Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory for Salvation (Album Review)

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Glory is reprised once more.

Heroes tend to be measured by their latest exploits, whereas veterans are judged by their consistency and staying power, and rare is the case of a band that can be equally qualified as both. But this is the exact disposition that the Rhapsody Of Fire name has accrued for itself over more than 25 years of bringing a symphonic niche to the power metal style developed by the likes of Helloween in the late 80s. Though many important contributors have come and gone over the years, not the least being the virtuoso Neo-classical shredder and songwriting mastermind Luca Turilli, the same spirit that brought the game-changing late 90s masterworks that were “Legendary Tales” and “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands” still endures under the continued efforts of keyboardist Alex Staropoli and his current fold of virtuoso players. In this respect, the name “Glory For Salvation” seems a fitting title for this quintet’s 13th studio LP, as every aspect of what has made their signature sound work is given a glorious reprise.

For those privy to this outfit’s brand of virtuosic power metal blended with swords and sorcery, the general trend following the brief stint into slower, Manowar-like territory on 2013’s “Dark Wings Of Steel” has been back towards the faster, flashier approach that typified their early classics under the banner of Limb Music. The production quality has naturally taken on a smoother and crisper quality, and the operatic flamboyance of former vocalist Fabio Lione has been replaced by a slightly grittier but still soaring helmsman in Giacomo Voli following 2016’s “Into The Legend,” but it’s difficult to miss the blend of triumphant choral hooks, lightning fast riffs and solos, thunderous speed drumming and dense orchestral layers that hearken back to the turn of the millennium era. This time around the approach is a bit less kinetic than the riveting 2019 sonic extravaganza “The Eight Mountain,” but the greater collection of mid-paced anthems accumulated here want for little in the power department.

Forging another path towards the world of the impossible, Staropoli and company waste little time in establishing this chapter in their ongoing career on a bombastic note. The opening anthem “Son Of Vengeance” hits things off with a cinematically-flavored orchestral theme that gradually progresses into a fist-pounding mid-tempo banger, a somewhat unusual approach to beginning things for this outfit. This tendency towards a less frenzied metallic backdrop was possibly influenced by Sinestesia drummer and latest addition to the Rhapsody fold Paolo Marchesich, whose more progressive work with the former band along with bassist Alessandro Sala parallels the rhythmically nuanced approach taken here, and mirrored on the slightly swifter but generally groovy “Maid Of The Secret Sand” and the folksy semi-ballad turned hum-along romp “Terial The Hawk”. But the biggest standout moment of abandoning the rumbling double kick drum thunder for jazzier material is the extended epic punch and darkness of “Abyss Of Pain II”, which also sees Staropoli and guitarist Roberto De Micheli rivaling Rudess and Petrucci during the solo section.

“Glory For Salvation” Album Artwork

That being said, these expounders of the fantastical haven’t strayed too far from the beaten path of high octane power metal bluster when all is said and done. It’s difficult not to hear the lingering ghost of the glory days when Turilli was still manning the guitar when the fast paced bombast of “The Kingdom Of Ice” takes center stage, and things go full on machine gun drumming mayhem after the spirit of “Power Of The Dragonflame” when the frenetic title song “Glory For Salvation” hits the speakers, with De Micheli demonstrating once again that he is Luca Turilli’s technical equal in lighting the fret board on fire. The latter half of the album cycle sees even more high flying majesty following a more restrained middle point, with the cruising stride and riff happy goodness of “Infinitae Gloriae” hearkening pretty close to the auditory fire of “Rain Of A Thousand Flames”. Pile on to the triumphant flight a veritable sequel to “Riding The Winds Of Eternity” in “I’ll Be Your Hero” and a mercilessly catchy banger “Chains Of Destiny” to close things out.

If there is any flaw to be found in this album, other than the fact that it’s almost too much majestic splendor to handle, it’s that the appeal outside of Rhapsody Of Fire’s admittedly sizable fan base may prove fairly limited. Then again, bands that put too much emphasis on mass appeal are usually the first ones to lose their identity and come up short in the credibility department. There is definitely something to be said for the value of balancing out innovation with fan service, and this provides a fair bit of each, but ultimately leans harder into the latter. Those with a greater affinity for progressive metal may find some interesting twists on some of the less frenetic numbers, and even the obligatory ballad “Magic Signs” manages to throw in a few surprises here and there, but the target audience continues to be those who braved the pubs and concert halls back in the late 90s and early 2000s with their swords and bows drawn. With former band mates Luca Turilli and Fabio Lione delving further into new territory with various projects, Rhapsody Of Fire is poised to continue being the mighty rock of old guard symphonic power metal in the 2020s.

Released By: AFM Records
Release Date: November 26th, 2021
Genre: Symphonic Heavy Metal

Musicians:

  • Giacomo Voli / Vocals
  • Alex Staropoli / Keyboards
  • Roby De Micheli / Guitars
  • Alessandro Sala / Bass
  • Paolo Marchesich / Drums

“Glory For Salvation” Track-listing:

 1. Son Of Vengeance
 2. The Kingdom Of Ice
 3. Glory For Salvation
 4. Eternal Snow
 5. Terial The Hawk
 6. Maid Of The Secret Sand
 7. Abyss Of Pain II
 8. Infinitae Gloriae
 9. Magic Signs
10. I’ll Be Your Hero
11. Chains Of Destiny
12. Un’Ode Per L’Eroe
13. La Esencia De Un Rey

9.4 Excellent

Undaunted by the changing tides of the 2020s, Alex Staropoli and the post-Luca Turilli incarnation of Rhapsody Of Fire continue their grandiose brand of metallic storytelling with a tall order of symphonic bluster, proving the glorious melodies and high fantasy exploits will never go out of fashion

  • Songwriting 9.5
  • Musicianship 10
  • Originality 9
  • Production 9
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2 Comments

  1. They are a totally new Rhapsody with a very fresh “classic” sound, this album blowed my mind away, a must ear recommendation.

  2. Pingback: RHAPSODY OF FIRE Share Music Video For New Single “Un’Ode Per L’Eroe”

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