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Rhapsody Of Fire - Legendary Years album review

Italy’s power metal mavens revisit a past life

Cover art for Rhapsody Of Fire - Legendary Years album

The plan is simple: select tracks from the Italian band’s first five albums, spanning 1997-2002, and re-record them with the current line-up. This covers the symphonic metal masters’ Emerald Sword Saga, when they were called Rhapsody. So, is it worth the effort? Only keyboard player Alex Staropoli remains from those times, so this is a chance for him and the new boys to reimagine the music. However, mostly they stick solemnly to the arrangements and lengths of the original versions. That of itself rather defeats the purpose, because it doesn’t allow for any creative interpretation. On the plus side, not only is the production clearly superior to what was done before, but vocalist Giacomo Voli roars with conviction, while guitarist Roby de Micheli combines neatly with Alex. Tracks like the ebullient Dawn Of Victory, the moody Beyond The Gates Of Infinity and the operatic Riding The Winds Of Eternity are irresistible. There’s little to attract anyone who owns the originals, but as an introduction to the band it works well.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio, which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.