When i first bought this album i was pretty upset with the way it was presented. The cheesy pretense, the bad lyrics and song titles, turned me off quite a bit. Even the music was a bit extreme at first. I must say, however, it didnt take very long for this album to grow on me. Alex Staropoli and Luca Turilli are just fantastic musicians, their fills and solo’s never cease to impress me. Although they slightly overuse the “horror movie” progression (more well known by classical musicians as Franz Lizsts minor 3rd progression) in their song writing, they structure their songs almost perfectly. Rhapsody is definetly more talented(and MUCH better than) subpar bands like blind guardian, and stratovarius. Alex Staropoli’s usage of the keys and orchestra causes them to obtain an extremely unique and awesome sound that i must say very few bands have.Unfortunately, the only thing that brought this album down from 5 stars was the cheesy pretense and the completely non-poetic lyrics. If you can set those aside however, and just enjoy the music, then i highly recommend this album(and the others theyve done) over most of the stuff in the power/melodic metal genre. Fans of this band will also probably like Nightwish and Sonata Arctica. If you like this album then i highly recommend Nightwish’s Century Child and Sonata Arctica’s Winterheart’s Guild, those are absolutely excellent albums.
Sensational sales figures, almost a cult status amongst their fans all over the world, sold-out shows, high chart positions and thrilling performances at almost every important European metal Festival: The Italian formation Rhapsody, with their three previously released albums, Legendary Tales (1997), Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998) and Dawn Of Victory (2000) as well as the speciallly priced Album, Rain Of A Thousand Flames released last Autumn, has been able to create a totally new and unique style called ’Hollywood Metal’ and to fascinate fans all over the world with it. Power Of The Dragonflame, their fourth full length album is another episode of the exciting Emerald Sword saga and one which brings the saga to an end. Power Of The Dragonflame took form in familiar surroundings, namely in the Wolfsburg ’Gate Studios` with Sascha Paeth and Miro, themselves experienced musicians (Heavens Gate, Virgo etc) and who have been closely tied to the success of the Italian band since the beginning of Rhapsody’s career. Similar to their previous releases, the musicians Luca Turilli (guitar), Alessandro Staropoli (keyboards), Fabio Lione (vocals) and Alex Holzwarth (drums) let off a spectacular firework display of ideas, showing themselves not only as heavy, fast and aggressive, but also epic and orchestral. After the sensitive intro, ’In Tenebris’ and exciting tracks such as ’Knightrider Of Doom`, ’The March Of The Swordmaster’ and ’Steelgods Of The Last Apocalypse’ the album culminates in the closing, over 19 minute long ’Gargoyles, Angels Of Darkness’, which begins with a calm acoustic guitar prologue, accelerates in typical Rhapsody fashion and which includes the expressive, unusually theatrical voice of singer Fabio Lione. ’Gargoyles, Angels Of Darkness’ combines all of the band’s strengths: their rhythmic finesse, their epic basic structures and the hymn-like vocals.
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This album is definitely something else. At first, I couldn’t bring myself to listen to it because I looked at the CD booklet and saw the story and map to the “Emrald Sword saga”. After perusing the lyrics, I thought for sure that I had just blown 12 bucks on a peice of crap. Then, I played the album and was blown away by the power. True, the lyrics are terrible in some songs, but I find myself singing along because of the music’s power. I often stop myself on the street, realizing that I just sang something to myself about Algalord’s holy revenge. Even though the lyrics to ‘When Demons Awake’ are the worst lyrics I have ever heard/read in my life and the vocals are growls, the music is very good. Luca Turilli is an extremely talented guitarist and songwriter.Recommendations- Symphony X’s V:The New Mythology, The Odyssey, Twilight on Olympus and The Divine Wings of TragedyManowar’s Kings of Metal, Warriors of the World United and The Triumph of SteelBlind Guardian’s Nightfall on Middle-Earth and Tales from the Twilight WorldDio’s Holy Diver and Last in LineIced Earth’s Burnt OfferingsWagner’s Tannhaueser, Ring cycle, Flying DutchmanBeethoven’s Ninth SymphonyMozart’s Don Giovanni and The Magic FluteJason Becker’s Perspectives and Perpetual BurnYngwie Malmsteen’s Trilogy and InspirationsPaganini’s 24 caprices and The WitchesLots more
I have to admit, after 2 listens to the entire album straight through, I must say that this is the best album I’ve purchased since Opeth’s “Blackwater Park.” This was the first Rhapsody album I picked up and I was a bit hesitant at first only because people talk about how the music is repetitive and too over the top and whatnot. Needless to say, I dont’ believe this. Rhapsody’s music is catagorized as “Epic Hollywood Metal.” To anyone who has yet to own this record, DON’T take that catagorization seriously. Associating the word “Hollywood” with this seems to me a huge slap in the face of a great piece of Art. Yes, it is Epic Metal, it does utilize almost every instrument you can think of, from guitars to keyboards to flutes to violins to even choirs in a lot of the songs. If listening to this doesn’t transport you back to medieval times, you don’t have ears! Most of the songs on this record are very epic and loud, but the blend of guitars and orchestrations are so perfect in many parts you’ll feel that this is the ONLY Rhapsody CD you’ll ever need (hard to believe they have 4 other albums besides this!). It’s just all together so much fun to listen to, the melodies and driving rhythms are all simply breathtaking. Chorus’s, like many power metal bands, are the shining moments on this album, many using grand choirs as I said before and are so uplifting and empowering you won’t know what hit you. There is one slow track in the mix that really isn’t metal at all, more like a very dramatic opera song, if you can get past the drama and non-metal sound, you’ll start to love it. On another note, the lead singer’s got an incredible voice and is definitely up there with Russell Allen of Symphony X (my favorite power metal vocalist) The final track is a 19 minute epic, I see it as more 16 minutes because the song really ends after that much; another great song w/ great chorus work. Now, as much as I love this CD, it’s not PERFECT. No album really is, but giving it any less than 5 stars just feels wrong to me. Anyway, there are FEW moments in the album where the keyboard work is just so cheesy it almost sounds like something out of an old Atari video game. These usually don’t last more than 3 seconds though. One other small hindrence was the last song, where towards the end, some voiceovers are used to try to create some kind of story I guess, but the voice used is just so flat and undramatic it just sounds like the guy’s reading off a piece of paper (anyone who owns Blind Guardian’s “Nightfall In Middle Earth” knows what kind of voice acting I mean). These are such small imperfections that they almost feel worthless mentioning, so don’t let them deter you from buying this.This isn’t one of those albums that a bunch of people say is amazing but when you go to hear it you find it boring, I find too many albums with overrated reviews like that. This album truly is amazing, and one should know because I don’t give 5 starts to just anything that’s “pretty good.” What MIGHT turn people off to this is its epicness. This is more for fans of power fantasy inspired metal and less for fans of Pantera/Slayer/Metallica etc. I’m addicted to this CD, the first couple of days I had it I probably played it 10 times over, I just still can’t get enough of it; definitely one of the best CD’s in my collection. Just a reminder, if this doesn’t grab you the first time, don’t give up on it. Spending 18 bucks on a CD and then listening to it once and discarding it seems to me pretty silly, right? Do yourself a HUUUUGE favor and buy this album now!
Rhapsody’s latest album is sure to make their fans happy. Yeah, the lyrics are cheesy, but the music is so good you’ll want to sing along anyway. There aren’t really any tracks that jump out and grab me right away, but that means there aren’t any weak points or “filler” songs either. Everything on this album is done very well, except of course for that blasted narrator we’ve all come to know and hate. The good news is that he only shows up in one song. The bad news is that it’s in the 20-minute finale. When, oh when will they get rid of him? Maybe if and when they do, I’ll consider giving Rhapsody five stars.
My first impression of this album was a bit off. I didn’t have Rain of a Thousand Flames in hand yet and the difference between this album and Dawn of Victory is HUGE ! Another reviewer here complained that the format is the same, well yeah, I can’t argue that. ALL Rhapsody albums start with an instrumental intro and then rage into a powerful, in-your-face charge. That being a given, this album is far heavier than Dawn of Victory. If you did pick up the Rain of a Thousand Flames EP, it won’t seem that heavy as Rain really bridges the two albums quite nicely. In my opinion Power of the Dragonflame combines the best of Dawn of Victory and Rain of a Thousand Flames and mixes them flawlessly. Dragonflame doesn’t seem quite as rough as Rain was, the songs are much more fluid and focused. The songs also range from extremely heavy to soft ballads, a pace determined by, as well as complimentary to the story of the final chapter of The Emerald Sword Saga.If you are new to Rhapsody, and are considering this as your first album, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, however be aware this is by far their heaviest album. The final battles of the free world against all the forces of evil take place in the story on this album, meaning there are a lot of very intense songs. Compared to Symphony of Enchanted Lands, much of that albums harmonious melodies have been dropped for agression and power. This fits the story. I just want potential newcomers to be aware that this band has various albums ranging every area of metal.The intro “In Tenebris” is what you would expect from a Rhapsody intro, powerful and majestic.”Knightrider of Doom” is a very fast and powerful song and one of my favorites on this album. This is one of the two really heavy songs that caught me off guard when I first heard this album.”Power of the Dragonflame” is the other one. It starts like a death metal song, but once you hear the chorus, you realize you are listening to the most majestic Rhapsody song ever written. A very fitting tribute to the might of the Dragon. “The March of the Swordmaster” is a classic Rhapsody song. Dungeons & Dragons in metal. I love the chorus of this song. “When Demons Awake” is a slower, but very heavy song. In many ways this is a song that could have been on the first album if it wasn’t so heavy, it has that kind of atmosphere to it.”Agony is my Name” Ah yes, a no nonsense song that has all the makings of a great live tune. Strong and aggresive it has a great chorus with plenty of power to it.”Lamento Eroico” In a surprising turn, Rhapsody recorded this song all in Italian. The music is beautiful and haunting and I definately love the song…..I just wish I knew what they were saying.”Steelgods of the Last Apocalypse” While this song is a great song, if I had to pick a weak link on this album, this would be it. There’s just not much to the song. It seems to lack purpose.The chorus is catchy but overall the song just doesn’t live up to the rest of the album. “The Pride of the Tyrant” Majestic and uplifting, this song portrays the spirit of those making their last stand in a hopeless battle perfectly. I get chills listening to the chorus.”Gargoyles, Angels of Darkness” I won’t even try to describe this masterpiece. It is the crowning achievement of Rhapsody’s legacy of great songs (so far). My absolute favorite song.One last note, if you can spare the extra cash, get the 2-disc/DVD combo version of this album, it has a bonus song called “Rise from the Sea of Flames” that is one of the five best songs on the album. If you’re a fan, you’ll kick yourself if you miss out on having that song.Every album is better than the last, and Power of the Dragonflame is no exception. I cannot recommend this album enough !!