“Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret” by Rhapsody

Artist: Rhapsody
Title: “Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret”
Label: Magic Circle Music/SPV Records
Release Date: 1/31/2006
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 8/10

The Mighty Rhapsody gives the world their first full concert album which was recorded in Canada while the group supported Manowar in 2005. The group was part of a killer lineup that placed The Kings Of Metal with Rhapsody and Holy Hell (not to be confused with Rob Rock’s album) and together they toured the US and Canada for a series of sold-out capacity crowd shows. For fans of Symphonic Power Metal the name of Rhapsody is not at all a new name, it’s just the amount of music available in certain markets is limited which sadly affects the bands influence. Fortunately, SPV Records gave us “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands, Vol 2: The Dark Secret” in 2004 which continued the bands exploration into the different levels of Metal that they were well known for. On “Live In Canada 2005: The Dark Secret” the band is found in perfect form and performing for a very hungry and supportive audience. Not only are 4 numbers from the last studio album present but the album also covers some ground from their back catalog. The music from “SOELv2” is very rich in its orchestration parts and is done very well especially in the epic track of “Erian’s Mystical Rhymes”. My favorites from this album are included on this live recording and those are “Unholy Warcry” and “Nightfall On The Grey Mountains”. Their classic numbers that I leaned toward are “Emerald Sword” and “Dawn Of Victory”. I was a little sad that “Holy Thunderforce” was not performed as this was the first song that I enjoyed from this band. However given this was a supporting slot for them the luxury of time is limited. Everyone in the group is on top of their game and singer Fabio Lione showcases the level of skill he possesses as he performs an operatic number in “Lamento Eroico”. Composer/keyboardist Alex Staropoli certainly did a great job in getting all of this music together. Luca Turilli (guitars), Patrice Guers (bass) and Alex Holzwarth (drums) all perform in an effortless fashion and seem very tight for the level of speed that Rhapsody music sometimes entails.

Given the audience was in Montreal most of the crowd banter is in French so the listener had best brush up on this in order to know what is being said. The CD also comes with a DVD which is more a teaser of the soon to be released video for this concert. Given the sound of the concert itself this DVD proves to be interesting and help gain a larger audience for the group if it gets the right level of attention. There is a booklet enclosed with the release but that left me a little lacking as instead of featuring a score of pictures of the group and sufficient tour memories the larger part of the book is a commercial for Magic Circle Music. It features their entire artist catalog and pictures of those releases. Manowar is a strong presence in this as the MCM brand is run by their bassist Joey DeMaio. Fans of both Symphonic and Orchestral Metal will like this a lot while the traditional fan might find themselves lost just a little since there is a lot going on. It takes a couple of listens but in the end Rhapsody is truly a powerhouse of entertainment that delivers on all counts. The more I listen to this recording the more I am angered about being ill when the show happened in NYC. Make way for the Mighty Rhapsody as their going to mow you down.

Track Listing:
1. The Dark Secret
2. Unholy Warcry
3. Wisdom Of The Kings
4. The Village Of Dwarves
5. Erian’s Musical Rhymes
6. Dawn Of Victory
7. Lamento Eroico
8. Nightfall On The Grey Mountains
9. The March Of The Swordmaster
10. Emerald Sword
11. Gran Finale

Official Website: www.mightyrhapsody.com

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