Review: Rhapsody of Fire – Into the Legend – AFM Records – Release: January 15th 2016.
Having been around for almost 20 years Rhapsody of Fire is still one of the biggest names in symphonic power metal. The split with Luca Turilli some years ago shook things up, but the following album “Dark Wings of Steel” from 2013 as well as Luca’s Rhapsody continuation showed that the split gave fans the best of both worlds! With “Into the Legend” it’s time to see if the band can continue that success.
Rhapsody of Fire is:
Fabio Lione – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roberto De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Alex Holzwarth – Drums
Into the Legend
Simply put: “Into the Legend” is classic Rhapsody. Yes, from before they had to use the suffix ‘of Fire’. While their previous albums already came back from the soundtrack approach this album feels like a big call back to all the things that you’ll recognize from the first albums, my personal favourite “Power of the Dragonflame” having the most influence although that will probably vary for every fan, whilst still adding enough new things to keep people excited.
There is still the standard choir based intro that just gets you ramped up for another run with the Italian masters, jumping into the typical high speed opener ‘Distant Sky’. While people who haven’t been following news regarding the band in years would probably think it’s still Luca doing the guitars there are enough little differences in guitar play that show how skilful Roberto has found his place in the band since joining, raising the bar since his previous work on “Dark Wings of Steel”.
It’s the small things on this album that set the songs apart from previous works like the little Scottish bagpipe (played on keyboard I assume) at the start of ‘Into the Legend’ or the very modern sounding intro to ‘Winters Rain’.
Despite the harkening back to the past there is still more than enough of the modern grandeur with epic choirs and dramatic sounding pieces like in the aforementioned ‘Winters Rain’ or ‘Valley of Shadows’. But there’s also playfulness like in ‘A Voice in the Cold Wind’ which is slightly reminiscent of ‘The Village of Dwarves’, albeit a heavier brother.
And I don’t know why, but for some reason I just envision the late Christopher Lee singing along with ‘Shining Star’. This slow symphonic song just feels like it’s written for him in a way that echoes ‘Magic of the Wizard’s Dream’.
Whereas the previous album’s longest song only clocked in at 8 minutes the band goes back into full epic mode with the nearly 17 minute ‘The Kiss of Life’ where fans can dive deep into the band’s soundtrack ability with an opening that has you fly above a landscape like an eagle onto what sounds like a battlefield going by the music. Or something else that is bloody epic!
I’m not going to spoil this one, I’ll just say ‘Gargoyles’…
I’ll admit it, despite the fact that I kept buying their albums, I did kinda get tired of Rhapsody of Fire’s music. However, since “Dark Wings of Steel” I feel really excited about the prospect of seeing that name Rhapsody of Fire on there and “Into the Legend” continues on with fortifying the status of legend that the band already has.
- In Principio
- Distant Sky
- Into the Legend
- Winters Rain
- A Voice in the Cold Wind
- Valley of Shadows
- Shining Star
- Realm of Light
- Rage of Darkness
- The Kiss of Life
Score: 4.2 out of 5
Text by: Robert Popovic