When I read about Luca Turilli leaving Rhapsody of Fire (ROF) and starting his own band, I thought that it’d be the end of ROF, since Luca was the mastermind behind the band, and wondered whether he’d just continue under his own name (he had released a few albums like this) or if he’d start something new. I would have never thought that not only would ROF survive, but that Luca would continue as… Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. When I read about the band’s name I honestly thought that it had to be a joke and that there was no way that this was serious. While going from Rhapsody to Rhapsody of Fire had been silly (( Nanowar mocked this going from Nanowar to Nanowar of Steel )), this was truly a completely new level of goofiness (( I had a similar reaction when I heard about Gloryhammer, Alestorm’s Christopher Bowes‘ power metal side project )) since not only was Luca Turilli’s name almost invisible in the logo, but also the font used for “Rhapsody” was the exact same one used in ROF’s logo.
But no, he was serious. And the fact that nobody is getting sued truly blows my mind (although the fact that they’re all under Nuclear Blast probably helps) ((Let’s not forget what happened with Oliver-Dawson’s Saxon )). So, even though it seems like the equivalent of divorcing your wife continue living with her, here’s the final product.
I was skeptical about Luca‘s album, since I expected it to be either ROF under another name or to be a bit too dramatic and “epic” for my taste; and although I wasn’t too wrong on the first suspicion, I was completely mistaken on the second one.
Ascending to Infinity is a powerful album that, unlike what happened with some of Luca’s solo works, has nothing to envy from ROF. Singer Alessandro Conti (singer of Trick or Treat), who was recommended for the job by Fabio Lione himself, since Luca wanted an Italian (no doubt, necessary to give the performances needed in the Italian songs included in the album) gives the performance of a lifetime, showing that his (excellent) work in Trick or Treat (a band that is sometimes dismissed as childish) has prepared him well to tackle this challenge in the major leagues; his vocal range has proven to be just what Luca needed to make his “first” release powerful and epic.
Of course, it would be foolish to think that a band created by the mastermind behind ROF, with almost the same name, would be completely different. This is, of course, one of the lowest points of this album, since it does sound a bit too much like Rhapsody of Fire, something that although is not necessarily a bad thing, does make you wonder why on Earth did Luca need to work on his own, with new musicians, to make an album that would fit perfectly in ROF’s discography.
Ascending to Infinity is an album that will, undoubtedly, appeal to the fans of Rhapsody of Fire as well as to fans of power and epic metal. However, due to the similarities, if you don’t like Rhapsody of Fire then you should stay away from this release altogether.