|Review: Rhapsody of Fire - The Eighth Mountain|
|The Eighth Mountain|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2019
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: February 25, 2019
Reviewed by: MetalMike
for:The Eighth Mountain
Rhapsody of Fire is one of the longest-running power metal bands in existence (just Rhapsody early on) and the progenitor of the "Italian school" of power metal. The Eighth Mountain is the band's 13th full-length album and finds them in fine form. It is just dripping with Paganini-inspired guitar leads and Mozart-esque keyboards, both the kind with so many notes, they seem nearly impossible for a human to play. Founding keyboardist Alex Starapoli is the only member with more than 10 years in the band, but he's surrounded himself with plenty of talent, capped by singer Giacomo Voli who has the powerful, almost operatic voice Rhapsody of Fire is known for. He's got the big of shoes of Fabio Lione to fill, but does so admirably.
Musically, The Eighth Mountain is a return to Rhapsody of Fire's roots in many ways. Lyrically, the songs share a theme of "lost souls". It may not be a "saga" on the level of Symphony of Enchanted Lands, but linking songs together is what the band does best. They've also opened the taps and let loose with a number of speedy anthems full of double-kick drums and the aforementioned keyboard and guitar acrobatics, something which will surely warm the hearts of power metal fans everywhere. You've got the opener "Abyss of Pain" followed by "Seven Heroic Deeds" and "Master of Peace", all played at a pace that will leave you gasping for breath. They back off a bit for a few tracks to get in some orchestral instruments (they worked with the Bulgarian National Symphony Orchestra) and the first of two longer, "epic" songs ("March Against the Tyrant") but by the time "Clash of Times" comes around, the pedal is back to the metal. As is Rhapsody of Fire's habit, The Eighth Mountain is over an hour long and with that much time to fill and the limitation of playing so fast, some of the songs blend together a bit (to wit, "Seven Heroic Deeds" and "Master of Peace," both of which I like a lot, but if I'm not paying attention, they pass for a single, long track). The songwriting is excellent throughout the album and to finish with style, it ends with a narration from legendary British actor Christopher Lee.
Long-time fans of Rhapsody of Fire should welcome The Eighth Mountain with open arms. I love power metal in all its forms, and I haven't enjoyed one of their albums this much in years. If you've never liked the band (or the style), give this one a spin, it might just change your mind.
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