Power Metal is one of those Metal subgenres that can either make you throw a fist into the air and howl, or roll your eyes and let out a heavy groan. With the rise of what is now commonly called ‘arena metal’, there comes a growing anti-fanbase for Power Metal and those bands who shout, chant, and sing about Fantasy – whether it’s battling Wizards in some strange time-space fracture, raising a Sword against some Demonic Foe, or simply journeying across unknown lands, there is either admiration or irritation in the way that many of these tales are told through musical exploration.

Rhapsody of Fire is one of those bands. Starting out in the early 90’s, they traveled across serpent-filled seas, battling Trolls on high Mountains, and fighting off dark magic to bring us the best of the best. Tales are expanded from not one song to the next but, one album to the next, making us take up our own sword to journey alongside them on the next path of their adventure. With songs like “Unholy Warcry” and “The Magic of the Wizard’s Dream” pulling us in with victory-ensuring instrumentals, our pact was signed and sealed when the vocals would rise up and begin to reveal their darkened secrets. They have paved their own way through the decades, earning respect from many under the Metal genre, and in no way can we deny their impact when it comes to pioneering the Symphonic Power Metal subgenre.

With infectious speeches, only enhancing the legends of which they sing, there is a strange attraction to the bard-like enchantment that cannot be so easily denied when it comes to Italy’s Rhapsody of Fire‘s songs. Their newest album “Glory For Salvation” (AFM Records), which dropped November 26th, 2021, is no different -continuing on from their last album, “The Eighth Mountain” and once more setting the tone for en epic journey in Chapter II of this Trilogy.

Each track marks a new chapter in the Hero’s endless journey, with this album flowing seamlessly from one song to the next and echoing out the history from the past album with tracks like “Rain of Fury” easily tying into new songs like “Chains of Destiny”. There is a path to be chosen, discoveries to be made, battle to be had, and magic to embrace.

Tracks like “The Kingdom of Ice” are speedy, catchy, and hard not to sing along with. It has all the classic elements of early Rhapsody and Power Metal tied in with the symphonic chanting, and the guitar shredding that places high atop an icy peak on some unseen mountain-scape. Giacomo starts low and slow, building his vocal strength throughout until the chorus demands his full strength which he displays with pride. It’s the vocals, combined with the instrumental that make the stories so captivating; I wholeheartedly believe that if it were merely told, or sung in any way without such pitch, it wouldn’t have the same magic as it does with Giacomo at the helm.

We follow the frozen rivers of the Icy Kingdom into the tale of “Terial the Hawk” with its intro of “Eternal Snow” that is reminiscent of a Bard’s song being sang in a dimly lit tavern on a cold winter’s night. It’s tragic, enchanting, and holds the acoustic harmonies we tend to focus on when thinking of old Heroic songs. Flutes, pipes, and gentle guitar strumming make us close our eyes, carrying us to a far off land before dropping the slow burn and throwing us into the wildfire. You can drink, you can dance, and you can picture the scene in a Tavern or Inn with ease

“Maid of the Secret Sand” holds epicness and high notes that Power Metal is known for, with symphonic lyrics that bring the nostalgia of classic Rhapsody of Fire back to the front – like that from the tracks on “Symphony of Enchanted Lands II (The Dark Secret)” that left us enthralled in 2004.

There is double-kickers, keyboards, powerful solos, and epic highs held longer than I can hold my breath. But, in particular, if you’re looking for a tasty guitar solo, it has to go to the track “Infinitae Gloriae” and all its ear-piercing, finger shredding, guitar-flinging goodness as expected with Roby de Micheli’s skillful hands.

Of course, we can’t forget “Abyss of Pain II” which runs at nearly 11-minutes long with a dark and dreary atmosphere at its forefront. A darker chapter of this story had to be told, and this track unfolds it mercilessly. Tales of Mercenaries and those who would undertake the most heinous of deeds at the right price. Each song has perfectly imaginative lyrics but, for those who love to create their own imagery, Rhapsody leaves room for that as well.

“Magic Signs” is a beautifully orchestrated ballad that is deep, passionate, and telling of a poet writing out his sorrowful experiences. He bleeds emotion, and pours out his heart for us without hesitation. It’s Alessandro’s strong bass-work that keeps the mood of this track hammering us right in the chest; carefully paving the way for “I’ll Be Your Hero” that throws us into the head-banging, power screams, and quick pace that we’ve been dying to hear on this album.

However, for me, it is “Chains of Destiny” that caught my attention for this album and it remains as my favourite – it’s fast, catchy, symphonic, melodic and combines all my favourite elements that make Symphonic and Power Metal some of my favourite subgenres to explore, and continue listening to. With a music video that dropped on November 12th, 2021, I was left absolutely stunned. To witness Paolo’s epic drumming, and Alex’s keyboard skills after listening to this song over and over was an absolute treat.

For those of you eager to take an imaginative journey to a land filled with magic, Dragons, Knights, and mystery – look no further than Rhapsody of Fire’s “Glory For Salvation”. It’s sure to quench your power metal thirst.

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Favourite Tracks: Chains of Destiny & Kingdom of Ice

Track List:
1.) Son of Vengeance
2.) The Kingdom of Ice
3.) Glory for Salvation
4.) Eternal Snow
5.) Terial the Hawk
6.) Maid of the Secret Sand
7.) Abyss of Pain II
8.) Infinitae Gloriae
9.) Magic Signs
10.) I’ll Be Your Hero
11.) Chains of Destiny
12.) Un’ode Per L’eroe
13.) La Esencia de un Ray