September 28, 2006

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Rhapsody of Fire, Triumph or Agony
SPV USA Records, 2006

What’s ironic about Bach-metal is the public-at-large’s indifference to it, since actual studies have shown that people shop their brains out to real classical. OK, a bunch of Italian longhairs pummeling Wagnerian arias with nu-metal guitars and Mayyy-den leads and near-Dio singing is asking for it, but these guys did hose the real Christopher Lee into dusting off his opera baritone for their self-described (ready?) “film-score-metal” opus (ready?) “The Magic of the Wizard’s Dream” last year. Mind, that album was released while the band’s name was just plain Rhapsody, so a little scrape with the trademark spooks apparently took place somewhere along the line prior to this album, titled as it is in the adorable broken-English version of the common aphorism they were actually trying to utter: The Ramones Leave Home. Making sense for just a moment, this is, as advertised, an opulent operatic opus that kicks Helloween’s plush, less-bombastic posterior up one end of La strada di Mullet and down the other, singer Fabio Lione receiving calls-and-responses from a real live concert choir. B-

— Eric W. Saeger