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Rhapsody of Fire – From Chaos to Eternity: Review

From Chaos to Eternity is the newest Rhapsody of Fire album to be released through Nuclear Blast on June 17. It is a continuation from their 2010 album, The Frozen Tears of Angels, as well as the same-year EP, The Cold Embrace of Fear: A Dark Romantic Symphony. I have not yet heard the former, and I was not too impressed with the EP. However, From Chaos to Eternity has most certainly won this reviewer over.

The Music (rating: A-)

  1. Ad Infinitum
  2. From Chaos to Eternity
  3. Tempesta Di Fuoco
  4. Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds
  5. Anima Perduta
  6. Aeons of Raging Darkness
  7. I Belong to the Stars
  8. Tornado
  9. Heroes of the Waterfalls’ Kingdom

With From Chaos to Eternity, one can expect an extremely symphonic album interlaced with progressive power metal. Also, there is a definite but subtle classical influence in there. The vocals are very powerful and high-pitched, but also have moments of finesse. On the symphonic end, there is a grandeur of strings mixed in with piano parts. And because it is a continuation of the concept which Rhapsody of Fire has embarked upon, expect there to also be narrative, as was the case in the former albums. This album is no doubt one of the most epic and powerful to be released this year so far.

Where some albums are epic for the mere sake of being epic, From Chaos to Eternity is not one of them. Its bombastic power is by all means warranted by the consistent employment of dynamics, as well as the intricacies within the symphonic arrangements. Basically, it is not a band trying to be epic. It is a band trying to make great music which happens to be epic. In metal, most of the power comes from distorted guitars. But with this release, it most often originates from the grand symphony. Not only does the sophisticated symphony add to the record’s overall style, but also does so to much of its musical substance.

But also not to be forgotten is the excellent metal instrumentals given on this album. The guitar work on From Chaos to Eternity is monstrous, from its tightly composed riffs to its graceful yet technical leads and solos. Even the softer, more subtle parts, such as on “Tempesta Di Fuoco,” are very well written. The vocals go extremely well to accompany the music, both on the heavy and lighter sections. And the bass gives excellent moments (like on “Aeons of Raging Darkness”) when warranted while holding the foundation when required. The keyboards give great piano parts and add much to the music’s atmosphere. The drums are well done too, but on the metal front, the highlight is the guitar.

Unfortunately, From Chaos to Eternity does have some weaker spots. The minuscule ones include the repetitive, predictable accentuation on the strong beats during leads, such as on “Tempesta Di Fuoco,” “Ghosts of Forgotten Worlds,” and “Aeons of Raging Darkness”. But these are minor and negligible. The most irritating aspect of the record is the narration. In small doses and where warranted, narration can be effective and concise in concept albums. However, there are lengthier sections of narration in the first and last tracks which overlap the music and actually tend to divert too much attention away from it. It feels like a cheap way to push forth the concept without having to incorporate the prose into a musical context. It certainly disrupts the album’s flow to an extent. Also, the final song, “Heroes of the Waterfalls’ Kingdom,” is quite erratic in nature. There are excellent parts throughout its 20-minute duration, but they are not strung together overly well. With all the sudden transitions and narration breaks, it feels like a handful of songs stuck together on one track. This is not always a bad thing. But with such a cathartic chorus as in this song, having some continuity throughout the track would have made its reprise that much more overwhelming. Still, such issues are unable to compromise the overall value of the wonderful music that is From Chaos to Eternity.

Many great things have come together to form this album. From Chaos to Eternity has an arsenal of quality symphonic arrangements as well metal instrumental parts. Its narration is more of a distraction than an additive aspect, but does not significantly detract from the stellar music. Fans of the band or genre should most definitely check out this one; it surely will not disappoint.

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