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Rhapsody Of Fire - Legendary Years album review

Italy’s power metal mavens revisit a past life

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.