Rhapsody of Fire
From Chaos to Eternity

1. Ad Infinitum
2. From Chaos to Eternity
3. Tempesta di Fuoco
4. Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds
5. Anima Perduta
6. Aeons of Raging Darkness
7. I Belong to the Stars
8. Tornado
9. Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom
10 Flash of the Blade (Iron Maiden cover, digipack Bonus Track)

Fabio Lione (vocals)
Luca Turilli (guitars)
Tom Hess (guitars)
Alessandro Staropoli (Keyboards)
Patrice Guers (bass)
Alex Holzwarth (Drums)
Christopher Lee (Narrator)

Legendary Tales (1997)
Symphony of Enchanted Lands (1998)
Dawn of Victory (2000)
Power of the Dragonflame (2002)
Symphony of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret (2004)
Triumph or Agony (2006)
The Frozen Tears of Angels (2010)



Released 20/6-2011
Reviewed 23/6-2011

nuclear blast

It doesn't matter how much you'd like to give Rhapsody of Fire a hard time because you always have to admit that this band always deserve some credit for what they've accomplished. They might have spent their 15 years as a band making a series of album with dragons, magical swords and other mystical creatures, but they've also made some really good albums with an innovative sound mixing classical music with metal. Unfortunately it's not only the music we remember but the crazy statements, childish lyrics and strange music titles as well (everything from "epic fantasy metal" to "the grand masters of epic symphonic Hollywood metal" and "film score metal"). Sadly it's also the sad truth that we remember the albums as much for their superb usage of classical melodies and harmonies combined with the electric guitars as a pouring streams, dancing children and their many storyteller voices.

Rhapsody of Fire has a quite stunning record of sales and chart positions where every album they've released has been at the charts at least in one country (but they're yet shy of reaching the top ten) and to do that whilst being an Italian power metal band is quite impressing considering what era this band comes from. They've kept themselves in the top spot of modern hard rock bands, even though they've been a somewhat less interesting conversation since changing their name in 2006 and then the thing that happened with Magic Circle that forced them to take a two year hiatus from releasing albums. However, a new Rhapsody of Fire album always turn a lot of heads and here is the eight album by the Italians, which also is the final episode of their fantasy tale they've kept going since album one.

The initial idea was to call Rhapsody of Fire muppets, wimps and childish pussies. Their fantasy theme was somewhat fun and interesting in the beginning, but the longer it's been running the more tragic and pathetic it's become. I don't know if Rhapsody has finally grown up or if they're about to make up a new fantasy theme for their next album, but as they announced the release of 'From Chaos to Eternity' they also made it very clear that this was the end of their fantasy tales and that the next album will be a result of them moving forward from the tale about the Emerald Sword they've kept going during two stories and eight albums. Their saddened and almost heartbreaking tone as they declared this and how big this was for the band made me realise that all though Hallowed makes fun of everyone and anyone, maybe this was the time to actually show some respect. And by that I think I've done so, now let's skip ahead to my review of the album:

’From Chaos to Eternity’ continues where 'Frozen Tears of Anger’ left of and narrator Christopher Lee explains to us all how we ended up where we start this album. Now, Daniel had quite an interesting point on Lees performance on the last album (read his review by checking the link in the discography), which was "his voice is as fun to listen to as it is to vomit all over your home and then clean it up" and I don't see it anything differently. Christopher Lee sounds as he himself has been vomiting all over his home (and had to clean it up) and it's pretty close that I do the same when listening to him. He sounds like a 90 year old man with the mind of a three years old, running around with a stick that he fantasies of being a laser sword. As usual when it comes to Rhapsody, their music is filled to the limit with classical arrangements and virtuoso guitars in the neo classical school built around the fast power metal this band has made themselves known for. However, it's not unusual that spoken word parts that are minutes long and scenery mood sounds that's there to specify our location are cramped in to the story just to further give room for their story. The band themselves say it's been decreased for this album, and maybe it has - I can't really tell, but I think it's as much as it's always been even though it's made by electric guitars this time instead of orchestras or Alexander Staropolis keyboards.

Daniel also said in his review of ’Frozen Tears of Anger’ that it's been heading downhill for this band since 'Dawn of Victory' and also this I can concur with, to some extent. I think what's really been moving downhill is the level on which w e can take this band seriously. To me it feels as if things only gets more and more ridiculous with every album, which is due both to the fact that they've done this for so long without altering the story (even though the music has change quite much) but also because it seems as if they with every album goes further and further in to it and does it more for real with every album. The want to make their music grand and mighty, but everytime they try to do so I look at my feet shamefully after snorting at it. This album makes me feel they've sunk really low until I remember that this is suppose to be their final episode of this, the ending of it all and then I start to think that maybe Rhapsody of Fire has simply put more effort in to making this exaggerated simply because it's the conclusion and final part. Seen to other popular culture, that's truthfully often an excuse for the makers to loose all boundaries and make something completely unduly. However, if that's the case it doesn't make it any less silly, all though perhaps more understandably. And because of this I look even more closely for the positives with the album.

Above all I think it is the best of the songs that are this albums biggest plus, just as the weakest songs are the biggest minus (since they really suck big time!). The album have nine songs and have a decent playing time ticking in at just above 37 minutes. That is until the almost 20 minutes long conclusion track called Heroes Of The Waterfall start and makes the album just shy of the hour. The song in itself consist of five acts that is very different to eachother in character, but keeps together story-wise (at least somewhat better than the other songs). In this mess Rhapsody even have a part where they use shouting as vocals, which is very uncharacteristic to this band and normally has its place in thrash metal. This gigantic song feels almost like a hurricane and goes in to different states of chaos with different narrator voices and speaking parts that just traps this song inside some sort of geek-cage where it gets deeper and deeper inside. Christopher Lee groans and moans like he was about to have an orgasm and around him there are tales of Dargor and whatever to the infinite. The album, which until this song was a pretty good one, ends with this endless negative spiral that takes them to a level that deserves all kind of criticism. In my opinion, Rhapsody would have ended the album better if they so were to spend ten minutes farting instead of this over ambitious and over geeky piece.

So much for the positive? Well, I'm sure you'll like this album if you normally like this band. The real question, though, is whether or not this is the best album you've ever heard? It isn't. Is it the best album you've heard from Rhapsody of Fire? Most likely no. So is it at least the best Rhapsody of Fire album the last ten years? I don't expect you to think that either. 'From Chaos to Eternity' is sometimes amazing and sometimes embarrassing and all in all it gives them a grade right in the middle. I think the most positive we can take from this album is that this is probably the last thing we'll hear from Christopher Lee on a Rhapsody of Fire album. It's also an album that at least hints of Rhapsody growing up slightly. The door is open at least, now all they have to do is walk through it.

Regardless, the ending of the Rhapsody fantasy tales goes down with a crash, boom and a bang - and probably the most ridiculous album so far from the Italians. I for one think that compared to the earliest albums, the flame of this band has somewhat died away


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands- Manowar/Dark Moor/Luca Turilli
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
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