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Extravagantly Orchestrated - 90%

Seasons Apart, July 7th, 2012

Luca Turilli is one of power metal's most prominent and influential guitarists with a signature neoclassical playing style, reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen. He surprised fans by leaving Rhapsody of Fire last year, in an autonomous effort to reach complete musical freedom. Interestingly naming his new project Luca Turilli's Rhapsody, he made his creative intentions clear: retaining the traditional Rhapsody of Fire power metal feel, with a new and personal twist.

Ascending to Infinity opens with cultural Indian singing, a fresh surprise, only to dive right into Turilli's electronic style as displayed in his "Luca Turilli's Dreamquest" project. After the unsurprising change, a loud, movie-trailer-like voice announces to the listener how he or she will "journey to a place of wonders that will blow their mind." The album's orchestration is indeed mind blowing. Turilli does a wondrous job incorporating electronic effects with pianos, choirs, and synth orchestras. If one can ignore the cheesy opening track, the rest of the album is a very mature and technically progressive album.

The title track, "Ascending to Infinity," does not lack in Turilli's impressive and signature arppegio lead guitar playing, but it lacks a certain punch that the following track, "Dante's Inferno," delivers. Arranging choirs into metal tracks have become commonplace, but Turilli revives the feeling a listener got when he or she heard choirs in metal for the first time. The choir, especially in "Dante's Inferno," is strong, vibrant, and did not sound as though it was obligated to be incorporated into the music.

Speaking of vocals, the lead vocals, performed by Alessandro Conti, sounds much like Fabio Lione of Rhapsody of Fire. Conti does a remarkable job with his full ranged and powerful voice, perfectly fitting among the choirs and orchestrations. He smoothly adjusts between passionate and bombastic sections without missing a beat. The highlight of his performance is in the Italian duet with Sassy Bernert called "Tormento E Passione," clearly structured and influenced by an opera piece.

Luca Turilli is a master solo artist, capable of writing extensive rhapsodies comparable to the classical greats.

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