"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Rhapsody Of Fire - "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" (CD)

Rhapsody Of Fire - "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" CD cover image

"The Frozen Tears Of Angels" track listing:

1. Dark Frozen World
2. Sea Of Fate
3. Crystal Moonlight
4. Reign Of Terror
5. Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio
6. Raging Starfire
7. Lost In Cold Dreams
8. On the Way To Ainor
9. The Frozen Tears Of Angels

Reviewed by on September 23, 2010

"For those that prefer to start the morning by donning a breastplate and battling beasts with a wizard staff in hand, Rhapsody Of Fire is a true wonder."

For those unaccustomed to power metal, all the overblown dragon slaying pomp can seem cheesy on an level rarely ever seen in other music genres. But for those that prefer to start the morning by donning a breastplate and battling beasts with a wizard staff in hand, Rhapsody Of Fire is a true wonder.

So what have the sword wielding, magic casting, nerd heroes produced for their 8th opus? For a start "The Frozen Tears of Angels" is full of the usual Rhapsody Of Fire elements - blazing speed metal guitars section, epic vocals, orchestral and bombastic synths that can be found on all of their albums. However, if you're worried Rhapsody Of Fire has fallen into the mode of simply pumping out another pre-packaged riff, they have injected more than enough miraculously blood-pumping melodic sections into this release, ones that contain the unmistakable scent of real originality and creativity. If you're thinking “Well I already have "Rain of a Thousand Flames", do I really need this?,” the answer is emphatically yes as there is still plenty of life left in the band.

To kick off the album we have the deep and resonant voice of Christopher Lee narrating the tale at hand on a few tracks, which have always been a nice feature of Rhapsody album's which give the loose effect of a story being told. Things lose pace on "Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio," which crosses the line from folk-based acoustic songs (Blind Guardians "The Bard's Song" for example) to just plain old ethnic folk music which isn't particularly entertaining. Luca redeems the band with some impressive Jason Becker-esque shredding at the end but it's the albums one low point.

From here on, however, the song writing is consistently high level, with Luca particularly standing out as a real guitar hero. Providing plenty of neoclassical shredding and more aggressive guitar playing than seen on previous Rhapsody Of Fire releases, if there was a direction on this album it would be best described as similar to Yngwie Malmsteen's early work.

On that note however, musicianship is one thing Rhapsody has always had that elevates them above many another power or symphonic metal band. The talent level of the band is high in all members, but especially note worthy are bassist Patrice Guers and keyboardist Alex Staropoli who play instruments much less praised in metal bands.

The bottom line is Rhapsody Of Fire still has the songwriting power to produce original albums without really straying from the formula. "Sea of Fate" and "On The Way To Ainor" are both fantastic tracks showing the band's uncanny ability to write complex winding songs that stay jovial, avoiding progressive wankery where it does not contribute to the song. I could easily knock a point off for not being earth shatteringly different from their other works, but this album is better considered as showing that Rhapsody has mastered what they do, and mastered it well.

Highs: A great new set of well written songs in the classic Rhapsody formula

Lows: One skippable track in "Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio"

Bottom line: Rhapsody Of Fire still has the songwriting power to produce original albums without really straying from the formula.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)