Rhapsody of Fire: From Chaos to Eternity

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Rhapsody of Fire: From Chaos to Eternity
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Rhapsody: From Chaos to Eternity
Orchestral Power Metal, Symphonic Power Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
June 17th, 2011
Release length: 57:24
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As The Dark Secret Saga carries on, Rhapsody of Fire finds themselves on the third chapter of their latest epic. Roughly one year after their highly successful The Frozen Tears of Angels, the quickly anticipated follow-up, From Chaos to Eternity, hit store shelves everywhere. With positive fan and critic feedback from the lead single, “Aeons of Raging Darkness,” many expected another top notch entry into the group’s discography. But, does this recording have what it takes to grab the listener?

The production of this release is rather similar to The Frozen Tears of Angels. The guitars sound a little on the weaker side though, being more of a lighter pitched sharper buzz. The bass guitar is a lot richer in comparison, though also does find some heightened pitch here and there. The keyboards once again play a more important role, drowning the guitars out a little, but not in too detrimental a manner, and when utilized they genuinely capture a dark or empowering atmosphere. The snares of the drum kit are nicely varied, but mostly are a mid-range pitch, while the bass kicks are a subtle click that doesn’t put too much emphasis on power. The cymbals are pretty crisp as well, but much like the kicks end up sounding largely uninspiring.

Unfortunately, that’s something that can be felt through many of the songs. The non-orchestral parts of “Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds” end up sounding very weak, and can wind up pretty boring, especially given the softer passages that incorporate acoustic guitar work when things calm down. The vocals do change up a bit in the layering, which sounds good, but overall the largely buzzing guitars leave a good deal to be desired, unlike even the introduction which finds a decent blend of symphonic keyboards and louder chords that make a stronger impact, enhanced well enough by choir chanting and a brief narration. This leads into “From Chaos to Eternity,” which carries a similar louder guitar sound, but not always as fast or as intricate as the notes being played prior to it. There are some bass-driven passages that sound pretty good, and the kicks really help to give it a little extra deeper push that it desperately needs, especially for the sections that hit prior to the chorus.

“Anima Perduta” is a surprisingly beautiful and emotional piece. The Operatic tendencies of Rhapsody of Fire is well respected here, and from the moment it starts does a nice job building up that tension and epic foundation. There are additional effects of a woman crying in the background, which helps with the somber atmosphere of the music against a soft, depressive clean singing approach. The chorus adorns a richer sound, and incorporates some background male opera vocals, perfectly amplifying the much darker symphony. In a way, this acts as a nice introduction to “Aeons of Raging Darkness,” which is a far more aggressive track in comparison. Unfortunately, there are times where the stronger drumming drowns out the rest of the music thanks to the dominant snares, but those faster bridges are rather restrained. The vocals take on a much harsher rhasp approach that suits the intensity and speed, and the bass often backs up the Classical inspired guitar solos, though the more Progressive Metal keyboard solo doesn’t quite fit the tone the band is going for, even though it is rather impressive.

From Chaos to Eternity ends with a near twenty minute epic. “Heroes of the Waterfalls’ Kingdom” is similar to many other Rhapsody tracks, as it features more narration and some real over-the-top Symphonic and Orchestral elements to it that do stand out. The drumming here is fantastic as well and nicely links some of the passages, especially around the richer material prior to focus on story telling. However, this one is rather interesting in that it literally does sound like various songs put together, and not just different chapters of a song that sounds largely the same start to finish. Much of this is because of the narration and character voice acting that ushers in different parts of the tale, as well as a dramatic shift in the music. Overall, it isn’t a bad song, but the acting is, sometimes being hard to tell which character is talking, if it’s narration, or figuring out if the grunts are cries of pain or thrusting moans of sexual delight. It does sound like the closing of the The Dark Secret Saga at least, and if that wasn’t the intention, it could have fooled anyone. Sadly, this isn’t an impressive conclusion to the story, or even this chapter of it, and leaves you feeling as though you did not receive the closure you should have.

While From Chaos to Eternity isn’t a bad album, it’s really not that great either. There’s a decent amount of enjoyable tracks, but there’s barely any here that make a huge impact on the listener. The Operatic elements greatly dwarf the Classical influences that makes the Rhapsody albums so exciting and memorable, and the Symphonic sections dominate too much without offering anything that really hits the listener emotionally. It also doesn’t help that the production quality seems to favor that aspect more than the traditional instruments of the Power Metal style. With a handful of engaging songs, including “From Chaos to Eternity,” “Anima Perduta,” and “Aeons of Raging Darkness,” this is easily one of the lesser entries into the Rhapsody library. While fans won’t exactly write it off, it definitely won’t win any new ones over, or have those most loyal coming back anytime soon for repeat spins.

01. Ad Infinitum – 1:29
02. From Chaos to Eternity – 5:45
03. Tempesta di Fuoco – 4:46
04. Ghosts of Forgotten worlds – 5:31
05. Anima Perduta – 4:45
06. Aeons of Raging Darkness – 5:41
07. I Belong to the Stars – 4:52
08. Tornado – 4:55
09. Heroes of the Waterfalls’ Kingdom – 19:38
Overall Score: 6/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.