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Rhapsody: The Musical! - 89%

OSheaman, July 12th, 2003

Another fruitcake band. Here we are singing about the epic fight to save the Enchanted Lands. Doesn't anybody live in the real world anymore? I swear, if Bob Dylan were still . . . well, never mind.

Actually, this is good stuff. The riffs are strong, the vocals are nice, and the blending with the background orchestra is fantastic. The album opens up with the Symphonic/Choral introduction of Epicus Furor, which then proceeds via a seamless segue into Emerald Sword. Rather than completely dropping out as soon as the guitars hit the first power chord, the orchestra continues a back-and-forth with the band for a good 15-20 seconds, until the drum finally comes in in earnest. It's fantastic; it strikes me as odd that more Symphonic Metal bands don't take full advantage of their symphonies. Anyway, the opening riff repeats, and then . . . A VIOLIN SOLO! Yes, after all this long waiting, a cool violin solo in the middle of a Power Metal song . . . I'm in love.

The rest of the album is pretty good as well. The entire album plays out like the forgotten third album of Avantasia, with the mighty warrior questing for the powerful sword, combing the valley of death, and allying with a mighty but doomed dragon to fight the Black Lord and save the Enchanted Lands.

Or maybe you'd rather go play some Napalm Death.

Seriously, there is a good sound behind all this cheese. The guitars make a nice transition between riffs in their songs, and the rhythm is varied enough between songs to keep the album interesting. The bass is present and strong (always a good sign, but never a given in Power Metal, unfortunately), and the keyboards are not as overdone as they are in other bands *coughAngracough*. The faster songs are prime candidates for some serious headbanging, and while the ballads aren't extraordinary, the final epic song (about 13 minutes long) is a great, sweeping symphonic piece with plenty of gusto, perfect for closing out this Broadway-act-turned-metal. Overall, solid sound and good, consistent songs make up for the much-overused and oft-abused fantasy setting of the Symphony of Enchanted Lands.