|Release Date||22 Feb 2019|
|Record Label||AFM Records|
After five years of letdown after unholy letdown, Rhapsody of Fire has produced a redeeming and glorious symphonic beauty in The Eighth Mountain. Upon Luca Turilli’s departure, it seemed that he had taken with him the very essence of Rhapsody, leaving them with a sound that was monotonous and uninspired. As they trudged further and further through the mud, I lost all hope that Rhapsody would ever regain its former glory. However, upon first hearing the single ‘Rain of Fury’, my hopes were, against my better judgement, heightened once again. However, that hopefulness has been proven to be well-founded, because this album kicks ass.
Rhapsody is back to their uplifting, fast-paced, intricately tasteful dragonslaying. Staropoli’s orchestration is clean and prominent and he seems to have achieved his former splendor rather than continuing to produce orchestral parts that seem to fight the rest of the band rather than support them, as they have these past few years. The Eighth Mountain also marks the beginning of a new saga: the ‘Nephlins Empire Saga’.
My favourite track on the album would have to be the nine minute ‘March Against the Tyrant’, which begins with a shredding gallop before backing right off into a laid back acoustic section. It continues this dynamic yo-yo of highs and lows, until we’re treated to an incredibly tasty guitar solo and the final buildup peaks near the end.
Special attention has to be paid to Giacomo Voli’s vocals. This is his second (if we’re including Legendary Years) album with Rhapsody of Fire, but he truly shines in The Eighth Mountain (mostly due to the rest of the band shining bright right beside him and not dragging the whole feature down). His high, operatic vibrato complements the symphonic epicness that is the lifeblood of the album and his soft falsetto further marks him as a truly impressive musician.
For me, The Eighth Mountain earns a high place among Rhapsody’s early work and symphonic power metal in general. It’s songs are bright, soaring, and theatrical. With its runtime of more than an hour and plenty of variety and dynamism, this album leaves absolutely nothing to be desired.