Power Of The Dragonflame
Review by Jack on April 12, 2002.
You know when you were a kid and used to have so much from everyday activities? Absolutely everything you did was fun; going to the toilet was fun; throwing your peas from your plate to the dogs was fun; beating up your younger brother was fun (not so fun anymore, because he would now, frankly kick your ass) and so on, you get the general picture. All great, childhood moments and all fun. Rhapsody is this type of fun. “Power of the Dragonflame” is this type of fun.
Continuing the ‘Emerald Sword Saga’ from past albums Rhapsody has again raised the ‘power’ bar another notch, improving on last year’s specially priced album in “Rain of a Thousand Flames”. However, “Power of the Dragonflame”, while continuing the ‘Emerald Sword Saga’ also culminates the 'Emerald Sword Saga', leaving Rhapsody with a thirst to discover more untouched fantasy symphonic metal in other realms.
However, when it comes to metal, Rhapsody is about as metal as a paper factory/wood mill. Sure Rhapsody has all the metal elements, ie thundering guitars, ball-busting drums, but whereas many a power band starts off with the metal base and then adds non-metal elements (or no elements), Rhapsody seem to start off with a very strong operatic/classical base and then add their ‘epic Hollywood metal’ over the top. They take a different approach unlike many other ‘carbon copy’ power metal bands. It may be this different approach that Rhapsody has taken that may propel them further and further into the spotlight.
“Power of the Dragonflame” is a great album, yet it is hardly revolutionary, and it is clear that Rhapsody has stuck by their guns. The same trademark ‘epic’ choir sections and galloping guitar riffs, Rhapsody are not going to win the originality stakes, musicianship, however is another matter. Rhapsody has gone to length of including a classical choir and a classical ensemble with violins, flutes and other ‘classical’ instruments to make the end of the ‘Emerald Sword Saga’ a truly memorable one. And memorable it is, not really mind-blowing, but definitely memorable.
Of special note is the final 19 minute track; ‘Gargoyles, Angels of Darkness’, which is one of the most fantastic power metal tracks ever. Move over ‘And there was Silence’ ala Blind Guardian, we have a new contender for epic greatness! Like a hunter marking his game, ‘Gargoyles, Angels of Darkness’ carefully skirts around for most of the 19 minutes, before finally lining up its final shot and nailing the listener right between the eyes... BAM! Wall to wall power metal greatness looking you straight up and down.
Bottom Line: Definitely not exceeding the limits of what Rhapsody can muster, “Power of the Dragonflame” is not the most unpredictable album ever released, nor does it try to be. Rhapsody has never been about being unpredictable and falling flat on their face like other acts around the metal scene. Uniqueness can be a curse. Instead we have a brilliant culmination to the end of a saga. I cannot heap enough praise upon “Power of the Dragonflame”. It is just plain, good old FUN.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.6 out of 10