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Still epic, but faster and harder - 80%

Lord_Lexy, January 4th, 2011

So, after some long years of silence Rhapsody of Fire returned and showed the world they were stronger than ever. Their long legal dispute with their label didn’t prevent them from writing new music. New, not only in the most literal meaning of the word but also meaning that they had made a change in sound compared to the previous album Triumph Or Agony. Not really a bad album, but rather boring. I have got difficulties remembering the music from that album, save for a few songs (the harder and “more metal” ones). The Frozen Tears of Angels was announced as being more riff-oriented, and it turned out to be as the band had said.

Sir Christopher Lee , the main narrator of Rhapsody of Fire’s current story arc, opens the album with his most recognizable voice and is shortly thereafter followed by choir and orchestra. Epic sounds, but the tone of the music is darker and more desperate than before: “Necron’s Black Book” has been found and now it’s time to get “Erian’s White Book”. The music gets some more depth if you follow the story told.

The real opener to the album is indeed more guitar-oriented than most songs on Triumph or Agony. Unfortunately, the song itself isn’t really special; the vocals are not monotone yet rather boring. Maybe not the best opener, but it not the worst the band wrote. Luckily for us, it only gets better! And how!

There are some more aggressive and/or harder songs on this album: Crystal Moonlight, Reign of Terror, On the Way to Ainor and the last song contains traces of this style. Reign of Terror is probably the song the most different than what Rhapsody of Fire did on their previous album. The verses of make this song on of the most fast-paced songs in the discography of the band. The guitars and the vocals (Fabio screams!) draw most of the attention, backed up by equally high-tempo rhythms, but the music doesn’t lose its symphonic elements. The keyboard peeks at certain moments and the choir joins Fabio in singing, and even goes solo. The song is packed full of melodies, tempos and styles and definitely needs several listening sessions before you can contain all of it, at times it might even some overloaded but it’s digestible. Maybe the best way to describe it is a rollercoaster: it starts with a buildup by the choir and the keyboards and evolves into a song with lots of turns, wild and it seems shorter than it is.

Next to the metal songs we get some really melodic stuff. Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio has an electric guitar in the chorus, but the verses are just singing, acoustic guitars and flute. It sounds rather medieval, and it sung completely in Italian. It adds to the diversity of the album, without stopping the flow of the album. Lost in Cold Dreams is less satisfying: a balad with some more bombastic sounding parts but nothing really catchy or memorable.

The last song, The Frozen Tears of Angels is one of those typical Rhapsody of Fire epics. It starts off with a narration and some bombastic choir, orchestra and keyboard moments before changing into a long metal song, with different parts put together to make one coherent song.

Compared with its immediate predecessor Triumph Or Agony, The Frozen Tears Of Angels is more metal, more straightforward and faster, but without losing the symphonic and epic parts. Compared to the first installation of the “Dark Secret” saga, Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Part II this album is a little less bombastic and darker in overall sound. Rhapsody of Fire fans are recommended to buy this one!