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Intense and fast with a real spark to it - 89%

psychosisholocausto, February 13th, 2013

From their high point on The Frozen Tears Of Angels, power metal outfit Rhapsody Of Fire could go in two directions. They could either tread along similar ground and attempt to rehash that entire album and recreate the masterpiece that it was, or they could go in a different direction and make something that felt truly unique amongst their discography. In the end, the band took the latter path, utilizing new guitarist Tom Hess to maximum impact, forming a much heavier album than what the band had put out before, flooded with insanely fast, technical riffs and a much tighter flow to an album. This album has no songs that leap out at the listener, but instead feels more at home when being listened to in one sitting of its entire one hour duration, allowing for the story that began on Legendary Tales to continue and unfold piece by piece.

Power metal in its truest form is found right across the board here, with the soaring vocals that the genre has become known in perfect key across every song on here. This album is the sound of a band that are not only willing to push the boundaries in their style of music, but also confident that they can eclipse everything that has come before in a blitzkrieg of utter chaos, and everything on this album flows together in perfect harmony. Right from the opening notes of the short but intense opener Ad Infinitum, it is clear that the guitar work to this album is going to be a considerable cut above anything this band has put out in their catalogue, and then the spoken vocals handled by none other than movie icon Christopher Lee come into play, before a creative, blisteringly fast riff that stops and then starts again repeatedly whilst accompanied by operatic vocals that can only be described as the stuff of deities. The true marvel of this song is that all of this has taken place in just shy of one and a half minutes, giving a strong expectation for the album to come right from the word go. And it doesn't get any less jaw dropping from here onwards.

The title track follows, and contains some more incredibly fast guitar work that consistently stays light years ahead of many of the band's within the genre, slaying giants such as Dragonforce without even batting an eyelid. The multi-tracked vocals are done with considerably more grace than many other artists can manage, and this is the first song where the bass is allowed to do its own thing, during a break close to the beginning of the song. The true genius of this album, however, is that the guitar work is not the pointless brand of insanely fast playing associated with such bands as the aforementioned Dragonforce, but is consistently done tastefully, with the riffs remaining exceedingly high standard and retaining a huge amount of creativity throughout. Another thing that immediately springs to notice is that the solo work is, for once, every bit as tight as shred fest of riffs that the album proves to be, being both blindingly speedy and amazingly good sounding.

In fact, all six members of this band are strikingly talented, as evidenced by such moments as the great blast beats found on Tempesta Di Fuoco, the stunning vocal work on Anima Perduta or the bass work on the title track. The keyboards, handled by Alex Staropoli, are simply divine, being used with breathtaking talent with a startling frequency. This is an album that has something for absolutely any listener. If they are put off by the keyboards, then perhaps the frantic riffing will win the listener over, or, for the more shredding-inclined listeners, the breathtaking guitar solos across the release will surely impress. This is a lovingly crafted release by six insanely talented musicians, each of them a master at what they do, each with their own influences whilst never straying off the beaten path.

Ghost Of Forgotten Worlds is the finest track off of this release, starting with a killer guitar solo, before moving into a guitar riff that brings memories back of the 1980's thrash metal scene before suddenly, completely out of the blue, it stops and goes into a melodic section. After picking up again, we are treated to some of the most intelligently written music in the power metal scene, containing some hyper technical guitar work that will steam roll the listener flat and leave him or her wondering exactly what the hell just happened. This is another real success with the album-it changes so frequently in such a short space of time that one is left wondering how they got from A to B in the space of literally a minute. This band changes their core dynamics so frequently that it is impossible to keep up with, at times being mellow and beautiful, before plunging headlong into some of the fastest shredding a listener will ever hear.

The only real criticism of this release is the amount of listens it takes to truly settle into the listener's brain. So much is going on at once that it requires a near unprecedented amount of plays before the real grandeur of the album becomes apparent to the listener. This is one album that really does have so much depth to it, firmly building off and altering the formula that made them good in the first place in ways that are almost impossible to comprehend. There is no standout musician nor moment on this album, as they are all heart stopping in their own way. This is an album that demands a listen and then commands the listener's attention from start to finish, combining the beautiful with the ridiculous.

We can make him stronger, faster, better - 95%

ijy10152, March 1st, 2012

Rhapsody of Fire is back ladies and gentlemen and they really mean business. To me it seems that Luca Turilli meant this to be his last album with Rhpasody of Fire. After ten albums and wrapping up the end to one of the most ambitious music concept stories ever created I think Luca wanted to do something different and start afresh with a new band. I am noticing a definite pattern in Rhapsody's work, their first saga ended with The Power of the Dragonflame which contained their heaviest material to date. Fast forward 9 years and we see the end of another saga which contains even heavier material (plus another 20 minute epic) Luca Turilli is nothing if not predictable, but in a good way. He never really manages to disappoint delivering fantastic metal riffs and amazing song writing that rivals and even trumps many other bands.

First I would like to talk about opening songs, most people might think that Rhapsody of Fire's opening songs are good, but nothing new and hardly original. What people either forget or just don't know in the first place is that Rhapsody of Fire is that they is the band that made them famous, is the band that made them popular amongst other symphonic metal bands. Ad Infinitum is even by the standards of Rhapsody a very good opening track. Many think that Lux Triumphans and Epicus Furor are the best opening tracks by Rhapsody, but with this latest addition I think that Ad Infinitum is quite possibly the best one they have ever made. It makes an excellent transition into the second song and title track From Chaos to Eternity which (without going TOO much into detail about the song itself) is an excellent song and rather a departure from the norm. The next three songs are a little more normal for Rhapsody with plenty of fast guitar and keyboard work, catchy chorus' and a typical Italian ballad, which unfortunately isn't as good as previous such songs By them. Then another departure from the norm with Aeons of Raging Darkness which doesn't quite rank as screamo music is definitely the heaviest song ever written by Rhapsody of Fire. With the main lyrics being screamed out in Fabio's usually powerful operatic voice and the lyrics being incredibly dark and evil this song is definitely different and heavier than what the band usually goes for.

Now I could wax eloquent about every song on this album, but I really want to talk about Heroes of the Waterfall Kingdom (who doesn't?) This is yet another 20 minute epic from Rhapsody of Fire. Now I absolutely love longer songs and these 20 minute epics are really good as far as long songs go. It manages to stay interesting by being diverse. It begins with a high quality narration from Christopher Lee to outline what is happening in the story currently. Then it moves into an Italian ballad and a really good one too. Honestly I wish they would do a radio edit of this song with just this ballad because I would love to have it. It kind of reminds me of Danza Di Fuoca with elements of Guardiani Del Destino mixed in to make it fun and interesting. Then it transitions into a typical (but excellent) speed metal section with parts of Beethoven's 1st sonata being used for the main theme and of course the chorus. One thing I love about Rhapsody of Fire is that instead of adding symphonic elements to their music, they structure their music in a classical style which changes it from symphonic power metal into almost neoclassical metal which is really cool. The main themes of this song and Tempesta Di Fuoca are both taken from Beethoven's 1st sonata (opus 2). The chorus of this song requires special mention. Rhapsody is especially good at making really good catchy chorus' their best being considered: The Mystic Prophecy of the Demon Knight, Emerald Sword, Wisdom of the Kings, Dawn of Victory and power of the Dragonflame. The chorus of Heroes of the Waterfall kingdom is in my opinion better than all of them except The Mystic Prophecy, but even then I would say it ties it because both are just so damn good.

As Luca Turilli's farewell album and as the last album from Rhapsody of Fire as we know it I say that it is a masterpiece and a very worthy addition to the explosion of really good symphonic power metal albums in 2011 as well as to Rhapsody of Fire's discography. To Luca I say good luck with your future projects and may the power of the dragonflame burn ever brighter in your heart.

Journey to Dar-Kunor one last time. - 85%

Andromeda_Unchained, November 3rd, 2011

I'm sitting here, feeling both nostalgic and ever so slightly bittersweet writing this review. This album stands as the end of an era, both for the band and their ridiculous, yet brilliant high fantasy sagas started so many years ago. I recently caught them live, and upon returning home I found out that Luca Turilli had decided to part ways with the band. That is a shame because I thought the band were in a great place, two quality full-lengths and an EP in the space of a year, a superb line-up and a fantastic live show. However I'm here to review the final album in the sagas so let's push on.

The first time I listened to From Chaos to Eternity I must admit that it all kind of went over my head, although naturally, I decided to persist with repeated listens. Boy, am I glad I did. In fact, the whole album renewed my passion for the band, and I think that while maybe not as strong as The Frozen Tears of Angels, it is still more powerful than anything after Power of the Dragonflame. The first thing that sticks out to me is that the guitars are a lot more prominent, with some really neat riffage throughout. Tracks such as "Aeons of Raging Darkness" or the title track are nuts, with plenty of shredding and fast guitar riffs, with "Aeons..." almost in thrash territory in places. Counter-balancing some of the heavier guitar work are some of the more melodic tracks I've heard from the band, "I Belong to the Stars" is superb, with a nice hard-rocking vibe and a ridiculously catchy chorus. "Anima Perduta" is another of the bands exotic foreign language ballads, that is powerful although not quite as stunning as "Lamento Eroico".

The whole band is in top form, especially Fabio Lione who just seems to get better with age. He really nails it here, and his range is insane. "Tornado" is a particularly cool example of Fabio asserting his range; the song has a perfect schizoid feel that welcomes varying vocal styles. Everything you expect and more from a Rhapsody of Fire album is here on From Chaos to Eternity. Ending in style the band treat us to one of, if not their longest songs to date: "Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom". This has everything you've come to expect from a Rhapsody epic, Sir Christopher Lee, acoustic/folk passages, "epic Hollywood metal themes", insane guitar work, and of course those ever triumphant vocal passages. "Heroes..." is pure Rhapsody and a damn fine way to close the book on this era of their career.

Overall this album stands as a good end to the band's high fantasy sagas, and I'm definitely interested to hear where they go without Luca Turilii. Fans of the band should already have it by now, and this is definitely one of the better power metal albums I've heard this year. Maybe not as good as The Frozen Tears of Angels, From Chaos to Eternity is certainly not without merit and is a welcome addition to the band's discography. Journey to Dar-Kunor one last time, and see how the story concludes. Recommended.

Originally written for

I hate this. - 20%

Empyreal, September 21st, 2011

Okay, I’ve gotta say something here – Rhapsody of Fire, or Rhapsody, or whatever they’re called, sucks. They’ve always been really dull, but at least back in the 90s when they started it was something original and so I couldn’t entirely fault it. Fast forward 15 years and they’ve evolved as much as a rock would. You’d think they would at least become more competent songwriters, or learn to string together something that actually manages to captivate, but noooo. From Chaos to Eternity is mostly just a giant musical turd that I can’t wait to be rid of forever.

The basic formula here is annoying trilling melodic guitar lines, saccharine vocals from the ever-wimpy Fabio Lione, tons of bombastic, meaningless choirs, tons of orchestrations that are about as engaging as the back of a Lucky Charms cereal box and a lack of any substance. This band doesn’t attempt to do anything besides pile on more and more without any reason for it besides sounding “epic.” I’m not entirely opposed to these kinds of ear-candy bands, but for god’s sake have some kind of catchy hook! Inject some drama and presence! Make your riffs count for something!

Rhapsody of Fire – Christ, that name – just noodle on and on with long, overzealously crammed and claustrophobic songs that have no room to breathe or create drama. Hard to do that when they’re going all ADD style and shoving a zillion layers of orchestrations and solos and choirs in our faces every second. There’s barely a moment on here that the band actually slows down and tries to do something other than annoy rampantly, and mostly that’s on the ballad, which is more on the really boring side of things as opposed to the annoying side.

The title track has a catchy chorus, but then it’s just so blatant and obvious, all of it, that I feel oversaturated after listening to it. “Aeons of Raging Darkness” is a laughable attempt at sounding ‘dark,’ and it’s about as dark as a sunny meadow with pixies skipping through it. Rhapsody really shouldn’t bother with the harsh vocals; they’re terrible and just sound awkward. The 19 minute boreathon “Heroes of the Waterfall’s Kingdom” has some nice orchestrations, but still, 19 minutes? Why? There are so many other things you could do with 19 minutes of free time. You could go jog around the block in that time, or read a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Why would you ever choose to listen to this?

I hate those trilling neoclassical guitar lines. I hate Fabio’s constantly wimpy, powerless over-emoting. I hate the annoying songs that somehow manage to have 5 different things happening in the span of 20 seconds, and none of it in any way interesting or meaningful. I pretty much just hate this band.

Originally written for

All good things come to an end. - 87%

hells_unicorn, September 5th, 2011

There is a familiar story told here, but not the one that most are thinking of, not the specific story of heroics and magic that has been ongoing since Rhapsody Of Fire’s inception. The tale told here is the tale of a band that has taken its craft to its logical conclusion, and under the intense pressure of new and innovative ideas creeping in, has parted ways with a grandiose yet closing past. In its wake stands “From Chaos To Eternity”, the final chapter of the series that has come full circle yet again, finishing with a final battle cry and all the wailing melodies and classical music clichés to make Mozart blush.

Perhaps the greatest weakness that the latter half of this grand 10 album epic that Turilli and company have been churning out since 2004 is that it has largely been a darker yet overindulgent shadow or reflection of the former half. With it came a greater emphasis on orchestration and narration (featuring the auspicious Christopher Lee in between his gigs on “Lord Of The Rings” and “Star Wars), sometimes at the cost of the band’s flashy power metal edge. This was since remedied on “The Frozen Tears Of Angels”, which put a much needed focus back on the band’s songwriting prowess while maintaining the darker, modern production, and this latest opus continues the trend, though leaning more towards recapturing the spirit of “Power Of The Dragonflame”.

This obvious effort at recapturing the heavier, nastier, occasionally bordering on extreme speed metal heard on their final chapter of the Emerald Sword Saga is easy to catch, though not entirely a rehash. The darker character of the production, the sharp clarity of the mixing job, meshed with a slightly processed and mechanical sounding guitar line makes this a slightly less organic experience, almost as if there is a mechanistic tendency to this otherwise archaic fantasy. Fabio Lione’s occasional flirtations with a Wintersun and Emperor blackened shriek character further accents this outlandish tendency, particularly on “Tornado“ and “Aeons Of Raging Darkness”, the assumed foils of the band’s first venture into this territory “When Demons Awake”, complete with vilely shouted gang choruses and even a brief blast beat section in the case of the latter.

But for all of the peripheral innovations that have been underway at the most gradual of paces since 2002, this is very much a conventional Rhapsody (Of Fire) album. In fact, when hearing the blazing speed and technical flair of conventional songs in “Ghosts Of Forgotten Worlds”, “From Chaos To Eternity” and “Tempesta Di Fuoco” kicking off the album, echoes of the late 90s come flowing in like a monsoon of déjà vu. But the real kicker is the obvious attempt at recapturing the majestic tower of musical brilliance that was “Gargoyles: Angels Of Darkness” in “Heroes Of The Waterfalls’ Kingdom”. Perhaps the biggest disappointment here is that the narrations take over the song way too much in the same book on tape fashion they did on “Triumph Or Agony”. Nevertheless, the song does a decent job of avoiding the meandering trap of most near 20 minute long opuses, and throws in a fair share of guitar and keyboard gymnastics to dazzle all the shred fan boys.

As stated previously, the real story here is the coming full circle of this band, and it also proves to be the de facto final chapter of more than 15 years of 2 songwriting giants in Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli collaborating. This album has since proven to be the end of this partnership, an end underscored by a somewhat rushed feel within the narrated passages which is not reflected in the music. In like fashion with the splits that occurred in Helloween, Stratovarius and Freedom Call, this split will bring forth 2 new projects, one carrying the former’s name, while the other is probably more likely to carry the original musical feel that left the band (as Gamma Ray sought to do and eventually did in “Land Of The Free”). But to Luca and Alex’s credit, they parted after putting out an album worthy of themselves as Helloween did in “Keepers Pt. 2”, something that was not the case in the other bands noted earlier. So all D&D freaks and power metal junkies alike can take heart in the uncertain future, but more importantly, enjoy yet another fine album out of a band with its own unique, and definitely polarizing niche.

Rhapsody (Of Fire) - From Chaos To Eternity - 70%

ConorFynes, August 23rd, 2011

If there's anything that still surprises me about Rhapsody of Fire, it's that they manage to keep going steady without ever changing their style in any significant way. Since they started out with the debut 'Legendary Tales', Rhapsody's cinematic brand of 'swords and sorcery' power metal has been going strong, occasionally focusing one one aspect more than others on a given record, but essentially making the same music they were making when they first started out. Luckily for the band, Rhapsody executes this style incredibly well, and to date, there hasn't been the overbearing need for them to change who they are in order to stay fresh. 'From Chaos To Eternity' is Rhapsody's third album in two years, and while I would normally tend to expect a band's quality to plummet once they start becoming more prolific, Rhapsody's eighth album 'From Chaos To Eternity' has really impressed me. While there are not necessarily any standout tracks that tower above the others, I would be hard pressed to deny that the band has not released as consistent an album for quite some time.

Apparently wrapping up a massive conceptual saga of the band's that started with their debut, 'From Chaos To Eternity' is a big album for the band. Apart from their speed and epic film score-worthy sound, one of the tenants of Rhapsody Of Fire is their focus on Tolkien- offshoot high fantasy, with which they use to fuel their often narrative lyrics. Although Rhapsody is as sharp as they come when it comes to neoclassical or symphonic power metal, the lyrics have always been cheesy as all hell, and- true to their doctrine of never changing- 'From Chaos To Eternity' is wrapped up in lyrics about rather tired fantasy topics; some conclusion to a multiple-album concept piece that I find difficult to become even slightly interested in. Luckily, the lyrics are the weakest element for this talented Italian band. Musically, the band may never have sounded tighter. Fabio Leone's voice shows no signs of aging, sounding as powerful and soaring as it ever has. There is a focus on this album on the band's neoclassical metal elements, which barrels down to alot of sweeps and arpeggios, courtesy of guitarist virtuoso Luca Turelli. While there is shredding aplenty in the album, the rest of the band keeps up the speed, and the instrumental indulgences never go on too long before getting boring.

A very strong element to Rhapsody's sound here is that of the symphonic arrangements, which are often complex and mesh beautifully into the metal core of the sound. Were it not for the admittedly silly lyrical content, Rhapsody Of Fire could very well stir up some very intense dramatic feelings with their music. Maybe the only sound I hear here that is 'new' is the moderate use of harsh vocals, especially in the song 'Aeons Of Raging Darkness'. The music remains fairly upbeat throughout these parts however; instead of taking any dark route with the screams, Rhapsody ultimately ends of sounding like a counterpart to Wintersun.

Although there are no standout tracks here (this album tends to be relying more on its pleasant consistency than any particularly incredible tracks), the end of the album is graced with a twenty minute epic. Naturally, this made me very excited when I arrived at this part of the album, especially due to the incredible success of one of the band's earlier epics, being 'The Mystic Prophecy Of The Demonknight' from 2006's 'Triumph Or Agony'. Indeed, 'Heroes Of The Waterfalls' Kingdom' is a very powerful work featuring a myriad of changes and different feelings woven into it. While sporting some very strong moments in it though, the closing epic to this album does not feel as if it works as a cohesive composition, instead working better as a series of soundtrack snippets, each to suit a different part of whatever fictional fantasy film Rhapsody are attempting to score here.

And with a few more symphonic flourishes after the metal fury has long since ended, 'From Chaos To Eternity' ends, something of a fitting musical end to this long saga that Rhapsody Of Fire has conjured up for the power metal world since riding out of Italy in the 90's. A very good album overall, although it should be mentioned that there are very few surprises to be had here for anyone that has heard an album by this band before.

Last Call - 85%

doomknocker, June 20th, 2011

And they're at it again! I’m not sure what’s exactly gotten under the creative skins of Luca Turilli and his band of mighty metal warriors, but these past three years have seen three "more epic than a 'Legend of the Seeker' marathon" discs that have just astounded this poor reviewer's ears and musical funny bone. Not that I'm complaining; these past three releases have been a nice improvement over a sort of musical funk they'd been under for a little while, and as their multi-album story arc comes to a close, the chance exists that they'd save their best and most bombastic material for last.

So, I ask myself, are they able to?

What's been great about Rhapsody of Fire's latest bout of inspiration is that each successive album after shedding the Magic Circle Music stigma has gotten increasingly better and more enveloping. Seems that all the years that's passed has helped cultivate an ability to create real songs versus the excursions into rather flamboyant displays of showmanship that's been the bread and butter of their earlier works (yes, I know the likes of "Emerald Sword" are classic beyond belief, but all those notes flying around makes it all almost frightening!). However, there are still plenty of moments where the members' instrumental skills are thrust forward in that should-be-patented classical/symphonic metal face wash we all know and some of us love. After all, such a moonlit fantasy theme couldn't possibly work with music that doesn't take itself just a hair’s-width too seriously, and things also continue to tread darker waters than they were in before. In interesting contrast the past few albums, the metal aspect of the band is far more in the forefront than before, which, in other, lesser acts, that would mean a touch of destitution in the disc, but, thankfully, each instrument seems to have its own part to play, and none of them are bit acts.

Like the Rhapsody of old, any given moment on the disc has a number of different things going on, be they the thrashy riffs, mesmerizing twin leads, blurring-fingers solos (both guitar and synth), ripping tempos, strings-and-voices-born orchestral/choir tandems, near-exhaustive galloping drum lines and the soaring operatics of Mr. Fabio Lione tying everything together in a sword-clutching bow. And when they all come together and unleash all their mightiness, as shown in tracks like "From Chaos to Eternity", "Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds", and "I Belong to the Stars" I was proven right in knowing of their ability to hold onto their most epic material for the final chapter. That soul-clutching sense of finality that grips you from the atmospheric beginnings to the marathon-like, 20 minute(!!!) ending of it all that just might elicit a few ovations from the power metal realm, replete with swords held high and war horns sounding in victory. Rarely these days do I come across an album that's actually evoked an edge-of-your-seat feeling of urgency, a disc that screams for me to sit down and take it all in, and if this is how it ends, then by all gods it ends with a bang of dragon fire proportions. A job well done, indeed.

In the end Rhapsody of Fire close this chapter of their musical existence with an album rich in energy and strong ideas. This is good schtick for the sake of good schtick, as we all know (or as we all SHOULD know), and is, as has been the case with their other Nuclear Blasting wares, simply too good to pass up on. Bust out some hot cocoa, light a fire, lie back and blast it nice and loud.

A fine conclusion to 14 years of fantasy metal. - 95%

Deathaura, June 17th, 2011

I have to wonder if Luca Turilli has ever felt like the Rhapsody story played itself out ages ago. After 14 years of fantasy-based, story-driven metal centered around the fantastic events of a world extremely similar in both character and name to that of Lord of the Rings, you would think he would be exhausted with the story by now.

In a way, I think that kind of shows in From Chaos To Eternity. Similarly, I felt a twinge of concern on the last album, The Frozen Tears of Angels, as the lyrics for the music were more ambiguous and indirect in describing the chaos of the Rhapsody world. It struck me as though the band (or at least Turilli, who writes the lyrics) were growing fatigued with this style of music, essentially trapping themselves into creating album after album about our dear friend Dargor and his magical fellowship journeying through the dark underworld of Dar-Kunor. 14 years after starting this saga and the songwriters and vocalist are still there, in their mid-30s, maintaining a rock solid musical legacy.

That is true dedication. But where does this album - this grand finale of Rhapsody's fantasy saga - place in comparison to previous albums?

From Chaos To Eternity sees Rhapsody evolving their sound more than ever before, ditching (mostly) the orchestras and grandiose horns for a thunderous, in-your-face metal experience. The music is fast, heavy, and it's much darker and more experimental than anything they've done before. When I first listened to the album, I was pleasantly surprised, but I was also disappointed in the lack of orchestras. This does not sound like Symphony of Enchanted Lands, with its so-happy-it's-almost-silly atmosphere and flutes. This is not the Rhapsody of old - this is their transition from what made them famous into a new era of power metal. If anything, it sounds like Power of the Dragonflame, with slightly less bombast.

Even the obligatory introduction track (which has returned with a Latin title for the first time since Symphony of Enchanted Lands II) trades in the trademark symphonics for a speedy guitar solo. As the final story-based album, Christopher Lee makes one of his last appearances for the band, giving a short, ominous narration over the solo. It sets the atmosphere very well for what's to come.

One of the best songs on this album is the title track, and it displays every band member at quite possibly their finest in a long time. It's a wonderfully catchy power metal anthem with some of Rhapsody's most sophisticated songwriting in a long time - the chorus to this one is dark and mature, a true display of how far they've come with their composition skills. Singer Fabio Lione's performance is truly remarkable in the chorus, singing with a haunting, almost desperate whisper that fits wonderfully with the theme of this album, which, if you follow the story of Rhapsody at all, is basically the good guys vs. the bad guys in one final battle to save the world in a dark, chaotic land. Also, under Fabio's emotional vocals is a wonderful bass line. Since The Frozen Tears of Angels, Patrice Guers has been given several opportunities to really show his skills, and it's done tastefully. Job well done, Rhapsody.

The inclusion of new guitarist Tom Hess, who has not only replaced their live guitarist but has joined permanently, has given Luca more freedom to focus on lead parts. Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds and I Belong To The Stars depart drastically from the Rhapsody mold, sprinkled with hints of prog metal and hard rock, but the latter's chorus is extremely catchy, and I can see it becoming a great live song if Rhapsody chooses to play it live. Tempesta di Fuoco and Tornado are fun, typical power metal romps, though Tornado adds a slight twist to the typical Rhapsody sound.

The song that everybody eyeballed as soon as they saw the tracklist revealed was the final song, the 20-minute epic entitled Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom. While maybe not as fun a title as The Mystic Prophecy of the Demonknight, it proves to be a classic Rhapsody tune split into five moments. It begins with a folky Italian movement, then speeds up into a great epic that gets you ready for the conclusion of the Rhapsody saga. The true chorus of the song is triumphant and repeated until the end of the song, although not before being interrupted by a wonderful harsh-vocal section and some (as always) hilariously corny narration from the actors first introduced in Triumph or Agony.

The song ends with Christopher Lee narrating the fate of the world over a most excellent choir and string section. I won't spoil the story for the few people who care enough to follow it, but it is a wonderful way to end the story once and for all, if not somewhat rushed (I mean, you sum up 10 releases, 14 years, and 2 separate sagas in just a few minutes? Come on, spread it out a bit, put us in true suspense for the climax!).

The real question is this: where does Rhapsody go from here? Do they simply become another by-the-numbers power metal act? Their evolution in sound seems to be directing them towards a less-symphonic power metal band, and as a result their unique identity in the world of metal is slowly fading away. That is the last thing I want for this stellar group who has yet to disappoint me, however, I can't help but wonder where they will go from here.

While the ambiguous lyrics and lack of SOEL-era orchestral sound is a little disappointing, From Chaos To Eternity is still a magnificent album from one of the most consistent groups in metal. If you like Rhapsody, you will like this album. It's also probably their most accessible album, but I would still be wary showing it to anybody who doesn't know much about the band. Although many great albums have come out in 2011 already (as of the time of this writing), this is a strong contender for album of the year. Now the next step for Rhapsody is to see whether or not they can continue strong without relying on a fantasy world to fuel their art.