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a work of art - 95%

ijy10152, February 19th, 2012

First let me say that this is my all time favorite album by Rhapsody (of Fire). I love this album because it manages very well to blend orchestral sounds and metal into one album. It also has some of the best writing I have ever seen in a storyline based album. It starts of powerfully with Emerald Sword and Wisdom of the Kings, two speedy, but light metal songs.

While Heroes of the Lost Valley may not be the best instrumental ever, and the voice acting is incredibly cheesy, it gives great scope to what is happening in the story and makes a great prelude to Eternal Glory. At first I didn't really like Eternal Glory, but it grew on me. Choruses are one thing that Rhapsody has always been good at creating, the chorus to this song is extremely epic and inspiring. Lyrics wise Luca Turilli has outdone himself (not for the last time either) the lyrics in this song manage to depict a dark and twisted landscape while the warrior of ice flies on mighty Tharos in search of the Emerald Sword. When writing a story-based album, imagery is everything and when a band can make superb music and tell a story well, that is a rare and incredibly amazing talent and Rhapsody certainly seems to posses this. In beyond the gates of infinity the story and music switches over to a darker place as the warrior fights off demons and twisted creatures of the abyss. Again, the imagery in this song is simply superb and develops the story well. Wings of Destiny moves us out of the dark place the previous song took us to and imagines the warrior flying high above the sky with the moon shining on him as he nears closer to his goal.

Musically this is a decent if not average ballad with excellent lyrics and very good vocals (as usual) from Fabio. My favorite song on this album is The Dark Tower of Abyss. For those of you whom enjoy classical or baroque music and metal will love this song. It is in my eyes the best combination of metal and classical music you will ever hear. The vocals are less present in this song, but they are also less necessary, this is mostly instrumental and the string and guitar solo parts are absolutely phenomenal, this song would have made Bach proud. Riding the Winds of Eternity is another excellent song lyrically and instrumentally. One theme that is present in all the speed metal songs on this album is that during the last two minutes of a song they will lapse into an instrumental solo (by Alex Starpoli) that plays the original theme set in the beginning of the song, the speed and upbeat feel of this song make it an excellent interlude between track eight and ten.

The Dark Tower of Abyss is well… dark, but the transition from that song into the next one is very smooth. Last but not least is the title track of this album; this is one of their best title tracks and their first song to go over ten minutes. The Symphony of Enchanted Lands starts off with a brief narration to explain what is happening in the story and then the music begins with a very operatic solo by Fabio Lione. Then it lapses into the main theme of the song played a little slowly with a solid drumbeat behind it. As the main vocal section comes in the main theme plays but is less present allowing the excellent vocals to take precedence. Parts of this song can get a little boring, but the interlude of the female singer singing softly which builds back into the main theme of the song works very well and freshens it up a bit. The end narration, while a bit corny, offers an excellent wrap up to this album, but also indicates that there is more to come, which after a superb performance like this is more than welcome