|Review: Rhapsody of Fire - Symphony of Enchanted Lands|
|Symphony of Enchanted Lands|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 1998
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Review online: September 2, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Symphony of Enchanted Lands
This was only the second full album from Rhapsody, but even by then they had managed to produce a litter of demos and advance singles. Rhapsody has an annoying habit of releasing EPs that are just the best 2 or 3 tracks that will be on the next CD, so that when you get the new album, you have already heard the good stuff.
"Legendary Tales" was an agreeable disc of fantasy Power Metal with some memorable songs and so-so performances. "Symphony" is the album where Rhapsody started getting all epic and overblown, and where they really started in with the symphonic stuff. As a result this is a bigger sounding album with a lot more scope, but it ends up being not quite as much fun. The major problem here is that just having a keyboard does not make a band into classical composers, and so the 'orchestral' parts sound like movie-soundtrack stuff stacked on top of the songs, not really integral at all. In other words: the songwriting is not up to the ambitious nature of the album. "Emerald Sword" is a very cool song, as is "Wisdom Of The Kings" – even if they do sound a lot alike. The title track likewise conjures up some good stuff, despite being too long.
But the vast majority of "SOEL" is just rather dull. Much of it is very slow, and there are long quiet sections and some incredibly boring narrative bits. After the initial burst of energy the album slows down to a plod, and only here and there do we get any real excitement. Another gripe I have is that, as usual, there is not nearly enough metal here. The guitars are mixed too low, and the keys are given too much of the music. Also: I just don't care for Fabio. That's just me personally, I just don't find his voice powerful or compelling, certainly not for such an epic sound.
Now Rhapsody have a big following, and I'm sure my lukewarm response to them will do nothing to dampen the fanboys. But I guess I have to go on record as one of the curmudgeons who just can't get very excited about this band. I like the idea of Rhapsody: fantasy lyrics, symphonic epic metal songs, multi-album storylines, super-cool cover art. All the pieces are here, but I have yet to hear an album by these guys that really lives up to what they want to be.
Special Award For Super-Geek Album Presentation:
I have to mention this, as the special edition of this album was perhaps the nerdiest thing ever. You got a box containing:
A 40-page full-color book
I stand in awe of the geekitude. Words fail me.
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