Rhapsody - The Dark Secret

Year of Release: 2004
Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Catalog Number: 693723009926
Format: CD
Total Time: 29:44:00

Rhapsody like to call themselves "The Mighty Rhapsody." Who knows why ? but there's no denying that their version of metal fits that adjective.

For years, Rhapsody has released albums and an EP that described an ongoing dungeons-and-dragons saga, which finally wrapped up with their pi?ce de r?sistance, the mighty Power Of The Dragonflame which received critical acclaim on these august pages. In that series of albums, Rhapsody adopted the label "Hollywood Metal" for their new sub-genre of metal. The label fits well, though. Rhapsody's music develops such huge soundscapes and describes such grand epics that Hollywood itself would be challenged to match the pomposity of it all.

So what does a band do when its multi-CD saga has officially ended? Well - Rhapsody has done several things:

  • First, they have started a whole new saga, which will again run across a series of releases.

  • Second, they tell us they've invented a new sub-genre of metal ? this time it's called "Film Score Metal."

  • Third, they have released The Dark Secret EP as a teaser, which serves as a prologue to the new story.

  • But they already have a full album in the can, scheduled for release three months after the EP.

  • The music features appearances by more than a dozen international guest soloists.

  • And finally - they snagged one of Hollywood's most notable personalities and have integrated him into the project - his picture is on the cover, his voice is on the CD, and his daughter is part of the project too!

No wonder they've dropped the "Hollywood" title - these guys' marketing tactics leave Hollywood in the dust!

Christopher (Saruman) Lee is integral to the project, and his rich baritone narrative is utterly convincing. Look for more contributions in the album. In addition, his daughter Christina Lee sings in the role of a 'Warrior Princess.' Incidentally, Christopher Lee is a classically trained opera singer ? so the music world is familiar territory for him.

Rhapsody's music was always excellent, but The Dark Secret eclipses their prior albums in most respects. The massive production was handled by Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli in studios in England, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany. The 50-piece choir sounds similar to the choirs they used in the past, and they have employed a full-strength philharmonic orchestra from the Czech Republic. The music is still based in progressive or power metal, but the choir and orchestra are far more impressive.

There are two really important advances made by Rhapsody: The songwriting incorporates more of the elements and disciplines of classical music, and the metal instrumentation is much more tightly coupled to the orchestra. The two disparate formats, modern and classical, weave into one another seamlessly to form a wonderful blend that ends far too soon. This EP only lasts 29-and-a-bit minutes, although the Limited Edition includes a Making Of The Dark Secret DVD, as well as a 5.1 surround sound mix of one on the tracks. Only one of the five songs will appear on the full album, and the 5th track is "Non Ho Sonno," originally composed by Goblin for a movie. See? There's that Film Score reference again.

One negative observation: Fabio Lione sometimes drops into an anguished spoken voice, and it is frankly unconvincing. The accent is strong, and the angst he's trying to impart just doesn't work. But the man's singing is still one of the standards in metal.

This promises be a mighty saga, and the mighty Rhapsody just might have outdone themselves.

Unholy Warcry (short version) / Thunder's Mighty Roar / Guardians Of Destiny (English version) / Sacred Power Of Raging Winds / Non Ho Sonno (remix)

Fabio Lione - vocals
Luca Turilli - guitar
Alex Staropoli - keyboards
Patrice Guers - bass
Alex Holzwarth - drums

Special Guests:

Dominique Leurquin - guitar
Christopher Lee - vocals / narrative

Legendary Tales (1997)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands (1998)
Dawn Of Victory (2000)
Rain Of A Thousand Flames (2001)
Power Of The Dragonflame (2002)
The Dark Secret (2004)
Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret (2004)
Rhapsody Of Fire - Triumph Or Agony (The Dark Secret Saga, Part II) (2007)
Rhapsody Of Fire - The Frozen Tears Of Angels (2010)

Rhapsody Of Fire - Visions From The Enchanted Lands (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: July 6th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website: www.mightyrhapsody.com
Hits: 928
Language: english


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