2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Underrated Rhapsody Album,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Triumph Or Agony (Ltd.) (Audio CD)
A frequent complaint with Rhapsody's newer albums, perhaps this one in particular, is that "we've seen it all before". True enough, Rhapsody's epic, melodic and ott style hasn't changed hugely over the years; we've heard songs about wizards, dragons and epic battles of good and evil before. The semi-operatic vocals, pseudo-orchestral keys and dramatic riffs aren't all brand new. But that doesn't stop this album from being fantastic.
Rhapsody fans can generally be divided into two camps: those who love the dungeons-and-dragons style storylines, and those who find them mildly embarrassing and just listen to Rhapsody for the music. I generally fall into the latter group; but I think the balance on this album is pretty good: enough of Lee's deep-voiced narrations to keep the fans happy, but not too much "messing around". The only song that really gets into the story-telling is "The Mystic Prophesy..." which in fact handles it fantastically. Yes it breaks off into dialogue and narration in places, but it's effectively combined with the music and is really quite well done. I can't quite follow all of Rhapsody's storylines, but it doesn't really matter whether or not you do, the drama and excitement is still there.
The music and vocals are on typically good form, plenty of choral backing to add melodrama and just enough fret-wanking for us to know Turilli hasn't lost his touch. It may not be 100% original, but there are plenty of songs that really make their mark; "Triumph or Agony" and "Heart of the Darklands" are Rhapsody in their usual high spirits; but "Il Canto del Vento" shows off some more complex and subtle songwriting, "Bloody Red Dungeons" is particularly fantastic (the Italian chorus is rather catchy!) and as I have mentioned, the longest and most overblown track "The Mystic Prophesy" is a personal favourite with great storytelling and some darker and heavier moments.
Overall the album strikes a good balance between classic Rhapsody and some darker moments with everything one could want from a power metal/ symphonic metal album. It might not surprise you too much (check out their latest album for that), but it's still a quality album from start to finish, and a little more mature than their earlier works.