Music has often been referred to as the great uniter – no matter the other differences, we can often come together over a common band, album, or genre. Nowhere is this more true than in the metal genres – especially in the prog/power arenas. Of course, nowhere else can music be a greater divider than in those same genres, and the new release from LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY, Prometheus – Symphonia Ignis Divinus (out June 30 via Nuclear Blast Records) really draws a line in the sand for those looking for a dust up over music.
I love Luca Turilli – he’s a top tier guitarist, and it was a privilege to see him live in 2013. Alessandro Conti is one of my favorite young vocalists – I loved his performances of classic RHAPSODY songs live, and his singing on Ascending to Infinity is one of my favorite vocal recordings of recent years. That said, I’m not really sold on this new album, despite the amazing array of talent between these two men.
There are songs that completely destroy me in a good way – “Il Cigno Nero” and “Il Tempo Degli Dei” are well paced and Alessandro’s vocals are so beautiful that they made me forget that he’s singing in Italian and that I didn’t understand a word. “Yggdrasil” warmed up nicely for me and quickly became a favorite, and even “Rosenkreuz (The Rose and The Cross)” became a track that I really enjoyed despite an initial blah reception from my brain, courtesy of many, many plays. “Anahata” was a similar track – it felt odd, but grew on me the more that I listened to it.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album didn’t resonate with me as well. Some of the songs start out with such promise, and then the choirs come in and take over the song, which just really isn’t my thing at all. I enjoy the symphonic and choral elements, but on some of these tracks, they just stop down the song and unbalance it in my mind. “One Ring To Rule Them All” is a good example of this, and while I’ve started to adapt to the flow of the song, it’s just not going to stick with me. I felt the same about “King Solomon And The 72 Names Of God” – too opera for me, I guess.
I was split on a couple of the others. I love Alessandro’s singing on “Notturno”, but I wasn’t a fan of the opera singing that layered over and under his vocals. “Of Michael The Archangel…” I absolutely loved the first eight minutes – it built well with a really good mix of symphonic, opera, and neoclassical power metal, right up until the midway part of the song, where it just completely lost me with the artistic overload before bringing me back in with about four minutes to go. It’s a pretty decent track, but I just get really bored for four minutes right in the middle of the longest and what should be the most epic song on the disc.
Finally – “Prometheus”. I LOVE this track. It feels so right and huge and awesome and I want to give it a big bear hug. I’m not just doing a compliment sandwich – for me, the title track is the highlight of this release.
In the end, though, I felt like I had to work too hard to try to enjoy this from start to finish, and despite 30+ plays, it never really grabbed me and pulled me in the way other releases have. It’s not terribly accessible to the average fan of symphonic power metal, and while about half of it made me really happy, the other half just confused the hell out of my auditory meatus.
If you really love extremely symphonic power metal, operatic metal, or are a diehard RHAPSODY-til-you-die fan, this is probably essential for your collection. For me, it’s just not, but that’s okay. We can all still be friends, right?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Prometheus”, “Il Cigno Nero”, “Yggdrasil”, Il Tempo Degli Dei”