Thursday, 23 August 2012

Heavy Metal Album Review : Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Ascending to Infinity

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Ascending to Infinity
Nuclear Blast
Rating: 7/10

After 15  years of being part of Rhapsody of Fire, Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli amicably decided to part ways to move in different directions artistically. Due to the immense contributions both had made to Rhapsody of Fire both Luca and Alex are continuing the word of their former band but on different branches, with Alex retaining the original name and Luca now using Luca Turilli's Rhapsody in order to release Ascending to Infinity.

The album is a strong power metal record produced by Luca himself and Christoph Stickel, with the end result being an excellently produced and beautifully arranged album. Power metal records can at times sound like one track broken into many parts, but little twists and subtle differences throughout this record prevent it becoming tired as the tracks progress. Alessandro Conti's lead vocals have such strength and range that when lent support by the choir produce a barrage of vocals that both compliment the underlying music and add strength to it.

"Quantum X" and the tribal beat that underscores it, opens the album. While a good track it is not as strong start as the album arguably deserves. Hot on it's heels "Ascending to Infinity" lifts the album up with faster paced percussion and more prominent guitars.

The next two tracks "Dante's Inferno" and "Excalibur" are my favourite two tracks on this album. "Dante's Inferno" starts with a slow, tension building lead up before launching into great guitar riffs and solos. "Excalibur" has stronger vocals with the lead and chorus building up to crescendos regularly through the track, creating what can only be described as an epic vocal sound. This track also has some good guitar riffs and solos but perhaps not as good as those on "Dante's Inferno".

The remaining tracks continue in the vein of the largess of the vocals and guitar riffs shining through from the music underneath while managing to add their own variations. "Tormento E Passione" is the first track the keyboards take more prominence and the contrast of male and female vocals works really well. "Dark Fate of Atlantis" has a much more eastern and oriental feel to it, "Clash of the Titans" has musical parts that almost sound like battle scenes and the closing track, at almost sixteen minutes in length, is an onslaught of sounds from eerie atmospheric music, to keyboard sounds and sinister spoken words.

"Luna" is really the only disappointment to me on the album, the soft female voice that starts the track rings clear, however the overall sound of the track is more something that you would expect to hear in the background, for example in an advert. This is a shame as the remainder of the album really draws you into the music and holds its own in the foreground. The track does build to a stronger sound but leaves you with the feeling it never quite got there.

"Luna" aside Ascending to Infinity is an excellent album for fans of Rhapsody of Fire, Therion and perhaps to a lesser extent Blind Guardian and some of Devin Townsend's more experimental work will really enjoy this album. The only thing that leaves this album short of higher accolades is the disappointment in "Luna" and despite the grandiose sounds and sheer depth of musical layering it would be nice to see something a bit more ground breaking coming out of this genre.

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