RHAPSODY - “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret” (SPV – 2004)
1. The Dark Secret – Ira Divina 2. Unholy Warcry 3. Never Forgotten Heroes 4. Elgard’s Green Valleys 5. The Magic Of The Wizard’s Dream 6. Erian’s Mystical Rhymes – The White Dragon’s Order 7. The Angel’s Last Call 8. Dragonlord’s Rivers 9. Sacred Power Of Raging Winds 10. Guardiani Del Destino 11. Shadows Of Death 12. Nightfall On The Grey Mountains
My comments on this new full-length are somewhat similar to the review of “The Dark Secret” E.P.. (Rhapsody seem to have adopted the strategy of releasing an E.P. a few weeks prior to each album release.) “Symphony….II” may not be the heaviest release by this ‘European’ band but it’s definitely the most polished and versatile. As a result, even the long songs contained here never risk being boring.
Luca Turilli (guitars) here seems to have matured further – his sweeping solos are balanced by a few great riffs and he also displays a improved sensitivity, whether using electric or acoustic guitars. Luca, of course is the author of Rhapsody’s lyrics and his skills in writing fantasy stories may be yet undervalued.
Main vocalist Fabio Lione again displays his gifted voice – singing with a style that reminds me collectively of Freddy Mercury, Andi Deris (Helloween) and even Bruce Dickinson. He is one of the very few Italian vocalists (male or female) to sing with a decent English accent (something Italian vocalists tend to suffer from).
“Symphony….II” is also probably Rhapsody’s tightest album to date, in the sense that despite its aforementioned versatility it tries to be ‘one’ effort as compared to an album with several disparate songs. The downside of this is that it might get tiring to some.
Being myself an admirer of Rhapsody’s music, I occasionally caught myself trying to forcibly subdue the nagging feeling that the band is trying to be bombastic and ‘over-the-top’ just for the sake of it, sidelining the songwriting freshness.
Having said that, most fans of power-metal will doubtlessly adore this gem, not least due to the sophistication of the orchestral arrangements and dynamic choir employed. I do believe Rhapsody still has much to offer – indeed continuing to come up with creative musical ideas shall now be a major challenge for the band.
My favourite songs: ‘Erian’s Mystical Rhymes’, ‘The Last Angel’s Call’, and ‘Dragonlord’s Rivers’.