CD Review

Rhapsody of Fire – “Triumph or Agony”

By Marcus Pan

Triumph or AgonyThis is a brilliant, powerful and demanding CD filled with strength, skill and so much slamming music that would battle the bones of any classical music lover and metal lover – together! It pisses all over Metallica’s sad attempt at same. Using the undeniable brilliance of the 50 piece BRNO Academy Choir and the 60 piece Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, Triumph or Agony is a fantasy tale of epic proportions with music on an epic scale.

The band had previously been known as Rhapsody, but had a bit of a legal fit over it. Changing to Rhapsody of Fire, their Triumph or Agony release is expected out in late September of 2006 with a cover by Jeff Easley, responsible for a good bunch of TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons artwork throughout the 1980s[1]. With Fabio Lione on vocals, Luca Turilli on some seriously awesome guitar, Alex Staropoli on keys, Patrice Guers on bass and Alex Holzwarth on drums as well as the aforementioned orchestra and choir, Triumph or Agony will move from medieval classic instrumentation like the May day strains of Old Age of Wonders and powerful climactic movements like Heart of the Darklands which features an opening guitar solo by Luca that blew me away, both fast and technical. The violins are startlingly well done here as well.

Every time the music slows down to take you on a frolicking walk, such as Old Age of Wonders, you’ll wait for the crescendo to occur and take you back to the modern movements of hard rock. Following Old Age of Wonders is the strong The Myth of the Holy Sword which does just that. The choir and orchestra slams the plot through your bones. As the fantasy moves along, the epic The Mystic Prophecy of the Demon Knight is a five part saga that breaks sixteen minutes in length.

Silent Dream is a favorite of mine – it’s reminiscent of Maiden’s Flight of Icarus with as much aplomb as it had. High reaching voices, orchestration and guitars lift you as high as Icarus himself. Lucas outdoes himself once again with Bloody Red Dungeons on another blistering solo. The spoken word of the closing Dark Reign of Fire might have been cheesy were it not for the choir and orchestra to bolster it.

Rhapsody of Fire’s Triumph or Agony is easily one of the most breathtaking and powerful albums to have come to me in a while. It’ll move you and show you just how smoothly classical instrumentation and modern metal, combined with epic storylines and plots, can come together well. It will move from nice classical old world pieces to modern slams of electric mayhem.

Contact Information:
SPV America
Post: 48 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ, 07701, USA
[1] Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide (2nd Edition) included, so if you’ve played, you’ve seen Jeff’s work.

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