Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Ascending to Infinity
Nuclear Blast
Symphonic Power Metal
9 songs (57'38)
Release year: 2012
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Olivier
Major event

And then there were two. What was not so long ago known as the bombastic symphonic power metal figurehead - Rhapsody - and then slowly became the err... not as good Rhapsody of Fire (the name changed because of a now well-known copyright issue), split in 2011 to become two distinct bands: Rhapsody of Fire (Alex Staropoli, Fabio Lione), and Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. As a proud cinema and Arnold Schwarzenegger enthusiast (to each their own, eh?), Turilli likes to label his music as "cinematic metal" - a Rhapsody's legacy since the band (allegedly) invented "Hollywood metal" in the 90s. 

And Ascending to Infinity is precisely that: cinematic metal. It starts with an introductory track featuring electronica, a badass voice-over telling you to sit back and prepare to be amazed (like in any self-(dis)respecting awful movie trailer), and a choir singing random Latin verses. Wow. Are cheesy openers now mandatory for symphonic power metal bands, or what? But the rest of the album is thankfully (much) better. The self-titled track Ascending to Destiny, Dark Fate of Atlantis and Excalibur are here to testify we are unmistakably dealing here with a true Rhapsody album. Huge piles of cheese, frantic guitar and keyboards sections (even bass in Dark Fate of Atlantis), exhilarating rhythm changes, and of course choirs, choirs, choirs, and then some more choirs. Grandiloquence, grandiose, grand-everything. Haters gonna hate, lovers gonna explode.

Not everything is the traditional material you can expect from this band however. Dante's Inferno and especially Tormento E Passione both deliver darker vibes we are not accustomed to hear in Rhapsody efforts. The latter probably is my favourite song in this album and offers whirls of piano keys, a beautiful man-woman duet and an outstanding finale in which the excellent vocalist Alessandro Conti (Trick Or Treat) truly shows his mastery. He also shines in Luna (Alessandro Safina cover), an almost smooth jazz song very enjoyable but which also feels a bit out of place in this album. But fear not, for the Hollywoodesque and catchy Clash of the Titans quickly puts the album right back on track, and the 16-minute long ending track Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's Fall concludes the experience with an epic tale divided in three chapters. Told you: haters hate, lovers go boom.

Bottom-line: it seems the 2011 split-up was the brightest idea for Rhapsody. Although Ascending to Infinity still lacks a bit of the catchiness and frenzy fans of the band(s) may rightfully expect, it remains a rock-solid effort with very good moments and purely stellar musicianship. Pretty good job.

Killing Songs :
Ascending to Infinity, Tormento E Passione, Dark Fate of Atlantis stand out.
Olivier quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Luca Turilli's Rhapsody that we have reviewed:
Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Live with Primal Fear, and Divinity Compromised reviewed by Joel and quoted
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