Rhapsody of Fire // The Cold Embrace of Fear
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —”IT’S AN AVALANCHE!”
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU | US]
Websites: RhapsodyofFire.com | myspace.com/rhapsodyoffire
Release Dates: EU: 15.10.2010 | US: TBA (But surely coming!)
Wow, 2010 is a strange year. But one of maybe the weirdest things is the fact that long on-ice Rhapsody of Fire are back and they are putting out a second record! Well, let’s be clear, this is an EP in 7 acts, but in addition to the very mighty The Frozen Tears of Angels, the mighty Rhapsody of Fire is releasing an EP in Europe on the 15th of October called The Cold Embrace of Fear. Clocking in at 35 minutes, this EP is probably closer to Rain of a Thousand Flames than anything else the band has done in their career. But can the mighty Rhapsody of Fire actually maintain the awesome consistency of their earlier release?
Well, yes and no. The Cold Embrace of Fear is something that is going to strike people in different ways. But I suspect that the die-hard Rhapsody of Fire fan is going to be generally pleased with this record which shows off a few changes for the band. Firstly, while still consisting of all the same cheese and bluster that all of their previous records have consisted of, the voice acting on this record has reached new heights. Employing what sounds like four voice actors, one of them of course the honorable Christopher Lee, the story is partially acted out, which actually takes up a very good portion of the 35 minutes. While the lines are still very cheesy “IT’S AN AVALAAAANCHE!” and the story is a total rip-off from The Lord of the Rings (well, the opening scene is anyway), this definitely shows off that the band is taking its story-telling more seriously and to a new level. Secondly, the orchestrations sound much lower budget than the ones that were done on this year’s full length record. I’m not sure what to say about that, but it’s much more similar to the old records in that respect. Thirdly, there is one major important aspect: this record, unlike the previous one, doesn’t peak which means it isn’t as crazy fucking loud. Congrats to whomever it was that mastered this record!
The first real track on here feels in a lot of ways like a continuation of the musical progress which was made on The Frozen Tears of Angels, however. The music is heavy, bombastic and all of the guitar solos are (magnificently) doubled. This 15 minute song “The Ancient Fires of Har-Kuun” has, actually, some of the finest guitar soloing that Luca Turilli has ever pulled out on a record and the neo-classical piece at 13 minutes is particularly stand-out. The next track, “Neve Rosso Sangue”, is another acoustic track in the vein of “Village of the Dwarves” but with a much more sinister turn that is remarkable for its simultaneous creepiness and beauty. The third and final metal track is “Erian’s Lost Secrets”, which actually reminds me in form and feel of “The March of the Swordmaster”; heavy, mid-paced and kind of traditional.
All-in-all this is 25 minutes of music and 10 minutes of “orchestrations” and “dialogue,” which gives a story (to which you will have to listen yourself). And it’s good! Very good, at that. But this is not the majestic triumph that The Frozen Tears of Angels was, with songs like “Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio” or “On the Way to Ainor,” instead it is a bit like dessert when you’ve had a bit too much to eat. Enjoyable, but unnecessary.