Luca Turill's RhapsodyHere’s a fun fact for you stat geeks: the average score gaily awarded to full Rhapsody releases by the resident Turilli fangirl (our great leader himself) is 4.83/5.0. Check ’em here. Clearly a much more objective party needed to intervene to prevent further such madness, offering a view impervious to Turilli’s rugged Italian charms. Unlike his former bandmates, Turilli escaped the division of his band relatively unscathed, Nuclear Blast record deal in hand and Pluto-sized bollocks between his legs. The debut under his new moniker is probably my favorite Rhapsody release, and he now follows it up with the overly verbose Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus. I must foreground this review by acknowledging that this is basically a pointless exercise. This is to all intents and purposes Ascending to Infinity Part II, replete with all the symphonic trimmings you loved or hated (but probably loved) before. If you want to hear this thrice more in greater detail, read on.

Everything that was there last time reappears once again. The bombastic orchestrations awash with sobbing strings, grandiose horns, backing choirs and chants. The twin guitars effectively harmonize with each other and typically violins in the backing orchestras, offering neo-classical noodling pioneered by Yngwie Malmsteen. Alessandro Conti’s smooth vocals are paired off against the unnamed operatic prima donna, gelling brilliantly in the vocal duels, an articulate argument to narrate Turilli’s splendid tales. Songs where all these elements pull together are as majestic as you’ve come to expect from this overachieving Italian – such as highlights “Il Cigno Nero,” “Prometheus” and “Yggdrasil.” There’s nothing new here but it’s fairly undeniable.

Even structurally this is repetition and not a development. As is ever the case when under Turilli’s command, the record is composed of slick narratives interspersed with strong songs, a mid-point ballad to re-energise the flow, before closing with a monstrous epic. The positioning of “Notturno” (the obligatory ballad) is at track 7, just as it was on Ascending to Infinity, and the conclusion is a direct sequel to its predecessor: “Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer’s Fall Part II.” It’s still excessively long, as I thought it was before, too. There are no curve balls or new elements introduced, nor should it be expected. Turilli has distilled his trade to a fine brew and if he keeps hitting winners, why change?

Luca-Turilli-Rhapsody_2015

The only drawback is that not everything is such a winner here. Prometheus is not quite as consistent as Turilli’s other recent output. There’s nothing that’s outright bad, but there are certainly a couple of tracks which could have been trimmed (notably the aforementioned closer), or pale in comparison to their neighbors (“King Solomon and the 72 Names of God” and “Il Tempo Degli Dei” for example). “One Ring to Rule Them All” is exactly as it sounds, opening with a shitty faux-Gollum voice – it’s like that one friend who delusionally thinks they’re amazing at accents and imitations, except Turilli wrote an entire song around it. It’s not bad but feels cheap compared to the grandiosity achieved elsewhere.

Despite the couple of slips and his unerring commitment to his finely-honed style, leaving progression by the wayside, you do have to admire Turilli’s self-indulgence. No-one else can touch his fusion of Italian classicism with heavy guitars, and he marches ever onwards on his quest to document every ancient civilization and elven kingdom. Just don’t expect him to change, and most importantly, don’t tell him that dragons aren’t real. He doesn’t like that.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: v0 MP3
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Websites: Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody Official | Facebook.com/LucaTurilliRhapsody
Release Dates: EU: 2015.06.19 | NA: 06.30.2015

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  • JJnetZach

    Those song titles absorb sheer pretentiousness from my bleeding eyes. The worst offender is not even in this review – and I thank you for it.

  • Soge

    Also worth mentioning, the digipack includes a great cover of Thundersteel.

    • Levly

      That cover is awesome. Btw, Ascending to Infinity’s digipack also included a great cover of March of Time :).

  • Levly

    Very good review! But I would argue that there is some evolution since Ascending to Infinity, namely that Turilli moved even more in the neoclassical direction than before. The best pieces (I totally agree with the highlights), and especially Il Cigno Nerro feel like the perfect fusion of classical italian opera and Metal.
    On the other hand, I find the songwriting really not as good as on the last record. What was won in neoclassical flourish was lost in direction and song coherence. No song here is as well written and immediately memorable as Dark Fate of Atlantis for instance.
    I listened to Ascending to Infinity again right after this one, and Ascending is much better overall. As El Cuervo says, this one is way too self indulgent and would have profited greatly from more time on the editing table, and some radical cuts.

  • In my defense, I actually would have given this record a 3/5. I’ve enjoyed it, it’s a good album, but it’s definitely a step down from Turilli’s absolutely epic run of great records following the Magic Circle debacle. I also hate to sound like a broken record, but the production doesn’t help this album in my opinion. It being loud is a genuine problem and the drums sound like 2004 and I mean that as a real insult.

    But yeah, I think this record suffers from a little bit of Turilli’s self-indulgent tendencies. This is a man who basically confirms every stereotype about Italian men when it comes to his music. Flighty, grandiose and self-indulgent. I should note, that’s exactly what he also does really well.. soo, y’know, hard too complain to much. But this isn’t blowing me away like the last few have.

    • David Rosales

      Precisely my same thoughts. I would give this a 1/5 on that account, though.

  • I just can’t listen to these guys. It’s like a parody of a caricature of metal.

    • YOU’RE LIKE A PARODY OF A CARICATURE OF METAL!

    • Rob

      I don’t have enough fucking crackers for this cheese.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I don’t know. I liked Ascending to Infinity, despite the giggle-inducing “movie guy voice” stuff that AMG wrote about. At first I thought they were being ironic with all that “In a world” stuff, but, no, they’re dead serious. Nevertheless, the music on Ascending is euphoric, and has some nifty guitar work. It actually reminds me a bit of Arjen’s works. I’d call it Verdi Metal.

    • Martin Knap

      you just don’t know nothing about the old age of wonders and elvish emotions!

    • Thatguy

      This should have been the review – it is all that needs to be said

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    well, i dont expect less than at least a 4 of 5 from Turilli or any Rhapsody record, he is with Trent Reznor, Steven Wilson, Arjen Lucassen, and others, one of the best modern composers, not in metal, in music, tough i get why some people can not like it, but yeah, he is making the same album over and over again since Legendary Tales but better every time, at least you are not critizing the album for “not having enough metal” which i always find funny on Rhapsody reviews, this album is amazing but is to be listened as a whole and as a sequel to the previous (it seems he is making a trilogy…) which is incomplete because it lacks fantasia gotica, but anyway good review, lets see if rhapsody of fire can make a decent album this time

    • I’m a huge Rhapsody fanboy, and this record is just a step down.

      • Nahuel Benvenuto

        cant argue with you on that, to me is just as good as the previous and as good as always, it is like a sequel, i can bet you turilli is going to make this a trilogy of “cinematic metal” and he will do something else after that

    • Nate Howlett

      In your list you missed Mr. T. Holopainen, but otherwise, I agree with you.

  • I like the artist’s depiction of Turilli’s sheer manliness as Prometheus on the cover.

  • Excentric_1307

    The intro “meant to be played loud” dialogue in the video annoys the crap out of me. It’s as if they admit that it’s too damn loud, so they try to convince you to turn it up because they know you’re going to become fatigued and turn the volume knob down. “No no, it’s supposed to be mastered this way! Look, if you crank the volume up to the point that your hearing starts to fade, you can’t tell that it’s overly loud!”

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    You know, seeing the lyrics on that featured song made me realise how clean vocals can really make a difference in how seriously I take the music.
    Lyrically, this is very similar to The Jester Race and Whoracle, but on those albums we didn’t care much since Friden just growled them anyway. Hearing these lyrics sung by soaring operatic vocals just made them sound ridiculous, somewhat.

  • It’s ego epic sinfonic collage…of nothing. I’m a wrong italian guy and I don’t like cause it’s too much for my taste. For me is another fail to add to Virgin Steele, Nightwish…and Symphony X is coming! If you want italian good power/heavy metal? Try the last At the Dawn and My Refuge…good angry review in anycase as usual…

  • El Lado Oscuro

    Agree w/AMG, it is fine, but quite not up there

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I’ve been working on some lyrics for his next one its called “Basic Mathamaticing” I think they’re quite good.

    Plussing , minusing equals numbers
    dividing, timesing …

    caaaaarrrryyyyy over numbers

    bridge to ten, using fingers
    squares and rectangles, equal sides

    Baaasssicccccc Mathamatiiiiiiicing

    Now I don’t want any money for these a simple credit would suffice…

    • Hulksteraus

      Power Math Metal…

    • Martin Knap

      this is perfect lyrics for a Carcass song.

    • LMAO! Best….response….ever!!!!

  • I’m having an enormously difficult time understanding the appeal of this. The singer is so thin-voiced and whiny and the music sounds so cheesy. Don’t even get me started on the embarrassing lyrics. The whole thing just sounds so extraordinarily dorky that I think they should call it wedgie metal instead. Not trying to troll anyone or anything but this is one of those cases where I’m in dire need of a helpful soul explaining the appeal of a thing to me. I don’t really hear nuance or beauty in the orchestration – it just sounds like the work of a pretentious dilletante. I mean, I’m no expert on classical music, but I’ve heard enough that this seems very inept to me. Admittedly, I think almost no-one knows how to compose for orchestra in metal – Carach Angren being one of the few happy exeptions.

    I apologize for the cluelessness/offense, but this… thing… is just completely lost on me :/

    • Nate Howlett

      Carach Angren? Seriously, you need to listen to Therion, that’s the band that know how to use an orchestra and a choir…

      • I’m plenty familiar with Therion and they do it pretty well too, although they tend to be a little overblown and hamfisted – but that’s just my reaction to them. I don’t even like Carach Angren all that much, but their second most recent album – ‘Where the Corpses Sink Forever’ had some extremely well done orchestration. Beautiful, dynamic production, very subtle and tasteful composition. Therion are a bit more overblown, I think. They do have some cool songs. I’ve listened to ‘The Birth of Venus’ a thousand times. Please don’t kill me for this, but I want to say that Therion is good orchestral music… for a metal band. I kind of lump them together with Nightwish in that sense – a band that I also like to dive into now and then. Please have mercy :P

  • Kronos

    Despite AMG and I having very similar taste when it comes to death metal, I absolutely cannot and have not ever sat through an entire rhapsody album. It’s just too silly.
    Remember, though that this is coming from the guy who named “teethed glory and injury” and “the mother of virtues” as albums of the year, so I have my own annoying pretensions to atone for.

  • Steve

    For a band that has been symphonic from the get-go, it still just sounds like a generic shreddy metal band with an orchestra in the background (or foreground cause it’s so loud) and it’s pretty much the same formula re-written over and over again. Whereas when Blind Guardian write a symphonic song, it feels much more inticately woven and homogenous and it’s a new experience every time they do it.