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Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - "Ascending To Infinity" (CD)

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - "Ascending To Infinity" CD cover image

"Ascending To Infinity" track listing:

1. Quantum X (2:26)
2. Ascending to Infinity (6:15)
3. Dante's Inferno (4:56)
4. Excalibur (8:06)
5. Tormento e Passione (4:50)
6. Dark Fate of Atlantis (6:30)
7. Luna (Alessandro Safina cover (4:18)
8. Clash of the Titans (4:15)
9. Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's Fall (16:02)
10. March of Time (Helloween Cover) (Bonus Track) (5:52)

Reviewed by on July 6, 2012

"Whether you believe 'Ascending to Infinity' is the eleventh Rhapsody album, or merely a continuation of Luca Turilli’s solo career, the end result is bound to make symphonic power metal fans explode from every head."

The mutual break up of Rhapsody of Fire is like losing your girlfriend after a 17 year relationship in favor of a chick who just wants endless sex AND then eventually convinces your ex to join in. Why have just one? With Luca Turilli departing to avoid being a slave to the Algalord Chronicles (the epic Lord of the Rings-like storyline of virtually every Rhapsody release), the chains have been broken and a new chapter has been forged, and so begins the endless boundaries of “cinematic metal.” Whether you believe “Ascending to Infinity” is the eleventh Rhapsody album, or merely a continuation of Luca Turilli’s solo career, the end result is bound to make symphonic power metal fans explode from every head.

Imagine cinematic metal represented by a large mirror glued together from shards from the musical, theatrical, and film worlds. This newly created mosaic would certainly contain the sharpened pieces of classical, opera, Italian pop music, techno, drama, intrigue, and the highest quality power metal ever offered. Together the parts work in perfect symbiosis, reflecting the many shades of Lord Turilli. However, a brilliant composer can only do so much without the performances of his symphony members, so with him are former Rhapsody of Fire band mates Dominique Leurquin (guitars) and Patrice Guers (bass), and At Vance/Ex-Stratovarius drummer Alex Landenburg (who did not play on the album, drums were performed by Rhapsody of Fire drummer Alex Holzwarth). Topping it off is the brilliant “voce” of Alessandro Conti.

When Alessandro Conti was named as vocalist, I immediately recalled his dead on “Michael Kiske” vocal style with his other band Trick or Treat (which started as a Helloween tribute band but now is an original act). I did wonder just how his style would meld with Luca’s unyielding quest for perfection. However, as the huge orchestrations erupted, Conti is the centerpiece of the show and his true range is revealed. In fact, there are very few odes to Kiske (most notably on the bonus Helloween cover of “March of Time”). By the time this album was over, I felt there is nothing Alessandro cannot sing. Is he as stunning as Fabio? Perhaps not, but you literally cannot get any closer. Not only did he attend the same vocal school as Lione (that of the famed Pavarotti), but Fabio even introduced him to Turilli.

There is almost too much to take in on the first listen of this release. For the first time in my life, I had to listen to an album at a clip of two minutes at a time in order to process the myriad of instruments played to a level seldom heard. It is as if Jacopo Peri created “Dafne,” combined it with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and wrapped it like a thick candy coating around Rhapsody’s “Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Pt. II.” It is a feast for the ears of music fans of both modern and Laserlight classics. The addition of the cover of “Luna,” the Italian pop song written by Romano Musumarra and first performed by Alessandro Safina, shows the vast depths of Turilli’s repertoire. Luca’s version of “Luna” gives an ordinary song the treatment it truly deserves, making it sound more like an original Rhapsody tune. In many ways it is.

It is impossible to pick a favorite without besmirching the rest of the album. If forced, it would be a virtual tie between “Clash of the Titans” and the remarkably stunning 16 minute masterpiece “Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer’s Fall.” “Excalibur” adds the folk element of Rhapsody of Fire at the beginning only to erupt into a relentless operatic symphony that smashes the majority of Rhapsody of Fire back catalog. This is a new level of perfection that I only thought was possible with “Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Pt. II.” Now I eagerly await the response album from Rhapsody of Fire, though the expectation level created by Luca Turilli may be too much to live up to.

Highs: Breathtaking orchestration, stunning vocals, "Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's Fall"

Lows: The over the top orchestration may be too much to handle.

Bottom line: As expected, Luca Turilli "ascends" Rhapsody to "infinity" and beyond.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

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)