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Rhapsody's Symphony of Enchanted Lands Part II certainly lives up to the typical Rhapsody format. If you were a fan of any of the prior releases, then you've found another album to buy or download. Thus far, in my experience with Rhapsody, I haven't been overly impressed. Maybe its the vagrant use of orchestra, which isn't overly poorly done. But, unfortunately, it isn't done as well as any classical composer would've done it. I'm sure Rhapsody isn't aspiring to be Mozart, but unfortunatley, as far as orchestration goes, they should be. They were the pioneers of that style, and they do it alot better than other bands who have recently tried to imitate their orchestration idea, for example, Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir. There is a good 25 minutes of narration through out this album, signifigantly cutting it down in size, if one were evaluating it musically. The narration is done by Christopher Lee, which adds a certain appeal.
The guitars are placed intelligently, and Luca Turrilli hasn't failed us yet. He's an excellent guitarist, and he's the backbone of the band, if one of the members was. Unfortunately, the guitar is not used as frequently enough to allow for progression. You must understand, guitars are necceseraly important as long as there is plenty of keyboards and symphonics.. or so Rhapsody tries to convince us of. I'm not sure how much they've convinced me, but regardless, they manage to create epic landscapes through out the entire album.
One of my initial qualms with this album were Fabio Lione's vocals. He sings very like many power metal vocalists. While most of his epic choruses are memorable, the verses aren't always the most inspired. But, he can go from excellent vocal parts to some mediochre filler stuff. What I would call the album's interlude "Dragonland River", is a very well done keyboard/vocal solo. The vocals are done pretty remarkably well, in that particular song. He manages to campture emotions in a very classical singing style fused with english power metal.
A really stand out song on the album is "Sacred Power of Raging Winds". Its starts out with very well done power metal ballads, which changed my inital outlook on Fabio's vocals on this album. But, it goes to a really awesome flute solo. I don't know who played flutes on the album, but they manage to incorporate it really well. After, is guitar battling the symphony. Very awesome. The guitar kicks the symphonies ass, as usual.
The drummer, Alex Holzwarth, of Blind Guardian fame, is the most prevalent musician in this band. His drumming is heard throughout the album, keeping the pace in many songs, but it's stand out to say the least. This album is a definite must buy, if not a listen upon which you'll probably be drawn to buy it, as its a typical catchy Rhapsody album to add to your collection. Not bad. Definitely one of their best albums, athough they're just perfecting their style. Get it.