Rhapsody - Legendary Tales
Limb Music Products
Symphonic Power Metal
10 songs (45:34)
Release year: 1997
Rhapsody, Limb Music Products
Reviewed by Crims
Archive review

Legendary Tales was of course the first full-length by the now seasoned veterans from Italy, Rhapsody. Featuring over the top orchestrations and symphonic soundscapes, this blend of Power Metal and Neo-classical shredding isn’t a whole lot different from Rhapsody’s current material; however, some of their best songs can be found here. From the obligatory intro to the epic closer, Legendary Tales takes the listener for the quite the ride, but with some hitches along the way.

Hitting the listener in the face immediately following the intro is Warrior Of Ice, which remains among Rhapsody’s best. If you weren’t sure what Rhapsody was all about, you knew for sure after this track. Symphonic orchestrations run rampant throughout the song with Malmsteen influenced shredding and of course, the ever-popular catchy chorus complete with a full choir providing back up vocals. After all, is this not what every Rhapsody song is all about? True enough, Rhapsody do not break their tried and true mold very often, at least not on this CD but to their credit each song has enough distinctive qualities that each song stands on its own. While almost all tracks begin with a typical verse chorus progression Rhapsody enjoy doing extended breaks and change ups usually about ¾ of the way through their traditional fast tracks (Warrior Of Ice, Flames Of Revenge, Land Of Immortals, and Lord of The Thunder). Essentially, the song will split off into something different from the verse then chorus pattern. This usually means extended soloing, atmospheric breaks with a heavy emphasis on the orchestrations, or a combination of both. Eventually, the songs always return to their roots and the end result is something that in the end is quite satisfying. Never mind the fact these four aforementioned songs are written almost exactly the same, but what separates them each is fantastic choruses, great melodies throughout, and jaw-dropping neo-classical synth and guitar playing. Though the riffs aren’t really all that varied the leads are, and the arrangements of Alex Staropoli are brilliant and create a unique sound for each track.

The rest of the songs on this CD are a varied bunch, the best being Rage Of The Winter. Though the instrumentation drags on a bit at certain parts of this song the quiet verse/loud chorus is very effective and is instantly memorable. Meanwhile Forest Of The Unicorns has perhaps one of the most annoying vocal melodies in the history of Metal. If you’re into somber vocals and acoustic guitars the verses on this song are very good, but once the chorus hits the pain eschews. I think it’s a combination of the flute styled instrument and the female vocals that create this unbelievably grating song. Fortunately, Rhapsody would never do anything nearly this bad again. Likewise Echoes Of Tragedy is the traditional Rhapsody ballad of the CD and it’s very effective. Fabio Lione’s vocals are excellent throughout the entire CD but he really carries this song from being what could have been “the boring slow track” to one of the finer pieces of atmosphere on the CD. Though it’s quite possibly the simplest epic track Rhapsody has ever done, the title track is somewhat effective in its delivery. It is perhaps not the best way to end the CD but it’s a good song, not great, but good.

Having been released in 1997, the production is appropriate for the time. Rhapsody’s latter CD’s would be better produced but the sound on Legendary Tales still gets the job done. The orchestrations are especially clear, almost too clear sometimes, as the riffs get lost in the shuffle. That might not be a bad thing though since Turilli's riffs are mostly palm-muted chugging. Where Turilli does excel are with his masterful leads and folk guitar playing instead. The bass is mostly non-existent in the respect of adding depth to the music and the drumming is adequate but lacks the speed and flare of Thunderforce or Alex Holzwarth on later releases.

Even though Legendary Tales contains Land Of Immortals and Warrior Of Ice, two of Rhapsody’s best songs, along with Lord Of The Thunder, which is quite possibly one of the more underrated songs in their catalogue, the overall CD doesn’t stack up with later releases. That isn’t to say that it’s bad (considering you like this type of music to begin with), because it really isn’t. Staropoli is as skillful as ever but the rest of band hasn’t quite caught up with him yet. Even though the vocals and choruses are really well done they, for the most part, lack the classic and spine-tingling superbness of songs like Emerald Sword, Power Of The Dragonflame, or Holy Thunderforce. So if you like Rhapsody but don’t own this CD yet, definitely pick it up. If you like Power Metal and haven’t listened to Rhapsody yet, this is a great place to start; that is if you don’t mind lots and lots of string and keyboards. If you’ve never liked Rhapsody this CD sure as hell won’t change your mind, and in that case, I’m sorry you had to read through this review.

Killing Songs :
Warrior Of Ice, Rage Of The Winter, Land Of Immortals, Flames Of Revenge, Lord Of The Thunder, Echoes Of Tragedy
Crims quoted 85 / 100
Jay quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Rhapsody that we have reviewed:
Rhapsody - Symphony Of Enchanted Lands reviewed by Erik and quoted 98 / 100
Rhapsody - Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret (CD/DVD) reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Lands II - The Dark Secret reviewed by Jay and quoted 69 / 100
Rhapsody - The Dark Secret reviewed by Jay and quoted no quote
Rhapsody - Power of the Dragonflame reviewed by Mike and quoted 96 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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