Rhapsody - Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret (CD/DVD)
Symphonic Epic Hollywood Metal
11 songs (60:03)
Release year: 2006
Rhapsody, SPV
Reviewed by Jeff

Does anyone remember the old slogan, "Is it live or is it Memorex?"? The underlying message in that statement is that Memorex tapes sound just as good as the original source and that you can't hear any difference between the two. After listening to Rhapsody's "Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret" CD , I was scratching my head wondering just how much of this album is really live.

Anyone can create their own live Rhapsody album. Just take all of their studio albums, pick a few songs from each one, then add some crowd noise. With all sarcasm aside, it isn't fair of me to make judgments about this live CD without also watching the live DVD. I figured that would give me a better perspective as to what is exactly "live". Unfortunately, the promo I received at Metal Reviews only highlights certain aspects of the DVD. However, based on some of the clips I viewed, it was enough in order for me to be able to make some comments that will hopefully help interested readers decide on whether or not this is a worthwhile purchase.

The CD portion of "Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret" was recorded at the "Metropolis" in Montreal, Canada on June 14, 2005 during their "Demons, Dragons and Warriors World Tour 2005" with Manowar. It contains a total of eleven tracks: "Emerald Sword" and "Wisdom of the Kings" from "Symphony of Enchanted Lands", "Dawn of Victory" and "The Village of Dwarves" from "Dawn of Victory", "Lamento Eroico" and "The March of the Swordmaster" from "Power of the Dragonflame" and "The Dark Secret", "Unholy Warcry", "Erian's Mystical Rhymes" and "Nightfall on the Grey Mountains" from "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II - The Dark Secret". Unfortunately, there are no songs from the albums "Legendary Tales" or "Rain of a Thousand Flames".

Personally, I would have preferred some more songs from "Dawn of Victory" as well as something from "Rain of a Thousand Flames" and "Lengendary Tales". Also, I feel that this album would have been better and more in depth if it was released as a double live CD. But being that Rhapsody was an opening act for Manowar during this tour, they were only able to pick ten songs that they could play within an hours time. The live performance on the CD was recorded in one night, so it's not like they took different performances over numerous shows and edited them all together to sound like one concert, though Rhapsody could have if they wanted to release a double CD. I don't think they did because they wanted to stick with a consistent set list night after night.

The renditions of the tracks presented here are nearly flawless, from the vocals to the musicianship. Rhapsody incorporates a good mixture of songs from fast and aggressive to epic and orchestral. This album is so good live that it is hard to believe. The album has that Symphonic Epic Hollywood Metal production. What you find on the studio albums is translated to near perfection in the live setting. I think the fact that Rhapsody was able to accomplish that transition with ease is a true testament to the real talent of this band. The crowd is also very energetic and into the music.

I'm disappointed with the CD cover. It is very dark and has a maple leaf on the front, which is almost unnoticeable unless you have the booklet close to your eyes. I would have loved a fantasy cover with dragons and warriors like most of the ones on their studio albums.

As for the DVD, it will include twelve songs recorded during shows in the USA, Canada, Czech Republic and Germany. There seems to be plenty of footage that covers stuff like sound checks and preparation before shows, interviews with band members like Luca and Alex, band interaction with the fans, stone arches with fire breathing dragon heads, images projected on a wide screen in the background, documentaries, live bonus tracks and music videos.

After watching the highlights from the DVD promo, the one thing I was able to conclude was that most of the big symphonic aspects of Rhapsody's music, (like the orchestral parts, big vocal choirs, etc.), are mixed in live during the actual performances through either pre recorded sound samples played through the keyboards or through pre recorded tapes. In any event, it gives Rhapsody the dimension needed to recreate anything recorded in the studio.

I still feel that any die hard Rhapsody fan is going to want to purchase this CD/DVD, especially for the visual aspect. "Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret" will really make you appreciate this band's talent.

Killing Songs :
The Village of Dwarves, The March of the Swordmaster, Unholy Warcry
Jeff quoted no quote
Other albums by Rhapsody that we have reviewed:
Rhapsody - Symphony Of Enchanted Lands reviewed by Erik and quoted 98 / 100
Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Lands II - The Dark Secret reviewed by Jay and quoted 69 / 100
Rhapsody - Legendary Tales reviewed by Crims and quoted 85 / 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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