I believe I gasped a little when I found out Luca Turilli was coming out with a new album. I would probably do this for anything related to the house of Rhapsody. Before I get into this review, I would like to note that I will be making multiple mentions of another band that sort of shares the same name, Rhapsody of Fire. This is another band from whence Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody was born. I will also mention that I will be using flowery language befitting of the more obscure JRR Tolkien writings for this review.
Just so we are all on the same page, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody was created after the sundering of Rhapsody of Fire following 2011’s From Chaos to Eternity. Turilli left the band to start a new project while Fabio Lione, Alex Staropoli, and Alex Holzwarth continued Rhapsody of Fire, formerly Rhapsody, which has past their 20 year anniversary. Ascending to Infinity, the debut from Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, was a refreshing break from the high fantasy themes that seemed to weigh on Rhapsody of Fire. It should be noted that the real Rhapsody of Fire did the same thing with their 2013 record Dark Wings of Steel, but Turilli was the first one that brought angels and sci fi into the picture. As it stands now, Turilli is further moving into a realm where power metal is undergoing a transformation into a bright cinematic experience, and where it is very easy to lose one’s way.
If one has followed Rhapsody of Fire, formerly Rhapsody, formally Thundercoss, at all, they’d know about their ridiculous nature in pomp and production. We will not even begin to get into the band’s quest for writing a multi-album fantasy narrative and just conclude that whenever the members get excited, it takes up an entire album. Watching the trailers for Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus, the second record from Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody comes with such grandiose fanfare, one is confused at whether or not they are watching a trailer for a Michael Bay blockbuster or an album introduction. I believe I should be more excited, but seeing how this is the usual mating call for Luca Turilli, the fanfare seems to erode the excitement to the point of acting as an omen.
Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus really begins 4 minutes in with “Il Cigno Nero,” as everything before hand is just entrance music. This is important to mention since, when listening to Luca Turilli, one is aware that while atmosphere is used to its fullest extent it can also be used as a ruse to cloud the fact that there is little content. “Il Cigno Nero” is important to mention because it is a fairly decent power metal track sung all in Italian, which is both simple and engaging. It is a breath of clean air before heading into over 60 minutes of confusing power metal that is almost suffocating in its excess.
It bears mentioning that Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus has its moments of merit and entertainment. The choruses to “Il Tempo Degli Dei” and the somewhat expected duet “Notturno” is stripped down and simple enjoy for enjoyment. This is contrasted to the hefty amount of songs that rarely end before the 5 minute mark. When looking at the tracklist, one is greeted by the fact that, after traveling through a landscape of dense power metal, one has to ascend a 20 minute suite entitled “Of Michael The Archangel And Lucifer’s Fall Part II: Codex Nemesis.” By the end of the 75 minutes that this track spans, the listener is tired and craving either silence or something without multiple layers of sound.
This review comes after listening to many iterations of this band and realizing that, with each step of its evolution, comes very little true movement. I can imagine that Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus would be exhilarating, and maybe even transcendent, for someone who hasn’t heard the same album in many different iterations over the past few decades. My adoration for everything that is associated with the Rhapsody lineage comes with a more stern gaze. Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody may be moving in a different direction thematically, but it is falling into the same stylistic fate that mired later Rhapsody records. He has side stepped when he should have been moving forward. However, I will be here until this band, and its suite of side projects, stop producing records. Excelsior!
LUCA TURILLI’s RHAPSODY
Album: Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus
Released: June 19th, 2015
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Score: 4/9 Hammers