Rhapsody of Fire – Glory for Salvation (AFM Records)Wednesday, 8th December 2021
Evolution is a constant in the life and body of work for musicians. Co-founder of the original Rhapsody, keyboardist/songwriter Alex Staropoli has been the leader for Rhapsody of Fire since fellow co-founder/ guitarist Luca Turilli’s departure in 2011. Glory for Salvation is the 13th studio album for the group, and second in the new conceptual storyline for The Nephilim’s Empire Saga, an argument for redemption and life’s valor as a fictional tale that has possible personal/real life implications when it comes to individual development. Those who have loved the symphonic power metal and grand, cinematic/Hollywood-like soundscapes throughout the group’s discography will once again treasure these thirteen tracks, spanning the array of versatility and abilities at the quintet’s disposal.
Choosing to start the record with a mid-tempo offering like “Son of Vengeance”, you can appreciate the glorious powerful voice of Giacomo Voli along with the orchestration and fluid neoclassical shredding from guitarist Roberto De Micheli that supports those main uplifting, marching musical strains. The speedy follow-up “The Kingdom of Ice” features all the guitar/keyboard syncopation interplay, choir-oriented chorus splendor, and double kick / split second drum mastery transitions you have come to know and love from these veterans. Splashes of acoustic guitars and pan flute/ harpsichord instrumentation align to the folk oriented “Terial the Hawk” offering, a great marriage of cultural ambiance and proper electric instrumentation as the arrangement moves between lighter verses and theatrical transitions plus bolder choruses. The songwriting and performances take all the minor details into consideration: diverse tempos, choir parts, splashes of grandeur, high screams, it’s all in there and more. Favorite cuts change by the day. For this scribe, “I’ll Be Your Hero” contains those arena-like keyboard spots plus a larger than life chorus ready for audiences to join the band when aired live – while the epic, almost eleven-minute “Abyss of Pain II” checks off all the anticipation and excitement one would want in this type of track: the haunting intro building into neoclassical movements, a strong rhythm guitar foundation with darker screams accenting the normal melodies, plus some progressive/ tremolo-driven nuances during the instrumental sections where the band stretches their musical chops.
Glory of Salvation maintains the right balance between power metal that is symphonic and robust as well as song-oriented and catchy – not an easy feat this deep into the band’s career. Ideal for those who want to fly away to another realm, world, or galaxy when it comes to their metal endeavors.