Reviewed: May 2000
Released: 1998, Limb Music Products / SPV
For many of us in North America, Rhapsody is not yet a household name. That is slowly changing, thanks to the domestic release of their CD’s. If you’ve heard their music then words like: breath-taking, majestic, uplifting, melodic, symphonic, powerful, etc…are apt. This is not music for the masses, but for those who like power metal with a blend of classical / symphonic elements. Rhapsody have created something unique and not like the legions who are content to march on in Helloween’s footsteps.
Symphony of Enchanted Lands is part two in the story that began on the band’s first CD Legendary Tales. Tales of dragons, swords and the battle of good against evil are covered in the storyline done in the fashion of great fantasy writers like Terry Brooks, David Eddings and the master J.R.R. Tolkien. This is but one aspect of what is appealing about this band to me. What really puts this over the top is the blend of the classical elements with power/speed metal. This is not just some orchestra thrown over some tunes but is written as a piece of music that when combined becomes one cohesive unit that borders on the creation of a new style of metal. Some might call this pompous, but I call it adventurous. They are able to maintain heaviness despite the incorporation of classical sounds. Imagine loads of double kicks, galloping rhythms and soaring vocals with often hymn-like choruses – glorious!
This is not the first time that someone has blended classical and power metal but it’s the best composed, written and played combination that I’ve heard. Not all of this music is “happy” sounding. Take for example the intro to the song “Eternal Glory.” Although classical, it sounds like it could of come from the Conan the Barbarian movie. The song on the CD that I first latched onto was the track “Emerald Sword.” This has one of those choruses that you’ll have beating around in your head for a while – it’s infectious! The last track on the CD clocks in at over 13 mins. According to what I’ve read, once recorded, this piece alone took one week to mix (at the hands of none other than Sascha Paeth and Miro)! It’s not surprising, as there are so many parts in it. The layers of guitars, vocals, keyboards and classical elements are amazing. Luca Turilli is to put it simply a musical genius! To be able to orchestrate this is not some insignificant skill.
The music on Symphony of Enchanted Lands is not for those looking for straight-up power metal. This is much more diverse and complex. Fans of neo-classical speed metal and prog/power metal will be the first to jump on this. I’m also sure that there are some fans of classical music out there who, if they gave this a chance, would be quite surprised. For more information on the band and on Luca Turilli please check out our Featured Artist section for an introduction to the band.
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