17

Rhapsody of Fire - From Chaos to Eternity

Rhapsody of Fire
From Chaos to Eternity


Much has happened in the world of metal since Rhapsody released their superb debut album, "Legendary Tales," in 1997. The symphonic metal genre, then in its infancy, has become a powerful force in the metal scene, and Rhapsody's orchestral roots and epic scope, at one time constituting a tiny niche genre, have become relatively common in all kinds of metal. With young bands such as Ancient Bards and Pathfinder releasing magnificent new works in the symphonic metal paradigm, the future of the genre looks quite promising, and as Rhapsody are no longer the sole purveyors of the style, there is much less pressure on them to push the genre in new directions.

That said, Rhapsody of Fire is by no means slacking off; rather, they are doing what they do best, and having fun with it. Their latest record, "From Chaos to Eternity," does a good job of summarizing all that Rhapsody (of Fire) has done thus far, and subtly pushes it in a slightly heavier, more riff-driven direction. In a sense, Rhapsody has completed the circle they began with their earliest releases: after delving deep into symphonic and progressive territory with "Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Volume II" and "Triumph or Agony," much to the chagrin of a number of fans, they have returned to their metal roots. That said, however, this is not another "Legendary Tales." "From Chaos to Eternity" is the kind of album that can only be created by a band that has, over the years, developed and mastered a sound, and brought together all aspects of this sound into one unit.

Here we have all the Rhapsody trademarks: epic orchestrations, blazing solos, folk-infused balladry, a narrated storyline, and huge choruses, as well as a few newer elements. Most notable among these are the increased use of Fabio's excellent harsh vocals and the almost unprecedented classic-rock vibe present in "I Belong to the Stars."

In other news, guitarists Luca Turilli and Tom Hess have brought the guitar back to the foreground of Rhapsody's sound, and perhaps created Rhapsody's most interesting guitar album to date, both in terms of riffs and in terms of the guitar's interaction with the other instruments. However, Rhapsody has by no means shed the symphonic sound and become a guitar-metal band. The orchestral and choral parts still play an integral role in the music, and both sides play off each other nicely, creating a sound that is equal parts intense progressive metal and sweeping symphonic metal.

While "From Chaos to Eternity" may not have the youthful exuberance of "Legendary Tales" or the artistic cohesion of either "Symphony of Enchanted Lands," it makes up for this in terms of its solid, creative writing and flawless execution. Of all the albums Rhapsody has recorded, this is perhaps the most fun. Since the release of "Legendary Tales," they have been one of the most innovative bands in metal, and at this point, I'll be happy if they just keep doing what they do best, especially if it's all as glorious as "From Chaos to Eternity."

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Morpheus's Rating: 4.25/5


Arno Callens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arno Callens said...

Great review, but scrap my previous comment: Ancient Bards and Pathfinder are crap :p All hail Rhapsody though!

The Protagonist said...

Don't mind Arno, he doesn't know good symphonic power metal from his left foot. I'm really pleased with how well this album came out on the whole, definitely my favorite since they adopted "of Fire".

Morpheus said...

@ Arno: I was about to post something defending Ancient Bards and Pathfinder, and then I realized that your comment was written in reaction to what I wrote in the review... I guess you know how I feel about them. Rhapsody's still my favorite though.

Hogkonda said...

Great review! I felt pretty much the same way about this album. Seems like most of the other reviews I've read on the internet have been very negative. I like this album a lot more than their last album.