Rhapsody Of Fire - The Frozen Tears Of Angels (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

'Rhapsody Of Fire are finally back!' exclaims the official website. Was it worth the wait? Well, actually, yeah - if you like that sort of thing.
Release Date: 
29 Apr 2010 (All day)

The next thing the website says is, 'Be Ready To Discover The Ancient Secret Trapped Between The Frozen Lands Of The Known World!', which clearly makes no sense at all. But do we need bands like this to make sense? The band has been around in one form or another since 1993, called Rhapsody and Thundercross in their time. They're from Italy and bill themselves as a symphonic power metal band. Which is exactly what they are, and which is exactly why we shouldn't expect them to make sense.

The Frozen Tears Of Angels is their eighth studio album and they maintain their combination of fast, powerful guitars, heavy riffage, film score arrangements and epic vocals. They have a very classical, often baroque sound infusing their metal and they do a good job of building a sense of atmosphere throughout the album. Dialogue and sound-effect intros bring a cohesive vibe to the album and multiple voice choirs add to the epic nature of the whole.

There's talk of heroes being led through the domain of the trolls into magic woods and the like. There are moments of medieval romantic instrumental, with flutes and lutes, leading into up-beat guitar-driven melody. This is stuff for the fantasy trilogy lover in all of us.

The whole album is guitar driven - if anything the bass is a little bit lost in it all - and any geeky neo-classical fret wanker will love the solo work on this recording. But, and this is a big but, the record is not restricted to that kind of masturbatory self-congratulation.

The composition of the songs and the general construction of the album as a whole, is excellent. The production is massive and the power of the power metal is very present. The moments of calmness and melody, almost ballad passages, can be quite beautiful, but they inevitably build back into the power. This is an energising and invigorating album and somewhat of a return to form for Rhapsody Of Fire after some disappointment with previous releases.

If you're a fan of the symphonic power metal sound and you like a big, fat album full of guitar mastery (and let's be honest, who doesn't?) then you'll love this new Rhapsody Of Fire record. It's the kind of album that makes you want to dress in leather and chain-mail and run through frosty forests swinging a massive sword. It's the kind of record that makes you want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. You get the idea.

Rhapsody of Fire's The Frozen Tears of Angels is out on 29 April 2010 on Nuclear Blast/Riot.