Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody - Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus

Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus cover
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody
Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus
Nuclear Blast
Luca Turrili, is a nice guy, generally speaking and back when he came out with the original Rhapsody albums, he managed to really capture the public’s imagination with his very melodic and annunciated epic power metal, that featured tons of ornamentations and followed a very neoclassical train of thought.
With each consequent year and album, the band managed to evolve their sound to a point after which they started to descend slowly into self-parody. The choice to go into business with Manowar’s MagicCircle Music, did cause tensions, had them sitting idle for a long period waiting for their contract to expire and even induced a name change. The band after all, reverted to its original name, but a rift between the main contributors, has caused them to split into two different entities, Luca’s own version of the band, with new but quite capable members and basically pretty much the rest of the band, keeping the “Rhapsody Of Fire” moniker. Mockingly both bands are label mates.
Both version of Rhapsody did release, new albums, with Luca’s material having a more bombastic nature, while the other one, being more straightforward. Those who hated, the extravagance, of the original band sided with “ROF” and those that just loved it, with Luca’s version. I must say that I felt that this “divorce”, shows that both sides had their merits and did achieve some great things together, that they are not able to replicate fully on their own.
Luca’s greatest achievement was to draft in Alessandro Conti, who studied as a tenor at the Corale Lirica Rossini, the same school attended by the great Luciano Pavarotti and is a fine tenor, who can give Fabio a run for his money and then some and is quite more refined, accent wise, without however losing that bizarre Italian coloratura.
Compared to their previous album “Ascending to Eternity”, Luca’s version of the band, goes for even more overblown arrangements, that apart from some pleasant melodies and Conti’s undeniable vocal prowess, seem to just be pointless exercises, in how much orchestrations one can squeeze into a song. An awful lot of verses, also are in Italian, that might feel easier on the band to compose and somewhat more operatic in quality, but on the other hand, sound quite pretentious. Overall, the album, mingles the styles of some of earlier Rhapsody with some of Luca’s solo material (“Prophet of the Last Eclipse”) but manages to mess things up a bit.
“Nova Genesis (Ad Splendorem Angeli Triumphantis)”, is a nice operatic intro (with bizarre mechanical beats in its midst) to “Il Cigno Nero” (The Black Swan), which is a superbly executed, but not too characteristic song that embodies all the trademarks of the band’s sound and their knack for the grandiose.
“Rosenkreuz (The Rose and the Cross)”, is the album’s single and one of the most straight forward “metallic” songs, even with all the orchestrations...
“Anahata” goes back to the operatic style, but apart from a few nice pre-chorus verses, it doesn’t have some huge highlight. Conti impresses, but he cannot alone shoulder the song.
“Il Tempo Degli Dei” sounds like the band going a bit pop-italo-disco, while externally maintaining the symphonic mantle. (dance-like beats etc., mix with the bands usual style) It’s not completely bad, but it’s quite unusual.
“One Ring to Rule Them All” further fragments the flow of the album all cinematic and out of climate. It has some soundtrack like qualities, but overall, isn’t much to dwell upon.
“Notturno” is a slow, passionately sung duet, with Conti managing to display both his range, without having to resort to his higher notes all the time, as he seems to dwell on lower and mid octaves, for a good portion of the song, only rising to the occasion on chorus parts etc.
“Prometheus” encompasses all that’s wrong with the album. It’s an overblown piece, that has some nice music themes, but just tosses a bunch of impressive Latin apothegms, randomly, along with some inconsequential, unintelligible English lyrics, which also seem and feel completely random.
Anyhow, “King Solomon and the 72 Names of God” is as tiresome, as its name suggests all cinematic and quite uneventful in all its bombast.
“Yggdrasil” is typical of Turilli’s solo works, but still doesn’t manage to impress too much.
And “Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer’s Fall Part II: Codex Nemesis” the sequel to the previous albums ten minute plus epic, just crumbles under its own ambition. Even with several interesting parts, the eighteen plus minutes, include a lot of repetition, narrations, solos and quite boring more ambient parts... it seriously feels like 2-3 different songs, joined into one… and it’s sad, since there are quite a few nice parts in it, but not enough to keep you interested for eighteen minutes.
Lastly on the digipack edition there’s a cover of Riot’s “Thundersteel” (Cinematic version) included as a bonus track. The lush orchestration is interesting and Conti certainly has the pipes to not mangle the song, but the whole approach, feels, at the very least “bizarre”. Some might love and some might hate it, but while it’s interesting, I can’t but appreciate how damn good and to the point the original was, not needing a ton of ornamentations to “work”...
Overblown is the operative word here and while all the orchestrations and some of the melodies are indeed nice, Luca has to scale this back a bit, to keep things interesting… for the time being Conti and his co-conspirators save him from embarrassment, but… I don’t know how many more epic – filmscore songs I could take. Surely, the sound is unique and gave “Rhapsody” its special flair, but more substance is necessary, to keep someone interested and coming back and Luca, lacks it, a bit...