Rhapsody of Fire - Dark Wings of Steel (2013)

The fact is, two is better than one. These guys behind symphonic metal giant, Rhapsody of Fire, are too productive to being put in one cage. So, they decided to split into two bands. No joking, the two band are extremely similar, with copy paste logo and name. So there be it, Luca Turilli's version released their 'first' album earlier, Ascending to Infinity, which was extremely Rhapsody of Fire-ian and quite a successful one. While the 'original' version, Rhapsody of Fire under Alex Staropoli comes a bit late. In fact, RoF seems to be a little unstable, especially due to changes in the main instrumentalist, the guitarist. As we know Tom Hess was official hired gun (or warrior, to fit the theme) but then he was out, replaced by lesser known Roberto De Micheli. In the first impression, it is easy to see that Luca Turilli's version remained faithful to RoF, while this one seems trimmed out most of neo-classical influence and the orchestration, strangely, less ambitious than Luca's. However, Fabio Lione present still the main reason to called this band the original RoF.

Vis Divina itself already a slight changes, it bring in other dimension of 'overture' to RoF repertoire with even darker choir works. Rising from Tragic Flames is historically the first Rhapsody of Fire song without Luca Turilli. The opening riffs is true RoF-type, the choir just before the entrance of Fabio Lione and Fabio himself put us back to the rail of Rhapsody of Fire music. Typical bombastic symphonic metal we already listen for more than ten years. As noted before, the usage of neo-classical licks seems to reduced, Angel of Light perhaps will be not the easiest song to predict coming from RoF, so this is the new novelty from the band! It's a strong song with epic chorus in the middle, excellent jobs. Roberto De Micheli is given the opportunity to shine in Tears of Pain. Again, not a very typical RoF groove we must admit. This song seems to strengthen the new sound RoF trying to achieve. Fly to Crystal Skies is also catchy riffs from De Micheli, the feel seems similar to previous Tears of Pain, galloping drumming are good. Even the Elvish-ian slow song is now changed without too many harmonic minor things ala Luca, this is concluded from the sad ballad My Sacrifice. Silver Lake of Tears is actually their first song presented to public, typical RoF song in their sad power metal mode. We repeat the slow and sad mood in Custode di Pace. A Tale of Magic is another nicely composed riffs and beat, let listeners to remember the song easier.  Dark Wings of Steel is interesting bombastic orchestration song, which at some point looks very tempting to imagine a female gothic singer into it. And another surprise. This is the first Rhapsody of Fire album without the longest "Finale" as their last track. This album simply closed with 'regular' 4 minutes song called Sad Mystic Moon. Which is I myself a little bit not satisfied with this type of ending. Dudes, this is RoF, we should end the album with the epic-est bang!

Quite a surprise from Rhapsody of Fire. Talking about originality, RoF is hardly can avoid being repeat themselves. Yet, Dark Wings of Steel will put most loyal RoF fans into a minute of stunned, because this album is different. The in-present of Luca Turilli is clearly the main factor. We distance away from lengthy neo-classical licks, less folk elements,  even the story narrator is now gone. Alex Staropoli comes in charge for more keyboard stuffs as melodic instrument now, and Roberto De Micheli even though put a very best solos inside the body of RoF, still less phenomenal than Luca's playing. In many seconds, the bassist seems louder than before. And of course on top of all, Fabio Lione vocal hypnotized it all. Nevertheless, this album will throw away most of A-class power metal album, Dark Wings of Steel will still remained in the VIP class. For information, Luca Turilli is now preparing the 'retaliation'. The fans is the only side taking advantage of their epic rivalry.

Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Rhapsody of Fire - Dark Wings of Steel (2013)
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1. Vis Divina
2. Rising from Tragic Flames
3. Angel of Light
4. Tears of Pain
5. Fly to Crystal Skies
6. My Sacrifice
7. Silver Lake of Tears
8. Custode di Pace
9. A Tale of Magic
10. Dark Wings of Steel
11. Sad Mystic Moon

Alex Staropoli - keyboards
Fabio Lione - vocals
Alex Holzwarth - drums
Roberto De Micheli - guitars
Oliver Holzwarth - bass

Rhapsody of Fire Dark Wings Of Steel album review

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