RHAPSODY OF FIRE – Into The Legend (Album Review)

ROF LogoI love Italy.  I have honeymooned in Sorrento and holidayed in Lake Garda.  The place is the jewel in Europe’s crown and is also becoming well known for its fantastic Power Metal bands, lead by Rhapsody Of Fire.

Into The Legend has been a long time in gestation. It took seven years of recordings in four different studios to finally create this amazing and ambitious piece of art.  The whole kitchen sink was thrown at this baby.  A classic orchestra, several choirs and exclusive use of original instruments were among the things mastermind Alex Staropoli (keyboards) used to bring this monster to life.  The band is finalised by Fabio Lione on vocals, Roberto De Micheli on guitars,  Alessandro Sala on bass and Alex Holzwarth on drums.RH_ITL-C_1500x1500

The whole record reeks of concept album, from the opening classical piece “In Principio” to the closer “The Kiss Of Light“, the band seems to be striving for a coherent narrative.   This actually feels like listening to an opera, which is steeped in tradition, but is as modern as possible for a metal monolith.  The light and shade of the record keep it from being boring, but it does take some time to digest the whole and it does reward repeated listens.

The collection feels like Iron Maiden‘s Book of Souls, in its sheer ambition.  The comparisons don’t end there, with many of the songs evoking the more Progressive elements of Maiden.  This is especially true of “Winter Rain“, with Fabio Lione singing very much like Bruce Dickenson.  There is also a smattering of Helloween in the mix.  This is not to criticise, as the record is fully formed as Rhapsody of Fire, it is just that the influences are clear.

I really enjoyed the record, with its dense instrumentation and classical music calling and found it to be a great set of tunes woven together with fabulous arrangements.  The guitar work and keyboards are the spine, but the orchestration and the choirs really add to the identity.  My favourite compositions include the Renaissance resonating “A Voice In The Dark“, which would be at ROF Photo 2 Credit-Luigi Orrùhome in any episode of “Game of Thrones” – all it needed was some “hey nonny non” refrains to go with the mandolins.  Really great song, which underlines the sheer over the top abandon of the very best of European Power Metal.  I also loved the melting beauty of “Shining Star“, which could have been in something like Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Phantom of the Opera.

Long live Power Metal! This is another classic for the scene to collectively clasp to their denim-clad bosoms and to swell with pride.  Now, where’s thy jester’s hat hey (nonny non)?

Buy: Into The Legend

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