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Slower and more symphonic. - 77%

Corimngul, March 7th, 2005

One could listen through all Rhapsody full-lengths and EP:s in sex minutes and four seconds. The one that’d stand out as the best is Symphony of Enchanted Lands. All fell to places on this one and the band even tried to return to this release musically over and over again. They’ve even recycled the name. This very light, melodic, symphonic album show that no matter how much skills you have in composing or playing the instrument you can fail. It has its charm, however. The vocalist should avoid his spoken parts as he obviously sucks at them. They’re nothing other than jokes. And Rhapsody proves that they don’t know what atmosphere is. They could have a tragic spoken part, sad vocals and everything, but the music remains as happily pumping, as catchy as ever.

At a first listen it might appear like there are less keyboards on this second coming than on the first. That is however a mistake. They’re just not as prominent. The album is slower than its predecessor, and doesn’t strive to sound so extremely power metal on this one, they explore the boundaries of their symphonic possibilities. They’ve left many of their patterns behind them to go more for a symphony than anything else. Granted, the Latin track is still here.

They’ve dropped the stupid jumping between symphonic metal and power metal hidden by keyboards in favour of extracting as much as they can from every element. Except for the guitars that hide below layers of strings, keyboards and whatever. The guitars only surface for the opening riff of Emerald Sword – a riff that any Gamma Ray listener is bound to have heard before, and an occasional lead. When they surface they’re nice but it isn’t very much to discuss really.
Rhapsody’s dropped the stupid tempo changes around choruses as to magnify them and make them more majestic. The change of pitch is still here but the songs seems to circle less about the choruses and more about the music – and unfortunately the spoken parts. The music is rather majestic, epic, bombastic or whatever word suits you.

Overall this is more of a ballad album than a fist in your face. Even when they pace it up, it seems too soft… More beautiful, fragile than any actual power. People afraid of violence should like this one. On Wisdom of Kings they sing the chorus in harmonies and overall the music is harmonious. If you like harmonies, twittering birds, audible bass this would be easily digested. People in love only with riffs will obviously hate it.

As usual I dislike their sound effects, be it wolves, horses or birds. They’re unnecessary distracting moments with few or points to them. The flutes have been moved into the songs, fitting as interludes instead of opening every third song. Got to be grateful of that. In a sense I like this but it isn’t really a great album. It has many flaws, many spoken parts, many long songs, many crappy sound effects, many moments one doesn’t remember – yet I like it. It’s the symphonic feel that I adore. That broad front of melody that just invades the ears, no matter the cheese, who am I to defy it?