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To Rhapsody: A Letter of Rejection - 52%

Empyreal, October 30th, 2008

Rhapsody, where did we ever go wrong? We used to be such good friends, back when I was bright-eyed and young, with the sun in my face and the wind in my hair. Your symphonics were exciting, your choruses triumphant and catchy, your melodies light hearted. Alongside such luminaries as Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and Edguy, you allowed my Metal taste to be carved in stone and for me to become the jaded, pompous critic you see before you.

We lost touch for a while, after you moved away and changed your name, and I could only offer a few derisive snorts at your antics. Rhapsody of Fire? How about that stunt you pulled with Christopher Lee back in '05? Surely you can't blame me for pretending I never knew you!

I knew this moment would come, though; the fatal moment when I would eventually turn my critical lasers back on you, Rhapsody. I was just too curious. I had dabbled in your material a few times before, but it never managed to hold my interest for very long. Surely, though, I couldn't have been outright wrong about you in my metallic inception? I had to know, just had to, and all that stood in my way was a simple click of a button on my mouse. So, Dawn of Victory it was, then, being the album that held my old favorite "Holy Thunderforce." Being that I'm a generous man, we'll start off with that song. What happened here? You have more aggression and fury here than I've ever heard out of you, with that ultra-melodic shredding intro, the crackling, lightning-fast verses and the soaring chorus. This is the sound you should have been shooting for all along.

But other than that, I'm afraid I over-estimated your other efforts, to put it nicely. I mean, none of the stuff here is overly terrible or anything. You have some very nice guitar-work here and there, but I'd personally give you about a D on the songwriting overall. Your choirs get dull after a few songs, and I'm slightly reminded of the way my mother sang lullabies to me when I couldn't sleep as a young boy. You've got class, but therein lies the problem. You've got too much style and too little substance. Beyond Luca Turilli's colorful, flashy licks and whiddly solos and those lovable cardboard-flavored riffs, there isn't much to sink my teeth into. It feels like I'm biting into a big puff of whipped cream: it looks nice, but leaves much to be desired when you munch down. Fabio Leone's vocals are well performed, but boring. He doesn't put any power into it. He's singing, as I said before, lullaby melodies. With lyrics about dwarves and dragons and swords. Your overly saccharine, sugary-sweet mood here slightly brings down my enjoyment, as well.

Another thing, too: have you all looked outside the stained-glass windows of your castle lately? You haven't exactly done the Power Metal genre a world of good. It's been bogged down in petty, ignorant criticisms of "flowery, homosexually tinted bullshit with no riffs," and I know your motif has always been to not care about what those fools think of you, but just look at it. You're feeding their stereotypes with both hands! You're really the epitome of this whole "flower metal" epidemic that swept our shores a few years back and crumbled the Power Metal front, and it's quite disheartening to watch you prance about on your white stallion with your sword in the air and your hair shimmering in the sun whilst quality bands like Virgin Steele, Angel Dust and Wolf wallow in obscurity in the eyes of critics. Rhapsody, I'm not sure we can continue corresponding at all. Not after this.

Don't take this rejection to heart, though. You're not really a bad girl or anything. It's just that I cannot overlook these discrepancies in your personality, and I don't know how much more I can take. We've broken up before, but I think this time is...more serious, if you get my drift There are other fish in the sea, and I'm sure you'll find someone else who will look past these glaring flaws and love you for who you really are, or some other, equally over-used cliche. Take some of my advice, though. It might do you well in the future.