The immortal Rhapsody of Fire tribe was shaken when founder/guitar player Luca Turilli decided to pursue his own dreams with a new incarnation of Rhapsody. Meanwhile, his former band-mates in Rhapsody of Fire were busy traveling all over the globe, with one of the longest and most ambitious tours this band had ever undergone. And while many speculate about which direction their next studio effort is going to take, the Fabio Lione and Alex Staropoli fronted outfit decided to reward their most loyal fans with a little souvenir from their extensive “From Chaos to Eternity World Tour:” Live – From Chaos to Eternity, which also marks their first release under the AFM Records banner .
The album was recorded on various locations, Pratteln, Milano and Paris, just to name a few. The set-list was diverse and included tracks from the latest release, From Chaos to Eternity, some new tracks, as well as the classic songs and some rarities, such as “Land of Immortals” or “Knightrider of Doom.” The first disc is mostly comprised of tracks from the last couple of releases, including “Triumph or Agony,” “Unholy Warcry,” and “Aeons of Raging Darkness.” The second disk contains some of the finest Rhapsody of Fire tunes, such as “Holy Thunderforce,” “March of the Swordmaster,” and naturally, “Emerald Sword.” This represents a fine balance, and although one might expect more from the second CD, it is in fact the first one that surprised me the most: the new tracks are fresh and full of energy, and some even sound much better live (such as “I Belong to the Stars”).
Although the album was recorded in various venues, the sound does not reflect this change: aside from Fabio thanking the crowds in various languages, the album is coherent as though it had been recorded in one go. Unlike their previous, rather polished, live effort, Live in Canada, this one has the raw energy a live recording should have. The instruments have the leading role, and the pre-recorded choirs serve only to emphasize the epic nature of the compositions. According to Staropoli, “Not one single part was re-recorded in studio,” and this is another fact that makes this album sound as powerful and lively as it does. Fabio Lione once again proves that he is one of the most passionate and talented vocalists on the contemporary metal scene. Also, what might come as a relief to many skeptical fans, the two new guitarists, Tom Hess and Roberto De Micheli, do not feel like new members at all, as they sound skilled and well-coordinated, as if they had been in the band for many years already.
All in all, Rhapsody of Fire deliver a fine live product, perhaps even the best of this kind in their career. Although at first I was bothered by the fact that this this is not the recording of a single show, that fact was soon forgotten, after hearing how enthusiastic and skillful the band sounds. We can only hope that they deliver just as an amazing studio opus, continuing their legacy of exceptional symphonic metal releases.[signoff predefined=”Signoff 1″][/signoff]