Released: 1997, Limb Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
This is pretty much the album that started it all. Unless you were one of the very few who heard or owned the ETERNAL GLORY cassette only EP, most people got their introduction to Rhapsody via their 1997 debut album, LEGENDARY TALES. This was the album that launched, not only the 10 album, 15-year Chronicles Of Algalord saga but it was also the flagship release of Limb Records, (LMP-001) now a global powerhouse record label and an unwavering bastion of true Metal with hundreds of releases.
In a sense this is a bit of a non-review in that we have supported and reviewed every other Rhapsody release to date and staff members, myself included have written extensively on the Rhapsody phenomena. As a public service I wanted to fill this gap in the review catalogue and keep it brief. Feel free to check out all the other reviews.
LEGENDARY TALES was a breath of fresh air in the middle of a growing global Power Metal scene, that was largely driven by a cadre of European bands. The packaging and presentation were totally professional for a new label, with photos, lyrics, maps and of course a description of the storyline that would go on to span 10 albums. Recorded in Germany at Gate Studios the band forged a strong tie with the Heaven's Gates team with Miro and Thomas Rettke appearing in the album providing backing vocals and production courtesy of Sascha Paeth and Miro. It proved to be a winning combination as the album sounded utterly bombastic with no less than nine guest musicians on various classical instruments.
The band delivered a fairly streamlined 10-song album that ran 45 minutes, with none of the 10+minute epic compositions they became known for later in their career. In fact, two of the ten songs were short instrumentals and the rest of the songs were a blend of neoclassical sounds and fiery Power Metal. The album also introduces us to the vocal talents of Fabio Lione. His performance, style and delivery would soon earn him the nickname of the 'Golden God' and he would go on to become if the most recognized and in demand singers in Metal. To date Lione has appeared as a guest on over 40 releases (as of time of writing this in October 2014) as well as filling in as lead vocalist for two two high profile bands going through a vocalist crisis, namely Kamelot, temporarily replacing Roy Khan, and Angra, replacing Edu Falaschi. His performance is stellar, his operatic style driving the songs into the stratosphere. The writing team of Staropoli and Turilli, concoct a magnificent blend of Power and Classical, although the classical elements are not truly pushed to the fore as on later albums. The whole album is bombastic and over the top, injecting an energy and enthusiasm that would soon take a life if it's own.
LEGENDARY TALES was so groundbreaking and so well done that it inspired, literally hundreds of neo-classical Metal albums. It is rare when one can point to a single band or album that was a flashpoint for an entire sub genre. Almost overnight Rhapsody launched the utterly massive Italian symphonic Metal scene with literally dozens of similar bands emerging over the next couple of years. Some might question the nearly perfect score but as such an influential and innovative album that launched an entire genre, I can't think of a better candidate. If you are not a huge fan of the Italian, neoclassical, symphonic Power Metal movement and only want to have one album, you might as well make it the first one, the one that launched two empires, both Rhapsody’s and Limb Records.