Rhapsody of Fire - Dark Wings of Steel

Greetings one and all to the halls of metal, blessed by the gods themselves. It's Cecil here, and today I have something for all of you. Hailing from the Italian lands we have Rhapsody of Fire's latest album Dark Wings of Steel, and I'm not sick of it yet. Now, before I get started, let me just get comfortable with a nice strong drink.

There we are. So! First of all, I just want to say that this is NOT to be confused with Rhapsody, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody or even just Luca Turilli as he had nothing to do with this album at all. Personally, this was neither a selling point for me, nor a deal-breaker and I will tell you why. I have been a fan of Rhapsody for several years and I can admit that I've never been obsessed about them to comment before this album. If you're a fan of power metal, then you know who Luca Turilli is, and just invoking his name will probably get a few songs ringing through your head. Get them out. Keyboardist Alex Staropoli's composition, along with Fabio Lione's powerful vocals, now have the chance to explore other sides of their respective creative coins without Luca's presence on this album, and we notice a few changes. There is less emphasis on melody and more attention to detail. I don't mean that the album is not melodic, but when you compare tracks such as "Fly to Crystal Skies" or "Tears of Pain to the Ancient Forest of Elves" (I know that was a solo album), you notice a reduction of intense guitar solos with more emphasis on bringing the music together, much like a very passionate round of musical foreplay.

Of course, any good power metal album would not be complete without a ballad or two, and much like regular foreplay, you kind of want to get to the good part. Some people may be thrilled with the occasional ballad, I know I'm fine with them myself, but Lione has treated us with a full 5 minutes in Italian with the song "Custode Di Pace". I'm not sure how many people there are in North America that are fluent in Italian and enjoy power metal, but chances aren't that high. While I'm here, I'll let you know that track 4, the aptly named "My Sacrifice", will have you sitting and possibly grinding your teeth for a solid 8 minutes. You're welcome.

All in all, this is a power metal album and if you're a fan of the power (as I know I am!) you will find yourself banging your head (or brushing your hair) to several of the tracks since, hell, the album very solid. Staropoli was given a chance and he took his own angle on it, but don't take me at my word. Go ahead and listen!

Personal rating: 3.5/5

Recommended tracks: 2, 6, and 9


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