Album Reviews

Rhapsody of Fire – Glory for Salvation Review

Released By: AFM Records

Release Date: November 26th, 2021

Genre: Power Metal

Links: https://www.rhapsodyoffire.com

 

Line Up:

Giacomo Voli – Vocals

Roberto De Micheli – Guitars

Alessandro Sala – Bass

Alex Staropoli – Keyboards

Paolo Marchesich – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Son of Vengeance

2. The Kingdom of Ice

3. Glory for Salvation

4. Eternal Snow

5. Terial the Hawk

6. Maid of the Secret Sand

7. Abyss of Pain II

8. Infinitae Gloriae

9. Magic Signs

10. I’ll Be Your Hero

11. Chains of Destiny

12. Un’ode per l’eroe (Bonus Track)

13. La esencia de un rey (Bonus Track)

 

Over the past decade Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire have had quite their share of big ups and downs, including two big shifts, each involving the loss of an important long time member, the first being guitarist/keyboardist Luca Turilli and the second being vocalist Fabio Lione, as well as the fact that some of their more recent releases weren’t exactly highly regarded. Setting all of that aside, though, the band managed to bounce back in a big way in 2019 with The Eighth Mountain, their first new full-length release featuring current vocalist Giacomo Voli. I would have been relieved if it had merely been a solid album, but instead, it represented both a recapturing of past glories, as well as the beginning of a new era, and was easily their best album in quite some time. After being blown away by that album, I was excited to see what the band would do next, and so I was quite hyped to hear their upcoming release, Glory for Salvation, and whether or not it would continue their creative resurgence. In short: Yes, it does, though I would say it’s a tad less consistent than the previous album, and it doesn’t seem to flow quite as smoothly. Still, it’s another excellent album, and one I’d rank within the top half of the band’s rather large discography.

Very little has changed in between albums, with the only lineup change being drummer Manuel Lutter being replaced by Paolo Marchesich, who does a great job and fits in nicely with the band. Otherwise, the overall sound, production quality, and performances are exactly what fans of the previous album would expect, which is to say: It feels like a mix of classic Rhapsody, while having enough of its ideas to stand out. Where I found the previous album felt like classic Rhapsody in all its glory, this album feels a bit more diverse, capturing different elements from throughout the band’s career, including hints of some of their darker, heavier material, some folk elements, and some more epic, mid-paced symphonic metal. It’s quite the varied album, with points where I feel the overall flow can be a tad awkward, as it tends to jump around from mood to mood quite quickly, which is rather surprising for a concept album. With that being said, the songwriting is excellent, with only one track I feel lags behind the rest, while everything else is fantastic, with a few particularly big highlights.

Performances are of course excellent across the board, with keyboardist Alex Staropoli once again taking lead in setting the tone and atmosphere for a lot of the tracks, while Giocomo Voli shines just as much as he did on The Eighth mountain, demonstrating equal amounts of power, emotion and smoothness in his vocals as needed. A couple of tracks, in particular, have some of his most aggressive vocals I’ve heard to date, falling right along the border between clean and harsh vocals, and he delivers these just as well as anything else. I admit to being worried at first when the band parted ways with Fabio Lione, but these past two albums have proven Voli to be a wonderful fit for the band, and he only seems to be getting better over time. I find the guitar work to generally not be all that noticeable, though it is very solid throughout, with some nice melodic work and solos, as well as one particular track with a very heavy main riff that sounds great. Keyboards, vocals, and symphonic arrangements generally carry the album, though, which shouldn’t be too big a surprise for Rhapsody fans.

The album gets off to a strong start with “Son of Vengeance”, a very epic mid-paced symphonic metal track, with some huge orchestral arrangements, nice melodic guitar work, and a nice mix of choral and lead vocals from Voli, who once again leaves a strong impression right from the start. The track has an excellent, very catchy chorus, and a nice melodic guitar solo in the second half. It never goes full speed, but moves at a nice pace, and is a very epic, fun opening track. Next is “The Kingdom of Ice”, a very classic Rhapsody-sounding track, with nice melodic guitar leads, more epic symphonic arrangements, and a significant increase in the tempo, moving along at a fast pace throughout, which should please many power metal fans. It has another strong, catchy chorus, excellent vocals, and instrumental work, and is a very high-energy track, making it one of the better offerings here.

Leading into the album, one track I was surprisingly disappointed with was the title track. Right from the beginning I find the tone of the keyboards just a bit off compared to normal, as they give off a bit of a hostile tone I wasn’t expecting, especially with the name “Glory for Salvation”, plus they just don’t sound as good as usual, and while the choral vocals are great, I find the song overall somehow doesn’t work for me. It does move at a fast pace, the verses are solid and the chorus has a strong buildup, but I find it doesn’t go anywhere interesting, and it leaves me underwhelmed, especially knowing it’s the title track. Within the context of the album, it still doesn’t impress me much and feels a bit disappointing coming off the strength of the previous tracks, as well as what comes immediately after.

That, of course, would be a brief instrumental interlude “Eternal Snow”, which has some nice folk melodies and gives a bit of background narration to help introduce the next proper song, and another single, “Terial the Hawk”. This one has a very warm tone to it, and while it’s fairly mid-paced, it’s still very fun, very upbeat, and has an amazing chorus. It’s one of the band’s most folk-infused tracks to date, with folk instruments leading the way, and the main melody is absolutely beautiful, while Voli shines as always, especially during the chorus, and the instrumental section goes even further on the folk side, to help cement it as easily my favorite track on the album, as well as a personal favorite Rhapsody song in general. The momentum continues with “Maid of the Secret Sand”, another classic Rhapsody-sounding track, moving at a fast and furious pace, with some epic neo-classical shredding, intense verses, and a very fun, melodic chorus, which is one of the best on the album. It’s another personal favorite and gets me hyped up going into the longest track of the album.

Here we have a bit of an oddity, as when I first saw the name “Abyss of Pain II” I didn’t quite recognize the name from any previous albums. After searching for a while, I found out why: It was a very brief intro track for The Eighth Mountain, which I likely blocked out of my mind because intro tracks generally aren’t the most memorable, no offense intended. While making a 10+ minute sequel to a 48-second intro may be a bizarre choice, the song itself is excellent, though it once again feels like a big style shift, moving away from two more upbeat tracks to a much darker, more epic track filled with some of the heaviest riffs and darkest atmosphere found on the entire album, while Voli provides some of those intense, almost harsh sounding vocals I described earlier, before giving way to his typical soaring vocals during the chorus. The track stays at a moderate tempo throughout but does have a few big moments, including a very memorable instrumental section in the middle, and several great vocal sections. I wouldn’t rank it among the band’s absolute best epics, but it’s an excellent track the whole way through, and never loses any momentum along the way, which is always important with a longer track.

Following that, we’re now into the final stretch of the album, which holds up very well. First is “Infinitae Gloriae”, another very fast-paced track, with yet another wonderful chorus and a strong vocal performance from Voli. Next are two singles, the first of which is “Magic Signs”, a very solid ballad with excellent vocal melodies, a strong chorus, and a great guitar solo in the middle, though overall I wouldn’t quite say it’s one of the band’s best ballads (I preferred both “Warrior Heart” and “The Wind, the Rain and the Moon” from the last album, personally). It does serve as a nice showcase for Voli’s voice, though, and is a very solid track. The other single is “I’ll be Your Hero”, which now has a very epic 65-second intro leading into it, which helps set the mood for what is one of the band’s most fun, upbeat, and triumphant sounding tracks to date. It has a bit of a lighter feel to it than usual, while still moving at a very fast tempo, and having probably the best chorus on the entire album. It’s most likely my second favorite track, behind Terial. I already loved it on the EP the band released earlier this year, and that instrumental intro section only enhances it further on the full album.

The album ends rather curiously. The actual closing track, “Chains of Destiny”, is a rather short, yet fun fast-paced symphonic power track, which delivers everything fans of the band would expect, along with more of those semi-harsh vocals from “Abyss of Pain II”. It’s an excellent track overall, though it almost feels a bit too short and too “normal” I’d say, to be a closing track for this kind of album. It is wonderful on its own, though, and does have an amazing chorus, but at least to me, it feels more like a track that should be in the middle of the album, instead of being a closer. Even more curious, is the band’s choice of bonus tracks: Italian and Spanish sung versions of “Magic Signs”. Voli sounds amazing on both versions, of course, but the album ends up feeling like it lacks a bit of a climax, at least compared to most Rhapsody albums.

Despite my issues with the title track and a few odd decisions here and there, I still greatly enjoy Glory for Salvation, and consider it as yet another excellent Rhapsody of Fire release, as well as one of their better albums to date. It’s a very diverse album, with many different sounds and many different moods, and it does an excellent job of showcasing Giocomo Voli’s vocals, as well as Alex Staropoli’s keys and symphonic arrangements. Songwriting is generally excellent, performances are excellent across the board, and there’s a good amount of variety to it, that fans of the band with different tastes should all find something to like here. A definite must-hear for longtime RoF fans, and an easy recommendation for any fans of symphonic metal or power metal who somehow haven’t heard the band’s music yet. While I slightly prefer The Eighth Mountain, this is yet another great album and continues with the forward momentum the band has had with their current lineup.

 

Ratings: 9/10

Written by: Travis Green

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.

 

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