Another brilliant record from Rhapsody. SOEL is surely one of thier best records. I personally didn’t enjoy this one as much as Power of the Dragonflame but it comes a very very close second. Rhapsody takes a different approach with this album, they not only use the choirs, keyboards and speed metal sounds of their other albums but experimented very successfully with classical renaissance music. Lots of these songs break from speed metal power to these classical interludes a lot during SOEL, which in turn I would say makes this album to Rhapsody, as Orchid is to Opeth, thier most instrumental album. It is also their most upbeat, optimistic, “prettiest” sounding album so to speak. The album kicks off great with Emerald Sword, the opening choirs just suck you in and take you on a journey to midevil lands you never once knew, it opens up the imagination incredibly. Then comes the classical parts, and I don’t know any other way to describe them but beyond brilliant. Why? because they all work so well with the rest of the songs and just caress your ears so finely they force you to hit the repeat button over and over. An incredibly pleasing piece of music to listen to indeed. Their one ballad off the album is also amazing I must say; gorgeous romantic melodies entrance you in no time. Now, why not the 5 star review? well, as much as I loved this album I couldn’t help but feel that a song or 2 just seemed to get carried away with themselves towards the end, dragging a little. Then there’s the voice actor. Oh, that Rhapsody voice actor. He’s so cheesy he just sounds like someone they pulled off the street and paid 10 bucks to to read some lines and try to act. In one part he was crying in fear and hope and I couldn’t help but start laughing. Please Rhapsody, if you’re reading this, STOP THE VOICE ACTING, IT’S HORRIBLE! Also, I felt one of the tracks somewhat mediocre.But that’s all, otherwise this is a wonderfully beautiful album that no power metal fan should be without. It’s not exactly 5 star material in my book but it comes very close. Most of the score just comes from successful creativity, I’ve honestly never heard anything like this, even from power metal. I wish Rhapsody would use that classical stuff on more of their albums, it works so well with this one it’s staggering. Needless to say, a must buy.