When you over hear others enunciating the words cheese and Metal, as a prominent listener, you are well aware of which band they are referring to. No matter. After the legal dispute with their previous label (causing the band to be on a hiatus for 4 years), everyone's cup of tea has returned roughly with a divine retribution, a second release under the name, Rhapsody of Fire.
As the continuing 3rd Chapter of 'The Dark Secret Saga', they've now reached their 8th Full-length album; 'The Frozen Tears of Angels'. This epic adventure depicts the desire and fear of the important characters. About the five 'Brave hearts' prolonged journey to the cold Northern lands, at the undiscovered realms of the known world, finding a way to defeat the Demon Knight's prophecy. Of course as with the previous chapters, Wizard King, Christopher Lee still takes on the brief spoken parts as the story teller, managing to convey the emotions with his credible overture; being mindful of parts to be well accented without over dramatizing. Unlike the dull and unmoving narration of Genius' Episode 1 and Sabaton's Art of War, just too vigorously bash on a few.
They start you off with a grand introduction of 'Dark Frozen World', to a more dynamic setting of 'Sea Of Fate', in which contains a few seconds of detail, a dab of oriental influence in the solo, you mustn't miss. There's also an entertaining sequence of solos here. First, being the guitar, the keyboard, and then the bass. It's never been so noticeable before, but yes, this album proves that they indeed have a bass player. The third track is a strike of a well known 'Rhapsody anthem' in 'Crystal Moonlight', opposing the harsh featured vocals and chaotic sound in 'Reign Of Terror'. Then a sudden folky bit of 'Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio', fleeting its way back to their roots along course with 'Raging Starfire'. A slow, more placid composure in 'Lost in Cold Dreams', to a pure drenching solidity of 'On the Way to Ainor' - with a female voice akin to 'Myst' of Lucas Turilli's Dreamquest. Don't forget about the longest, perhaps richly and the most consistent track, 'The Frozen Tears of Angels'. Last comes 'Labyrinth of Madness', an added bonus of a 4 minute instrumental, touching an extensive side of Luca Turilli's guitar virtuosity. The man truly knows when to give way for other instruments. And then of course, he also knows when to claim his turn and exposure to create something that becomes evidently, dauntless. Though, having listened to a lot of instrumental music and being well-informed of the vast majority of guitar giants out there, nothing really helps me centralize my focus on that special piece, unfortunately. But a bonus is an added bonus, so you are in for a treat.
The mixing and mastering was done by Sascha Paeth; a well known mixer for bands such as Luca Turilli, Kamelot, Epica, Avantasia etc., so you can image just how overwhelming the quality will be. There are some new things to be expected from this. The more aggressive approach, the sheer heaviness of the music and the usual over-flowing, over the top orchestrations are still there. At times, it tends to overpower the guitar just a bit too much. But overall, nothing too drastic or radical about this album. That's not to say their sound is declining from a higher to a lower level of effectiveness. Fabio Lione's voice is still as powerful as I remember. And quite frankly, I have yet to hear a lousy release from Rhapsody of Fire. I'd like to think, they've always created something that was easy to listen to. Genial, yet classy. You know, familiar but never fails.
The Frozen Tears of Angels is unquestionably well thought out and it deserves a crown of glory, to say the least. But go on, start your talk about Rhapsody, about cheese and the slaying of dragons... I'll be prompt to allow myself in such babble and say, 'that's cheesy goodness to you, thank you very much'.