Rhapsody of Fire - The Eighth Mountain
If you’re confused about which Rhapsody and/or Rhapsody variation released The Eighth Mountain, it’s the one with Alex Staropoli as lead composer and Giacomo Voli as lead vocalist. I don’t know much about the new saga that Staropoli is embarking on, but the first (real) track “Seven Heroic Deeds” is a decent opener for your classic epic symphonic metal journey. Voli has quite an aggressive delivery and a brighter voice, as opposed to Fabio Lione’s warm, operatic style. Backing choruses balance out his significantly brighter voice in “Seven Heroic Deeds” and “Master of Peace.” Midtempo breather “White Wizard” and ballad “Warrior Heart” show off the various modalities of Voli’s singing and give a much-needed breather in this symphonic epic. “March Against the Tyrant” is probably my standout track and has the most dynamic range in the entire album. It has a well-written melodies, an awesome buildup in the bridge, a bombastic chorus, and impressive arpeggios in the guitar solo portion. When I listen to “Clash of Times” I want it to go into the chorus of “Dawn of Victory.” Overall impression - I know a lot of folks have said Rhapsody went downhill when Luca Turilli left (and to some extent I agree), but judged independently, The Eighth Mountain is actually an excellent effort by Starorhapsody of Fire. Even with Voli on vocals, the songs were well arranged, the album was paced properly, and there is no shortage of orchestra or riffs. I would actually recommend this album for Rhapsody fans - come in with no expectations, and you will be surprised.