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Rhapsody Of Fire: Into The Legend

Orchestral Italians get the wind back in their sails

Since their long, enforced hiatus in the late 2000s, Rhapsody Of Fire have sounded rather below their histrionic best.

Their co-founder’s departure in 2011 to found the excellent Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody has left a few question marks over their creative future. They can’t ever be accused of slacking off, though, and even less than usual here. The symphonic, overblown melodrama and sheer bombast are as full-throated as ever, and Alex Staropoli’s orchestrations are hugely strong, such as on the Vivaldian Winters Rain.

Plus there are some decent hooks – the title track in particular – and some stellar neo-Baroque guitar solos. That said, there’s the odd flaw, with Fabio Lione’s voice rather more strained than in the past, and the tone of joy that marks out their best work could be more prominent.

Still, this kind of symphonic power metal is hard to get right, and _Into The Legend _is not only ROF’s strongest, most consistent effort in nearly a decade, it’s deliciously ludicrous in a way none can mimic.