If there’s one surprise on Luca Turilli’s second record in this incarnation of the band formerly known as Rhapsody Of Fire, it’s how little the man himself is showing off.
For a band where one major attraction is the virtuoso guitar performances, it’s noticeable how much the other components – from the lush symphonics and the sizeable vocal hooks to the well-written drum parts – are allowed to shine, even down to a mix where the guitars could afford to be a little louder at times.
The surprises end there, though, as this is the Italian’s stylistic forte from beginning to end. This is neo-classical power metal that ranges from the spectacular to the absolutely preposterous, and is all the better for it.
From the vast theatrical romps (especially One Ring To Rule Them All, complete with choirs singing in The Lord Of The Rings’ ‘black speech’ language) to the requisite ballad-cum-aria Notturno, the joie de vivre and unashamed enthusiasm lacing everything makes this ace.
If there was any hesitancy, this would fall flat on its arse, but it’s so unabashed, it rules./o:p