RHAPSODY – Live in Canada 2005: The Dark Secret


Magic Circle Music
Release Date: January 23, 2006

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After six studio albums and nearly a decade of close to intriguing pomposity, it was on time for Italian “Hollywood Metal” masters Rhapsody collected some of their best songs on a live platter. The band has had a stable line-up for some time (a line-up which actually includes a drummer –- the drum machine “Thunderforce” is out of the picture once and for all) and a new label and management -– they have actually joined forces with Joey DeMaio and Manowar on their Magic Circle Music label, and a live album/DVD is a great way to make the newly founded label’s effort pay off. The Dark Secret has become a very entertaining package indeed, but some tidbits are there that are worthy of commentary.

First of all; in this era of double, and even triple, live albums, a mere eleven songs including an intro and outro seems a bit cheap. Also, singer Fabio Lione speaks French 90% of the time, and, although this obviously is done due to the fact that his English pronunciation is rather unpleasant to listen to (Montreal being a bilingual city may be another aspect — whatever reason there is), this is a bit frustrating for the non-French speaking listeners, especially as his talks tend to be of the lengthier sort at times.

The song selection will also always be a point of discussion, but the band has done a decent job there. The classics “Emerald Sword” and “Wisdom of the Kings” are of course present, and “Unholy Warcry,” the single from their last studio album (Symphony of Enchanted Lands Pt. II), sounds far better in a live setting. “Nightfall On The Grey Mountains” -– rather humorously introduced by Leone –- and “Dawn of Victory” are other nice touches. Still, it remains a mystery how the classic Legendary Tales album has been entirely left out, and, additionally, the band may not have picked the best tracks from Power of the Dragonflame. “Pride of the Tyrant,” for example, is sadly missed.

Still, this is a very entertaining release. First, the sound quality is amazing. This is one of the best produced live albums released in a long time, balancing perfectly the guitars and drums, the huge keyboards, Lione’s vocals, and the crowd noises. Symphonic numbers like “Sacred Power Of Raging Winds” and “Dawn of Victory” come out perfectly, and combined with excellent playing and a very active crowd, this makes this live effort a pure joy to the ear.

What’s even better is that Fabio Lione sounds better than ever –- he may be both Italian and a chain smoker, but this time around he sounds downright phenomenal, maybe even better than on his best studio work. Judging by older live experiences with Rhapsody, he’s improved by leaps and bounds, and finally shows he can compete with the best even in a live setting.

With that said, there’s no need for more words. Every fan of the band and the genre should check out this album immediately. Besides Blind Guardian’s Live from 2003, this is the best Power Metal live album since the Stratovarius Visions of Europe release.

Web: www.MightyRhapsody.com


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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