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After the somewhat flawed yet solid debut “Legendary Tales” Rhapsody started making some changes to help perfect the sound that they had pioneered just a couple years ago. The principle alteration found first on this single and the following LP are primarily in the guitar and drum production, putting a more polished and less dampened metal edge into their brand of Neo-Classicism. Another significant change is the increase in real classical instruments verses synthesized ones, which further increases the similarities of this music with the Film Score genre, in addition to freeing up Alex Staropoli’s hands to give us more harpsichord brilliance.
“Emerald Sword” is probably the most well-known Rhapsody song, as it contains an easily recognizable guitar intro and one of the catchiest choruses ever put together. Its fast, it’s furious, yet at the same time Luca has the good sense to provide us with a guitar solo that doesn’t go overboard in the shredding department. “Where Dragons Fly” is our essential perk for collectors as it is only found here, something that I always praise when done. It has more of a Folk flavor to it than most of the other stuff found on “Symphony of Enchanted Lands”, which is probably why it wasn’t included on that album, as it almost sounds like a shorter version of the title track of the last album. “Land of Immortals” has been recorded and now features the strength of the newer production style, which ironically turns it into a slower tempo version of “Emerald Sword” with a bit more guitar majesty.
Fans of Rhapsody are encouraged to pick this up as it contains a song that can’t be found anywhere else and is reasonably priced. When placed next to the “Symphony of Enchanted Lands” album, the two albums depict a battle between the heroic Nordic Warrior riding Tharos and the undead guardian of the Emerald Sword riding a fearsome black dragon. Although the storyline itself is obviously fodder for Dungeons and Dragons freaks like me, the music on here is top notch and will satisfy anyone who likes Symphonic Music superimposed on the Power Metal genre.
Every Rhapsody fans look at this single as the most important, because it was the first and because it definitively opened the doors of metal History to the band!
Emerald Sword is considerated one of the best Rhapsody' s songs ever, here we have the same version that stands on the album.
It opens the single as an arrow in the crystal sky, followed by the slow, folkish and incredibly melancholy "Where Dragons Fly", probably the real point of interest of this single, because you can find it here only!
The modified version of "Land of Immortals" differs from the original for its sound (it seems more opened becuse of the less damped guitaring), and for the absence of the little solo-bass part in the middle, replaced by a guitar part!
A very good single and a must have for every "true" fans who know where track it down (here in Italy it' s a real rarity).