Rhapsody Of Fire - The Frozen Tears Of Angels
Original Author: The Uncreator
Artist: Rhapsody Of Fire
Album: The Frozen Tears Of Angels
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
"The Frozen Tears Of Angels" is a dramatic and powerful return for Rhapsody Of Fire. The album combines fast and powerful riffing, melodic and technical soloing with epic high soaring vocals and a pounding rhythm section, all while imbuing each and every song with superior orchestrations and a unique usage of various instruments. The album is a symphonic and melodic power trip that will satisfy anyone's needs for sheer epic-ness.
The overall color and tone of "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" is very simple, yet very effective. Luca Turilli has captured a great balance between the hard-driven gain of the rhythm section, and the melodic smoothness of his lead and solo performances for a a fantastic mix and feel. The solos shine where they need to, and the rhythm is perfectly balanced with all the other instruments. Since ROF often have very large and powerful orchestrations, the guitar is mixed in a way where it feels its another part of the orchestra, instead of a guitar with an orchestra. Beautifully done, extremely well executed.
Technique And Composition: 9/10
Anyone who knows Luca, Knows that he excels most notably in two areas: technique and melody. He has the perfect balance between shred, melody, and harmony. The solo section for "Crystal Moonlight" is a great example of this. Starting off with a fast, folk like harmony - Into a smooth neoclassical counterpoint style section, and into a harmonized frenzy of arpeggios. "On The Way To Ainor" has perhaps, one of the most catchy and addictive solo sections of any ROF song. Enormous amounts of harmonizing and sweeping - And beautifully smooth sections that display a brilliant level of harmony and structure. All of the solos on the album are unique and diverse compositions that are perfectly balanced aspects of technique and melody.
Not too take light off the other aspects of his guitar playing though, his riffs are some of the more fast and powerful he has written, and even a bit proggy at times. A few little sections on a few different songs might sound a bit familiar, but all in all the riffs shine more so than on the last few ROF albums I think. "Reign Of Terror" has some great thrashy riffs to it, and "Raging Starfire" has a fast and melodic intro reminiscent of classical power metal. The title track has some fantastic and heavy pinch harmonic esque riffing in the intro, and carries through with the rest of the song with powerful performances. Then there is the Italian-sung opus, "Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio" - Which is one of the more unique songs on the album. The acoustic tone and performance is embellished with a strong sense of renaissance while retaining the powerful attack of Metal in the background guitars. The rhythm guitars, and riffs in general, are used as a powerful driving force for the song - And when they need to explode and do some damage, they most certainly do not fail. However - for the guitars - The main focus will be the melodic and technical lead/solo sections.
The bass provides a strong low end which has great tone and is mixed very well, especially considering the depth of some of the songs on the album. When the orchestra is in full blast, you can still feel the rumble of the bass. Although I feel the bass only really shines in tone and production on the slower and more melodic parts of the album, It still does a worthy job. While it always retains a good presence, you do occasionally feel that it gets lost a bit, But only a sparse few times throughout the record - And not enough to really complain about.
Technique and Compostion: 7.5/10
On this album more so than other ROF albums, the bass pops out a bit more. In "Sea Of Fate" we are shown a nice melodic tapping section preceding the last solo section. "On The Way To Ainor" has another smooth tapping section that has a beautiful fluidity to it. And in the song "Crystal Moonlight" we are shown a nice and techy intro between the bass and lead guitars for the solo sections. But I really love the bass in the softer, more folk influenced sections of songs. "Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio" has great and catchy bass lines, as does the title track. The bass is powerful when it needs to be, hammering away with finesse and strength in the heavy sections, and melodic during the quieter sections. I would like to see more stuff like "Sea Of Fate" and "Crystal Moonlight", But the bass guitars still do there job - With the occasional moments of spotlight thrown in there as well.
This, for me, Is ROF best album drum wise. The production is really immense and the drums are so much more powerful than previous ROF albums. The sound is big, and the impact of each cymbal and tom hit is really felt even when the orchestra, choir, and string sections are at full blast. I would say that the drums carry about 50% of the strength on this record, And the still occasionally invades the remaining 50% from time to time.
Technique and Composition: 7.5/10
While retaining an immense production and gigantic sound, the drums are essentially not too technical, or too complex/creative at its core. Yes, it has its "awesome" moments of fills and speed bursts, But I do not think they should be too overly technical or complex. I think of ROF as an orchestra all on its own, where each instrument is there to support the song as a whole - And thats exactly what the drums do for this album, provide the fast and visceral support so the whole song can be the center of attention, and not the drums. I am not trying to demean the performance or capabilities Alex Holzwarth - Not by any means - But I think what this album needed to be as amazing as it is, is the support of the drums - And the impact it brings, And for that I give this an 7.5 out of 10.
Production and Compostion: 10/10
So beautifully done, I think this is the best produced ROF album in this area. Alex Staropoli has composed some of his finest work with "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" and has brought it in an absolute and undeniable force on this album. From the very beginning to the very end it has an overwhelming force, that adds an immense and visceral impact of drama to the record.
A perfect example of the power of the keys and orchestration, Is the song "Reign Of Terror". Where the choir and orchestra have fast and strong exits and entrances in the verse, Which add a high sense of tension and atmosphere. The intro for the title track, has what I believe will become a ROF classic with its dark and dramatic intro, carrying into an classical opus like apex. "Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio" has some catchy and creative work from various instruments, especially the flute. Blowing out its quick, smooth gallop-like melodies throughout the song - Its sure to remain stuck in your head for quite some time. The choir performance throughout the whole record, in nearly every song, is beautifully done and mixed very well with Fabio's voice, and is perhaps at times the best part about some songs.
I think the structure on this record shows some creative improvement, Displaying its power when it needs to - And providing ambiance and atmosphere on the quieter and softer sections of songs, Its sheer brilliance.
Production and Performance: 9.5/10
Fabio Lione - as always - retains his high quality performance on this record. His Italian accent has always a slight bit of presence in his singing lending an exotic and unique quality to each word. His intense vibrato and soaring high notes accent each word with the emotion, strength, and passion of an opera singer, with the vivid tone of a traditional singer. His voice is mixed well within the context of the choir, which has a strong presence on the album, Never overpowering it, nor ever drowning out within it. His harmonies are very akin to Luca's guitars, very deep and colorful. If his voice could be translated into a color, it would cover the entire color wheel.
Majestic and epic, masterfully brought to life, Fabio Lione's performance is nothing shy of amazing. I must once again mention "Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio", For his performance is truly original and creative in this song - The melody he carries, and how he carries it, is just extremely well done. "Lost In Cold Dreams" has that desperate drama which reminds me of "The Magic Of The Wizards Dreams", and "On The Way To Ainor" has the big and enormous melodies you would expect from Fabio and ROF. Its absolutely everything you want in a ROF album, with a beautiful production.
Overall Impression: 9/10
With a visceral musicality, and a superb production and mix, "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" is a fine new release for Rhapsody Of Fire, an immense and high tension trip continuing the dark storyline Staropoli has produced. Each and every song is beautiful and amazing, with there own characteristics and moments of "WOW". The album stands as very well produced, mature, and diverse sounding record for ROF. A must for any fan, and a something everyone should really explore.