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Once again Rhapsody Of Fire releases more of the same, but I'm not complaining. Abiding by the rule 'If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It', this talented Power Metal band from Italy has released more of the same music that can be best described as 'Film Score Influenced Power Metal.' With Orchestras, Choirs, and Operatic vocals, there's really an evocation of epic feeling in this album. The thing that distinguishes this album from it's predecessors is it's focus on more balladesque-style songs. This focus on shorter songs detracts from the overall cohesion of the album as a whole, but the 16 minute epic 'Mystic Prophecy Of The Demonknight' makes up for the other songs potential shortcomings, and comes out as one of the greatest epics I've listened to in a long time.
Over the course of sixteen minutes (twenty if you count the continuation track 'Dark Reign Of Fire') the listener embarks on an epic journey through caves and seemingly abandoned halls to find a mystical book, as conveyed by the album's concept. Lyrically concerned, fans of Lord Of The Rings will love it, but I can see why someone might get a bit irritated by the concept. Musically, it's fantastic and can easily match up to any Dream Theater or Symphony X epic.
The use of orchestral instruments is exceedingly well done, and one of the reasons the album is so great. The album's shortfall though is in it's lack of overall cohesion. If for example, there were more songs like the epynomous 'Triumph Or Agony' to liven things up throughout the album and provide a break in the album's slow feeling, this would be worthy of being a modern classic. However, one too many ballads makes this album a bit hard to enjoy as an album. It's still definately worth getting, if only for the epic (and most of the shorter songs are pretty good as well!) but it's far from being perfect.