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Luca Turilli is an awesome guitar player and composer. His solo projects have been very diverse and controversial, but I think for the most part we all can agree that he is a pretty damn good solo artist. At first I was a little miffed that Luca and Patrice left Rhapsody of Fire, but I have seen Rhapsody of Fire live since and I have listened to this new album and have come to a conclusion: having two Rhapsody's is an amazing thing. Oliver Holzwarth is finally getting the attention he deserves and Michael Ticheli is an awesome guitar player. In the meantime, Luca Turilli is finally realizing his dreams in all their cheesy and epic glory. This album really does sound like a Luca Turilli album with a bigger budget and a better singer, I love it. The style of this is very symphonic, but it still has plenty of double bass drum 16th notes and awesome guitar playing. I absolutely love the use of choirs and orchestras in this because it adds so much emotional impact and just really immerses you in the music.
The opening is soooo cheesy, I'm still not quite sure whether I like it or not. In fact that kind of summarizes my initial thoughts on this album. It was kind of like "what the fuck did I just hear?". After about three listen throughs I realized that this is not only a really good album, it's also a very unique and personally I believe it will be highly influential. The only issue I have with this album is Luna. This song is a replacement for Fantasia Gotica, which was cut from the album during production due to time issues. This song sucks, it's some kind of Italian pop ballad which does not belong on a power metal album. This really is a great power metal album album; I'm actually taking off 8 percent for Luna alone, once they actually release Fantasia Gotica I'll probably bump up the score a bit.
The best songs on this are: Dante's Inferno, Excalibur, Tormento e Passione, Dark Fate of Atlantis.. Screw it, everything except Luna is a highlight. Ascending to Infinity is a really neat song with a chorus that's not necessarily catchy, but musically it's amazing and very uplifting and immersive. Dante's Inferno and Tormento e Passione are both really amazing songs and probably the two best ever written by Rhapsody. Neither of them are fast, they're very dark and mid-paced , but they manage to be very epic by building up to these epic climaxes and very dramatic and emotive crescendos. Tormento e Passione is a very operatic song with soaring vocals that wouldn't sound out of place at all in an opera. Excaliber is a neat song with a folk opening with a flute that is very reminiscent of Rhapsody's own Village of Dwarves,then it gets into the heavier stuff. The best part of this song is the chorus; Luca played with a very interesting idea on this one, since it's a mini epic (at about 8 minutes) he didn't want to give away the chorus right away. To do this he brings in the chorus about three or four times during the song, but the first few times instead of letting it build all the way up to the high notes and it's climax it goes up and then down again (note wise). This was a really smart decision because it really adds to the epic-ness of this and for those of you who know it's coming it really leaves you anticipating the full chorus in all it's glory (the full chorus was in the preview of this album). That sort of epic build-up is really effective and really cool. Dark Fate of Atlantis was the single of this album; and what a cool single it was, it starts off with a very Indian sounding part with a lady singing and some horns in the background adding to the feel. It then goes right into one of the most awesome guitar riffs Luca has ever written; its not too heavy and it's very technical with some great soloing including an awesome bass solo! It's also got a very catchy chorus.... Wait, you know what, I'm not handing out points to this band anymore for catchy chorus's unless they're really, REALLY good. Birds fly, fish swim, Michael Atkinson molests dogs and Rhapsody writes really catchy chorus's. Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's fall is of course the eye catching 16 minute epic that Luca LOVES putting in his albums. It is very good and has everything a good epic needs, including less narration *cough, cough, Heroes of the Waterfall Kingdom, cough*. While it is really good, this is nothing new; the first half of this album is really fresh and unusual, yet really really good. The second half is good, but kind of formulaic and nothing new. Clash of the Titans is okay, but it's kind of a tangled mess and it doesn't really have a catchy chorus. But atmospherically it's really good with a cool little part at the beginning where you hear police sirens and normal city sounds as a metropolis is attacked by titans.
All in all this is a very unique album for Rhapsody and fairly standard fair for a Luca Turilli album only with a bigger budget. I really want to give this a better score, but Luna is really bad and Clash of the Titans is really average. The rest of this album is a great Rhapsody album and Alessandro Conti is an awesome singer, I absolutely love his range and he does a really good job with the more operatic stuff like in Tormento e Passione, this is definitely a must buy album and I recommend it to all power metal fans.