Rhapsody of Freedom

Say whatever negative things you want about Rhapsody, the most operatic, LARP-stricken power metal band of all time. The fact is, their song “Warrior of Ice” still makes me gently weep with each listen. It’s the lead track off their first full-length album, Legendary Tales, and it made me a fan when I first heard it 10 years ago. The song is an ideal encapsulation of all that power metal evokes (stuff that is absent from my daily life): medieval fantasy, choirs, harpsichords combined with double-bass pedals and tremolo riffs and of course — flamboyant Italian wailing — here courtesy of Fabio Leone.

Leone formerly went by the hilariously awful stage name, Joe Terry, because they were the first names of characters from the Fatal Fury games. Except I’ve never heard Terry used as a last name. So it’s like calling yourself, I don’t know… “Joe John.” Hey! that has a snazzy ring to it…

Also, I’ve always found it interesting that Alex Staropoli, the keyboardist from Rhapsody, looks like the actor Adrian Brody (famous for his work in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist).

One thing that distinguishes Rhapsody from other power metal bands is the presence of distinct, thematically consistent cover artwork. For some reason, most power-metal bands still deem it necessary to print album covers done in MAYA (and subsequently leaving the awful, awful flavor of Royal Hunt left in one’s mouth). That CGI stuff makes me think of glam metal fused with teenage Christian angst and tinges of Michael Bolton. Blechh!

Rhapsody’s album artwork, while by no means breathtaking or genre-bending, is at least stylistically resonant with the music, whereas the above power metal album covers all look like they’re promoting theme music from The X-Files.

In a lot of ways, Rhapsody is a more upbeat version of Bal-Sagoth. Like Bal-Sagoth, their music is progressive and contains long, intricate, cheesy fantasy plots, layered orchestral and keyboard composition, a distinct vocalist and really good guitar melodies. Also like Bal-Sagoth, they have a unique style which people always love or hate, a style which every single one of their songs exuberates. Hell, the two bands’ album covers are even similar!

But I think Bal-Sagoth does have a better (existent) sense of humor than Rhapsody. When Rhapsody had to change their band name over copyright infringement, they changed it to the very stale and cheesy, Rhapsody of Fire. Augh! They were so close to having the ultimate metal band name ever: Rhapsody of Freedom. Is that not the finest metal band name you could possibly imagine? Add to it the fact that their music is the most pompous, epic medieval stuff in existence (save for Blind Guardian) and such a name change could only propel them further into, uh… glory and victory and all the stuff power metal guys yearn for. So… if anyone representing Rhapsody (of Fire) reads this and wants to use my name suggestion, even though freedom isn’t free, I won’t even charge you for it. ‘Coz I’m such a nice guy.


~ by chaosrexmachinae on August 29, 2008.

One Response to “Rhapsody of Freedom”

  1. I Agree with de Rhapsody and Bal-Sagoth comparition!

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