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Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Vol. 2: The Dark Secret

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  • hello fellow metallians, i just have got to say that this album really grows on you over time. every album by rhapsody to me are all masterpieces in their own right, this cd continues the symphonic epic style that rhapsody has truly perfected and crafted into what is one of the most amazing styles of metal that i have ever heard. this album is truly epic in scope and full of memorable moments. i love the song never forgotten heros, it has some of the most beautiful intricate and delicatly slaying guitar work ever to emerge from the finger tips of luca turilli, this song is by far one of the best songs to ever be recorded by a symphonic band. fabio sings so perfectly on this album, never have i heard him put so much effort into his vocals as he has on this song(never forgotten heros) just listen to the main guitar solo. it will melt your mind. also the song unholy warcry is awesome, and typical rhapsody. from amazing power metal ballads to 10+minute epics, this cd keeps the rhapsody flame burning and shows that the future of rhapsody is to be as brilliant and majestic as their past. if you are new to the power metal scene and are interrested in hearing rhapsody and you wish to find out what all the hype about rhapsody is, or if you just want to hear for your self if they are truly as great as they are said to be then start out with the cd,(rhapsody-tales from the emerald sword saga) because it is a perfect way to get to know rhapsody. it has the best songs from their first 5 albums and is truly one of the greatest best of cd’s ive ever heard. there are so many great power metal bands out today trying to keep the flame alive and i am so very thankfull for all of them. rhapsody are truly up there with the top 10 of the whole pack. so many bands are trying to immitate rhapsody and some of them are very good, but none of them can hope to compare with the masters of symphonic epic power metal RHAPSODY.
    your friend and brother in metal, brandon whitson

    Posted on February 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I have been listening to Rhapsody for about four years now and they are one of the few bands I can say I enjoy more today than I did yesterday. I’ve heard their songs hundreds of times yet only find them to get better and better with time. I, like many other Rhapsody fans, were greatly anticipating Rhapsody’s latest effort Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret. I knew before hearing a note that it would be amazing since this is Rhapsody afterall, however, I did not expect it to be just as wonderful and amazing as it is … a true surprise! Now that you have a little background information with my experience (and bias) with Rhapsody I will continue you on to the actual content of the album.

    Being called Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret it is natural to assume this album will sound something like the first Symphony Of Enchanted Lands album. The good news about this is, it does! However, please do not even begin to think this is some sort of lame carbon-copy of the first Symphony Of Enchanted Lands album … it certainly is far from it! Along with sounding something like the first Symphony album, you can also hear plenty of elements to the post-Symphony era albums such as the heavier guitars and the extensive use of choirs. As for the instrumentation, you will find a return to the frequent harpsichord use and even a return of the glorious organ … pure glorious splendor! :-D

    For the songs themselves, you can expect a good variety as you can on any Rhapsody release. You’ve got the fast numbers like Unholy Warcry and The Last Angels’ Call as well as your epics like Erian’s Mystical Rhymes and Sacred Power Of Raging Wings (as heard on The Dark Secret EP). I’d like to comment also on the two ballads: The Magic Of The Wizard’s Dream and Guardiani Del Destino. I openly admit I’m a sucker for Rhapsody’s ballads and I believe these two are of their best. Although we’ve heard the English version of Guardiani Del Destino (Guardians Of Destiny) on The Dark Secret EP, the true beauty of the song comes out in the Italian version … have a Kleenex ready!

    Lyrically, of course, you can expect a continuation of the great saga Rhapsody has written into new and exciting depths as well as an incredible anticipation for the next album! ;-) I am also glad to say that Rhapsody has included some lyrics and passages here about the beauty of our glorious Mother Earth – I love it! :-)

    Basically, if you’re a Rhapsody fan you need this album. If you’re not, you should buy this album and become one! ;-) Enjoy it folks!

    Posted on February 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • First of all, I really have to thank the great and unique Christopher Lee for helping this beautiful and unique band! This gorgeous album begins with Lee’s narration, filled with much feeling… it really feels like a narration for The Lord Of The Rings!! Lee knows how to do it!!! When he quit talking, the choir begins to work!! Oh, GOD!!! What a terrific choir!! It’s GLORIOUS!! Sometimes, this album, is like a horror movie.

    Then, “Unholy Warcry” comes!! Great symphonic sounds!! Brute force!! And the terror-like choir!! Lione sings really good in this song! And the guitar solo ROCKS!!! This is a GREAT SONG, seriously.

    “Never Forgotten Heroes” is kind of a rhapsody that contains some parts from “Thunder’s Mighty Roar” (from the EP)and from “Wisdom Of The Kings” (SOEL I). Staropoli, the keyboardist, imporoves his style until it reaches to the very soul of the listener! The choir in this song, as in the whole album, is GREAT!!

    “Elgard’s Green Valleys” is a really short song that I’d call kind of an INTRO to “The magic Of The Wizard’s Dream”, which is a BEAUTIFUL balad, that begins with a heart-feel flute!

    “Erian’s Mystical Rhymes” is… OH!!!!!! For me, this song is the best from this band!!!! They had never made such a GLORIOUS and horror-movie-like song!! When you hear it, you’ll understand perfectly what I mean!! They passed through the limits of beauty with this one! This is, besides, the most symphonic in all the album!!

    “The Last Angel’s Call” is like a comedy made music!! It’s GREAT!! It’s filled with pure happiness and hope and it’s… yes, definitely a joke song!! You MIGHT listen to it!!

    “Dragonland’s River” is also a BEAUTIFUL balad!!! Well, really this band has the BEST ballads of all the metal bands’!!!! The Flute reaches the heart of the listener and the harpsichord and the vocalist fill it with hope and happiness… I can’t say why this band is capable of making the listener a happier person! But it does!

    “Sacred Power Of Raging Winds” is, like Erian’s Mystical Rhymes, kind of a mini rock-opera! This one begins with Christpher Lee acting like a Wizard that asks the power of the wind to help the heroes cross the mountains! REALLY GREAT!!! Lee KNOWS how to do it! And the, the guitar comes with a terror sound, completely filled with arrengements!!! This band is the best with the arrangements!!! In this song, besides, there’re FOUR MINUTES OF GLORIOUS INSTRUMENTAL POWER!! You have to listen to it!

    “Guardiani del Destino” is THE BEST RHAPSODY BALLAD!!! It’s not a ballad, perhaps… no… Is a medieval Empyrium-like song that will bring the listener back to the Middle Age! it’s REALLY VERY WELL DONE!! It’s gorgeous!!

    If think this album can’t go any darker… ha! Listen to “Shadows Of Death”, that begins with tryumphant trumpets and a dark and acid and heavy guitar riff!!!! This and the last song (“Nightfall on The Grey Mountain”, hte GRAND FINALE!!)are the darkest of the entire album!! And is filled with virtuosism and long solos! The best Heavy-Rock Rhapsody song!!

    “Nightfall on the Grey Mountain” Reminds of hope!! It’s the GRAND FINALE! It’s VERY DARK but, then it goes VERY TRYUMPHANT!! You have to listen to this one!! Words can’t descrbe it!

    Well, I can really swear you’re NOT going to be dissapointed if you purchase this album! If you are a Fan of symphonic Epic power Metal, you HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS BAND AND, EVEN MORE TO THIS ALBUM! :D

    Hope this review to be helpful
    PD: Sorry for writing such a long review

    Posted on February 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After Rhapsody delivered the triumphant conclusion to their ongoing Emerald Sword Saga with 2002’s Power of the Dragonflame, a lot of metal fans were left wondering what the band would do next, and how they could possibly top their previous efforts. To their credit, Rhapsody spared no expense in making 2004’s Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Part II: the Dark Secret their most epic and ambitious album to date. Unfortunately this strategy did not pay off.

    On the surface, it makes perfect sense for a power metal band as symphonically oriented as Rhapsody to hire a huge orchestra to augment their album, and casting Christopher Lee (Saruman from the Lord of the Rings films) seemed like a stroke of genius, especially after the godawful narration of the band’s previous albums. The only thing Luca Turilli and company needed to do was come up with an album worthy of these enhancements. Besides, the time was ripe for the band to come up with some fresh ideas, new storylines, and generally take their music to a new level. Instead Luca went back to the trough to “revisit” the themes from the band’s first Symphony of Enchanted Lands album, and by revisit I mean they essentially ripped themselves off. There’s absolutely nothing on this album that you haven’t already heard from Rhapsody. The concepts, lyrics, and arrangements are so similar to previous efforts that it borders on self-parody. On its own merits it is a perfectly decent symphonic power metal album, but when you hold it up against the band’s earlier works it just falls short of expectations.

    Ultimately, Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Part II was a wake up call for this metal fan. In the past I was able to look past the band’s cheesier aspects because they were so good at this kind of music, and they seemed to improve with each album. With this album, the band definitely took two steps back, and it proved to be the album that cured me of my Rhapsody affection. Oh well, we’ll always have the Emerald Sword albums.

    Posted on February 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Since their 1997 debut, “Legendary Tales”, Rhapsody has been churning at an average rate of one album per 14 months (6 albums in 7 years). At that rate and with the specific genre the band has spearheaded, they are bound to run out of ideas.

    And this album does it. Rhapsody simply doesn’t know what to do anymore.

    Before I go into the review, I urge you to not dismiss this review as someone who doesn’t like the band or the genre. Rhapsody is one of my all-time favorite artists and I love every release (in fact, my expectations for “The Dark Secret” were, perhaps, astronomically unfair). Every album before this one has had something amazing to offer, be it a melody, a song, or a series of songs.

    But “The Dark Secret” doesn’t do it. The Italian quintet, which has earned its title in the power metal circuit as the most pompous and extravagant band, returned to their songwriting formula and exhausted it. Songs like “Unholy Warcry” have a choir, which is nothing new, and a chorus that deviates in one note from the norm (no big surprise there). The third song, “Never Forgotten Heroes” is probably the best song on the album *but* (and please try this) it is almost a direct copy of the third track on “Symphony of Enchanted Lands”: “Wisdom of the Kings” (a superior track). It’s uncanny. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this, or if the band thought this would go by undetected.

    The band pulled off a successful 19-minute song (“Gargoyles, Angels of Darkness”) in their last release with a variety of melodies, adequate sectioning, and a constantly evolving melodic structure. But the two painfully long 10-minute offerings on “The Dark Secret” (“Sacred Power of Raging Winds” and “Erian’s Mystical Rhymes”) drag on for hours. The delectable celtic number on the “Rain of a Thousand Flames” EP (“Elnor’s Magic Valley”) is butchered in a mediocre clone with almost *the exact same name*: “Elgard’s Green Valleys”. Finally, the album’s ballad, “The Magic of the Wizard’s Dream” is another “Wings of Destiny”, just with a different name and some baritone singers in the background.

    Did (all of) this not bother anyone else?

    The addition of Christopher Lee does nothing to improve the band’s catalog because frankly, I doubt that anyone really cares *that much* about the fantastic storyline behind their albums. I’m strapped to find people who can regurgitate the so-called “Algalord Chronicles” because even the biggest fans are in it for the medieval melodies and razor-sharp guitars.

    The album’s saving graces are few. The artwork is beautiful (as always), and the production is stellar. “Never Forgotten Heroes” and the innovative “Guardiani del Destino” are definitely great songs, but in small quantities. Overall, the album is very repetitive and lacks the truly outstanding tracks that have made their previous releases must-have’s. Where are the “Pride of the Tyrant”’s? The “Village of Dwarves”’s? The “Land of Immortals”’s?

    I say: wait a few years. Regenerate your creative energies, and come back to the studio with something new. Please.

    See also: The entire Rhapsody catalog, but namely “Symphony of Enchanted Lands”

    Posted on February 20, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now