Review: Rhapsody

“Symphony of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret”

A long opening narrative (by Christopher Lee) over some “Lord of the Rings” style scoring tells of darkness, evil and other such goings on in the enchanted lands this musical slab is evidently set in. Already I can tell this will be European progish-power metal ready for consumption by the sword and magic helmet crowd, but don’t write it off yet if this isn’t your bag. Someday soon you may find the need to escape into fantasy, play D&D constantly, bicker about critical hits and write your own metal albums about noble dwarves and wily wizards. Rhapsody take all this fantasy play one step further than much of their prog metal ilk. The narrator makes reappearances to add gravity to the situation our hero finds himself in on his quest to either save someone or rid the world of something.

Vocalist, Fabione Lione is perfectly suited to sing for this genre of metal, sounding like a reject of the opera world who turned to Helloween for inspiration to go on after his operatic failings. Rhapsody themselves are calling the music on this new album “Film Score Metal,” and there are a lot of interludes between and within songs that sounds like a movie soundtrack swelling as either something profoundly beautiful is revealed or something dark and evil beyond measure (like, say, Saruman addressing an army of Uruk-hai). Rhapsody are quite heavy on the keyboards, more so than their fellow prog/power metal brethren. The production is crystal clear. The drumming is at a fully automatic, fire at will, pace, and the guitar is appropriately soaring. Rhapsody is more fun than most in their genre, geekier than most in their genre, and therefore better than most in their genre. In the world of European progressive/power metal this album is a paragon.