The second that "Symphony of Enchanted Lands" left my CD player for the first time I was already thirsting for more bombastic, epic Hollywood metal. Never mind if they sometimes went over-the-top most drastically, fact was that this music was cool beyond a mere chill. In the months to come I found myself enjoying Rhapsody in concert and eating up Rhapsody guitarist Luca Turilli's solo album.

Now, finally, an end has come to waiting for the actual follow-up to Rhapsody's most excellent album, in the shape of "Dawn of Victory". Lavish artwork, lavish instrumentation, more use of classical instruments and choires - "Dawn of Victory" is a logical continuation of where "Symhonies of Enchanted Lands" left off. The album starts right away with a spoken intro, classical interludes and a choire in "Lux Triumphans", followed on its heels by classic Rhapsody material in the shape of the title track, full of fast-paced double drums, elaborate synth fills and rapid riffing: Rhapsody's back!

I love the way these guys take their concept, supercharge it with neoclassical testosterone, then pump it up with enough fantasy to knock off their socks the entire Dragonlance team.

"Dawn of Victory" contains classic Rhapsody tracks ("Dargor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountain", up-tempo Hollywood metal bliss!), church-bell-embellished rocking singalongs ("Holy Thunderforce", which is also released on a single with two non-album version tracks), flashy neoclassical cuts ("Triumph for my Magic Steel" and "Trolls in the Dark") and pure hard-core epic drama ("The Last Winged Unicorn", probably the finest track, together with "The Mighty Ride of the Firelord").

There is no doubt that they have at least equalled their former efforts, making "Dawn of Victory" as unmissable an album as "Symphonies of Enchanted Lands" was. I hope this album will finally enable Rhapsody to do a headlining tour with all the bits they want to incorporate (fighting scenes, more drama, classical instruments, choire...).

Click here to check out or buy this CD



Written October 2000


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