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I think I can safely say that there was not much doubt about the musical direction Mr. Turilli will take after the split up. No negative connotation here, because there is absolutely nothing negative in how I feel about his music. Be it in Rhapsody, Luca Turilli or Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. Some may like it, some do not. But when the discussion arise, within the boundaries of relative objectivity, one can not deny his musical ingenuity and the level of commitment. Also, within the same boundaries, one must be honest and confess that in the past, his lyrical endeavors were not always, shall we say, on the same page with the sublimity of his music. So one of the reasons I'm rating this high is also an improvement on that field.
I would like to start with music first. Few surprises there, actually. If you listened to Rhapsody and Luca Turilli, you will pretty much know what to expect. Beside the occasional appearances of something that resembles middle-eastern influence, it's safe to conclude that this is still Rhapsody we know and love. Catchy choruses, Latin choral parts, symphonic orchestrations, and as always, great deal of uplifting musical energy. Even the aforementioned eastern influence works very well with the whole, adding a tasty "spice" in this already delicious meal.
I am hardly an expert on the matter, but I think something should also be said about the production, which is becoming better and better with every new album this band release. Clean, distinct sound of instruments, without synthetic echo from the early albums, and well balanced, equally represented parts for every band member, without damping the one instrument for the whole benefit of, let's say, orchestral parts. So I guess having a relatively big budget fixes many things.
New vocals... Guy is great. Simple as that. Classically educated, refined, able to cover such vast range, perfect in applying the desired emotion in any given moment of the song. A singer well within Fabio Lione rank. Perfect choice for this, symphonic, highly emotional type of music.
Lyrically, without the restrictions of the Saga, album covers great variety of concepts such as human nature and psychology, metaphysics, ancient civilistaions, potential of the human spirit, parallel universes, technological decadence etc. Aspects of life that had always, by his own words, fascinated Mr. Turilli and the proof of that is evident even in the latest work of his original band. Only here, with the absence of mentioned limitations, those themes became much more obvious, and were allowed to evolve and flourish to their fullest potential. One thing that still remains constant, however, is the ever-present "touch" of myths and legends, and it's one of the reasons I like this album as much as I do. Although here, they are not the main topic (I know Mr. Turilli would say that they never were in the first place, but you know what I mean), but rather serve as a "facade", and the reminder that this IS a Rhapsody album with all his trademarks, enriched with the addition of somewhat expanded vocabulary.
As for the downsides of the album, I must agree with fellow reviewer and say that "Luna" truly does not belong here. I have nothing against the covers of certain pop-orientated songs (example given, Haggard -"Hijo de la Luna"), but this one, in my humble opinion, is crippling the album. And not even the whole song. I mean, Mr. Conti obviously gave his best, and it doesn't sound bad at all. But the "Only you can hear my soul" part is so awful that it succeeds in ruining the rest of the song.
All in all, another great Rhapsody release. Full of purified energy and power, with all the elements we associate with this band. Classical, symphonic orchestrations, choirs, pinch of medieval/renaissance folk tunes combined with couple of new, good-sounding surprises. As the title says, good ol'...
So, If you like Rhapsody, or this type of music in general, you should definitely check this out. I think you won't regret it.