After the release of Rhapsody of Fire's last CD, "From Chaos to Eternity", the band lost its founding member Luca Turilli who went on to form Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. For long time fans, it has immediately brought into question the viability of Rhapsody of Fire as a leader of the symphonic power metal genre. Not having been a longtime fan, I am not immediately biased in either direction. I just look for kick ass music...and I can say with immense amount of joy, that I have found it in RoF's "Dark Wings of Steel".
After the obligatory opening one and a half minute track, the band kick's off with "Rising from Tragic Flames", with a killer guitar riff and a bass line by Oliver Holzwarth that gets your heart pumping. Next up, "Angel of Light" is a keyboard and guitar driven saga that really shows off some impressive vocal work by Fabio Lione, who continues to deliver, accompanied by very nice harmonic back-up vocals.
"Tears of Pain" takes the CD into a slightly different direction, more of a true power metal tune, with a mixture of both English and Italian lyrics, which I didn't mind at all. And, keyboardist Alex Staropoli does a terriffic job of not only incorporating the keyboard, but truly enhancing the feeling and soul of this track...one of my favorites of the album.
"Fly to Crystal Skies" took me a few listens to truly appreciate and understand the beauty of the lyrics, their meaning, and how it fits into the overall mold of the album ( more on this later). Musically, it's good, but a little over-simplistic. That being said, it needed to be here.
"My Sacrifice" is an epic 8-minute masterpiece featuring harmonic vocals, but some of the best guitar work on the CD by newcomer Roby De Micheli...who is a technical guitar beast. His addition to the band is felt throughout the album, but I particularly love the skill shown on this track.
"Silver Lake of Fears" might be the epitome of where this album is lyrically (see below), and features a power riff, a killer drum beat provided by Alex Holzwarth. And the bass is once again felt in a powerful way...I could see this being a live show favorite.
The next track "Custode di Pace", which I believe roughly translated means "guradian of peace". This track features all Italian lyrics, but is so beautifully done that I didn't care, even though I don't understand a word. The vocals are terriffic, heart-felt, and can pull at your heartstrings, even if you dont understand Italian...now that's powerful and quite amazing. In fact, I might learn to sing this, even though I don't speak a lick of Italian.
It would track a really good track to follow that without being disappointed. And thankfully the band placed "A Tale of Magic" here which has an absolute killer intro, excellent guitar work, great lyrics and vocals that are more than fitting. This might be my favorite track, or at least in the top two or three.
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- Vis Divina
- Rising from Tragic Flames
- Angel of Light
- Tears of Pain
- Fly to Crystal Skies
- My Sacrifice
- Silver Lake of Tears
- Custode di Pace
- A Tale of Magic
- Dark Wings of Steel
- Sad Mystic Moon
Release Date: 22 November 2013
Label: AFM Records
Points: 9 / 10
Review by Scott Bivins
Following that, the title track, "Dark Wings of Steel" comes up next. While the track is okay, its a bit of a let down after all the great tracks prior to it. The song just doesn't show the creativity of the rest of the album. And being the title track, maybe I just expected more. Having said that, if this is my least favorite track, this CD is in great shape!
Finishing up the CD is "Sad Mystic Moon", another epic, melodic, powerful sing-along tune that will be a sure-fire crowd favorite. It just makes you want to turn it up as loud as you can and sing at the top of your lungs...a true winner!
Note: the digipak version of this CD does include a bonus track not reviwed here.
While I could find no statement from the band regarding this, I do believe this to be a concept album. Listening to and pouring over the lyrics, I believe this CD tells the story of us looking within...realizing that the strength we need comes from within. And, happiness to is not found "out there", no matter where we look, but is within us all along. To know thyself is one of the most difficult things we can do, but each song seems to hint at this throughout. I could be wrong, its only my interpretation.
Overall, this CD is truly amazing, with very mature lyrics that make you think about where you are in this life and what it all means.
The bottom line: don't get caught-up in the lineup change, just enjoy this killer melodic album!
Who would really like this album? Fans of:
Any progressive metal act such as Helloween (older catalogue), Iced Earth, Dream Theater, Jon Oliva, Iron Maiden, Axel Rudi Pell