Jul 15

Rhapsody – Ascending to Infinity (2012)

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Through the years, Rhapsody’s music has evolved with new themes and styles, but none so significant as the leap made by Ascending to Infinity’s release. Although it is considered by the band to be Rhapsody’s 11th album, it separates itself from the music and theme that Rhapsody is generally known for.

Forming in 1993 as Thundercross, founder Luca Turilli, along with the first lineup of himself, Alex Staropoli, Daniele Carbonara, began to create a Symphonic Metal band, which over the years would ultimately drift more towards Power Metal. Shortly after, they changed their name to “Rhapsody”, and made a lineup change that would include the induction of Fabio Lione and Alessandro Lotta to the band. After the lineup was complete once again, Rhapsody started the Emerald Sword saga, which spanned over the length of 5 albums. In 2000, Alex Holzwarth joined the band, replacing original member Daniele Carbonera on drums, followed by the replacement of Lotta with Patrice Guers in 2003. After the first saga was brought to a close, The Dark Secret Saga was shortly thereafter initiated with the release of Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II, and followed up by Triumph or Agony, The Frozen Tears of Angels, and From Chaos to Eternity. In the middle of those releases, however, the band took a year and a half long break to settle copyright issues over the name “Rhapsody”, which ultimately was changed to “Rhapsody of Fire” before the band continued recording and touring.

Throughout the band’s history, the biggest turning point is easily the split of the band. In 2011, Guers and main songwriter Turilli left the band to form Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. Alex Holzwarth was a member of both bands, until he resigned from LT’s Rhapsody, not being able to be in both bands at once. Currently, the lineup of Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody consists of Turilli, Guers, Alessandro Conti, Dominique Leurquin, Alex Landenburg.

Although the album is similar to Rhapsody of Fire’s discography, Ascending to Infinity cannot be truly appreciated unless it is listened to as it’s own entity, and without reference to anything else. The differences between Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody and Rhapsody of Fire are enough that one could spend their time comparing them, rather than enjoying the new album’s artistic integrity and careful production.

Clocking in at 2:55, the shortest track Quantum X sets the album up for a slight more cinematic feel than what Rhapsody of Fire is known for, along with a more “digital” approach. The song Ascending to Infinity brings more familiarity as it begins a guitar solo that any fan can automatically recognize as Luca’s, as well as introduces the vocalist Alessandro Conti, who makes his debut in the album by showing off his voice. Dante’s Inferno is primarily symphonic and vocalized, with the guitar and drums taking a backseat to the rest. Compared to the rest of the album, Excalibur is surprisingly folk related, beginning with uppity medieval sounding instruments before gradually going back the “doomsday” theme of the album

Dark Fate of Atlantis, which was the first released song and music video for Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, reflects more of the fans’ expectations for the continuation of Rhapsody, while simultaneously references the direction the band seems to be heading. One of the highlights of the song is how it beautifully demonstrates Conti’s ability to hit incredibly high notes and easily switch to an operatic voice that nearly parallels Fabio Lione’s. Although you can tell that there was a lot of attention paid to the song’s production, all the tracks coincide, but don’t make the song so “busy” that you can’t decipher the vocals from the drums, bass, keyboards, and background vocals.

Coming down from the fast pace of the song prior, Luna revolves almost completely around the voice of Conti. The instrumental music is dedicated solely to accompanying his vocals, staying at a low volume, and only consisting of occasional keyboards, a symphony, and a slow tempo drum beat. The 8th track, Clash of the Titans, begins with sirens, muffled talking through a radio and panic, audibly representing a disaster; which is dramatically different from Rhapsody of Fire, who featured a soft melody, or the spoken voice of Christopher Lee. Between the madness in the beginning and the introduction of the instruments, the song feels like it’s primary goal is to build up anticipation like the climax of an action movie. Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer’s Fall closes Ascending to Infinity with a dark 15:59 long epic, and marks the return of the ominous voice that opened the album.

With it’s cinematic and epic structure, the album achieves the intent that Luca Turilli had in mind. Every song conducts it’s own feeling perfectly, and leaves a similar but diverse impression with each track.

Track list:

1. QUANTUM X
2. ASCENDING TO INFINITY
3. DANTE’S INFERNO
4. EXCALIBUR
5. TORMENTO E PASSIONE
6. DARK FATE OF ATLANTIS
7. LUNA
8. CLASH OF THE TITANS
9. OF MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL AND LUCIFER’S FALL

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