Rhapsody of Fire // From Chaos to Eternity
Rating: 5.0/5.0 —From awesome to better!?
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU | US]
Websites: rhapsodyoffire.com | myspace.com/rhapsodyoffire | facebook.com/rhapsodyoffire
Release Dates: EU: 17.06.2011 | US: 07.12.2011
Rhapsody of Fire is like the kyrptonite of Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings™. While they did have diminished recordings when they signed with Magic Circle Records (PRO-TIP: the “magic circle” in question is your anus… which will get fucked by Joey DeMaio), the last two years have been tremendously productive for these Italians. First, they came back with 2010′s The Frozen Tears of Angels which was an amazing success by all accounts and received a raving 5/5 review from me. Then they released The Cold Embrace of Fear which wasn’t exactly the greatest thing they ever did, but it was good and had some solid songs even if it contained far more voice acting than I’d've liked (“IT’S AN AVALANCHE!!”). And they managed to drop a guitarist and pick up another one (by the name of Tom Hess) on the way. But now this. From Chaos to Eternity.
To be honest, it’s sometimes hard to write these raving reviews when a record just nails it and From Chaos to Eternity just nails it. In a way I’m not sure that it’s really better than the last one (this is one of those situations when a 100 point scale instead of a 5 point one could’ve been useful), but instead it differentiates itself a bit from traditional Rhapsody of Fire sound, while actually even reinforcing the sound at the same time. This paradox may be hard to wrap your mind around, but they’ve done something here that I think is really fantastic: they’ve started blending in heavier music and different classical elements in order to create something that feels more progressive and aggressive, but while maintaining that over-the-top power metal style that they created and mastered.
The first thing that stands out that really differentiates this record from previous albums is the more extensive use of black metal-style screams on songs like “Aeons of Raging Darkness,” “Tornado,” and even on the huge epic “Heroes of Waterfall’s Kingdom.” This actually comes with some heavier parts as well, where the drums are blasty a la Dragonforce or Falconer, but without losing what is so distinctly… Rhapsody. Also, the continuation of the movement into the more progressive at times is definitely noticeable. “Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds,” leans in that way at times during the versus, as well as the solos in “Aeons of Raging Darkness.” It should not go unmentioned that the solos on here are often doubles and feel very creative and unique within neo-classical genre. One of the things that keeps creeping through with this material is that Turilli is very aware that “classical” didn’t end with the baroque area, and the music at times is leaning towards periods beyond baroque and Viennese classical and that makes these tracks very interesting.
Of course From Chaos to Eternity still contains its anthemic songs; “I Belong to the Stars” and “Anima Perduta” and the title track all live up to this title. Though, arguably, everything Rhapsody churns out has a way of being anthemic. After just a couple listens, I found myself whistling along with the 20 minute epic final track, which thematically sums up the story of their whole catalogue up to this point. It’s pretty impressive if you can write a memorable, catchy 20 minute track. I mean, there are very few of those out there. But, just because these tracks are memorable and catchy doesn’t mean that Rhapsody isn’t being daring when it comes to song writing, because they really are. At times these tracks have sections that are more akin to ‘movements’ than verses and bridges, merging smoothly between bombastic choruses and flute and acoustic parts. While they’ve done so in the past, they do so more fludily and frequently on From Chaos to Eternity, to excellent effect.
And while I’m not as overcome with From Chaos to Eternity‘s awesome as I was with The Frozen Tears of Angels, I think that has more to do with the fact that the former was just released last year and that the expectations for that one were sky fucking high because of the derth of good material since Power of the Dragonflame. But don’t let that dampen your spirits even one bit about this album, pick it up and let it sink in. Enjoy the virtuosity of all of the instrumentation (particularly the guitar solos are just ridiculous, Turilli and Hess don’t fail to impress [and that rhymes], but there’s a fantastic bass run on “Tempesta di Fuoco” and I think that Guers probably doesn’t get enough attention due to being overshadowed by tremendous guitar players), and enjoy the final of these old fashioned radio epics, because these are apparently going away after this record. But if that’s the case, From Chaos to Eternity is one hell of a note to go out on.