Monday, December 9, 2013

Rhapsody of Fire - Dark Wings of Steel (2013)

I have never understood the greatness with Rhapsody of Fire. I should like their theatrical and grand power metal sound, but for some unknown reason, I never really get turned on with their music. Maybe this was the time to finally love the band now that one of the founders and main composers Luca Turilli have left the band to further develop his "movie music" in Luca Turilli's Rhapsody.

"Dark Wings of Steel" is the 10th album by the Italians and even if Luca has left the band, I consider this album as slightly more theatrical than its controversial predecessor "From Chaos To Eternity", mostly because there is no song here that screams metal like "Aeons of Raging Darkness". But the music is not so theatrical that it could be seen as movie music, which is the last thing I want to hear. I believe that movie music belongs on the big screen and not in a CD format.

The overall standard is pretty high on this album and I cannot find a single filler here. Everything here sounds really nice, like the beautiful Italian ballad "Custode Di Pace" (means peace keeper), the epic "Angel of Light" and the symphonic "A Tale of Magic". But just like with any other Rhapsody of Fire album, I cannot point to a individual song that could stand high and pride by itself. These songs creates an stable and good album together, but they are not very special at all individually, which is of course a shame since "Dark Wings of Steel" is a very solid piece of fine musicianship.

However, the biggest problem with "Dark Wings of Steel" is the lack of memorability in the songs. The only chorus I can remember after the first two listening sessions is "Fly To Crystal Skies", and that is only because of Fabio Lione's weird pronunciation of crystal (or as he says it, criestel). As soon as one song is done, I have to go back to it only to remember what I was listening to, even if I have heard the album several times. And no, I do not suffer from Alzheimers disease if you wondered that.

But even if the album has some slight problems, it still exceeds my expectations. "Dark Wings of Steel" does not convince me that Rhapsody of Fire can create world class music, but it keeps me interested with its unique sound and fine craftsmanship. Actually, I think it is one of the better Rhapsody of Fire albums made so far. But is the band better than Luca Turilli's Rhapsody? For now, yes, but Luca can still catch up if his next album is a killer (an album that is set for an release during next year). But for now, "Dark Wings of Steel" will have to do for the fans and the ones that despises Rhapsody of Fire may have to keep looking at other directions for something they will like.

Songs worthy of recognition: A Tale of Magic, Custode Di Pace, Fly To Crystal Skies

Rating: 7/10 Angels of Light

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