Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels (Nuclear Blast Records)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Word to the wise: Don’t hook up with Manowar. They’re bona-fide career-killers, aside from being the one of the biggest jokes in all of metal. We say this because Rhapsody of Fire willingly put their careers in the hands of Joey DeMaio and crew (via the man’s Magic Circle Music), for 2006’s Triumph or Agony, which was a massive flop across the board. Apparently DeMaio’s record label acumen is similar to his modesty – nonexistent. After a few years of legal wrangling, the Italians inked a deal with Nuclear Blast for The Frozen Tears of Angels, returning things to normal in the land of Hollywood metal.

A welcome return to the sound of early hallmarks like Dawn of Victory andSymphony of Enchanted LandsThe Frozen Tears of Angels (which is the third chapter in the band’s The Dark Secret Saga story) revels in the ROF’s brash, over-the-top, pompous, arrogant, and oh-so enjoyable power metal angle. Sure, the solos from guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboardist Alex Starapoli are toned down, but that doesn’t lessen the bravado of something like “Reign of Terror” and “On the Way to Ainor.”

There are hooks a-plenty bursting out of lead single “Sea of Fate” (love the Turilli/Starapoli solo trade-off, too), as well as the ready-for-cinema surge of “Raging Starfire.” Even the soft, fluffy ballad “Lost In Cold Dreams” carries its own weight, as it’s the type of song that benefits from singer Fabio Lione’s soaring, very much underrated vocal stylings. In fact, the Lione might be the star of the show, routinely turning in rousing choruses and carefully-crafted hooks.

Granted, The Frozen Tears of Angels isn’t going to turn non-believers into fans overnight. In fact, it might further distance Rhapsody of Fire from the regular metal crowd, but those will find value in this kind of thing (and there plenty of those that do), should fully embrace this as something of a quasi-comeback album. Better yet, it stuffs the metaphoric loin cloth down DeMaio’s throat…

www.myspace.com/rhapsodyoffireband

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)