Rhapsody Of Fire
Challenge The Wind
Label: AFM Records
Out: May 31st, 2024
Playing time: 01:03:33

The history of Rhapsody of Fire goes back to 1993, when it was still known as Rhapsody. In 2006, the name was changed to Rhapsody of Fire due to brand name issues. There was also a legal dispute with the management (2007). Those were troubled times. The split came in 2011. Rhapsody of Fire with keyboarder Alex Staropoli and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody.  This review is about the new album by Alex Staropoli’s offshoot ‘Challenge The Wind’. Since 2011, Rhapsody of Fire have released five studio albums and one live album. If you add the previous history, you get an impressive number of fourteen studio albums and two live albums. So, the current album is already album number fifteen, if I haven’t miscounted.

The title track ‘Challenge The Wind’ is right at the beginning of the album. And it is one of the songs where, according to Alex Staropoli, the beat rate is above 190bpm (beats per minute). And you can hear that clearly. There is no pause for breath. Later, ‘The Bloody Pariah’ and ‘Holy Downfall’ also belong to this type of song. But the album also offers a little variety. ‘Whispers Of Doom’, for example, is extremely anthemic. But also, very fast in parts. The more than sixteen-minute-long, monumental opus ‘Vanquished By Shadows’ offers plenty of Metal. The guitars roar and the drums drive forward. Giacomo Voli’s vocals are less clean than before. Of course, the epic or anthemic passages that are familiar from the band are not missing here either. Vocally and musically, this song offers a lot of variety. ‘Kreel’s Magic Staff’ is the next Metal anthem. And is mostly in the mid-tempo range. For me, it’s probably the best track on the whole album. Even though the tempo picks up again on ‘Diamond Claws’, there are also some quieter passages here. Black Wizard’ doesn’t set any speed records either, although it also really kicks off at times. And you can hear the epic, almost operatic choruses typical of Rhapsody. Another great Metal anthem follows with ‘A Brave New Hope’. The final song ‘Mastered By The Dark’ is rather quiet, with lots of acoustic guitars and epic choruses. There is also a chorus to sing along to. And great guitar melodies.  Another album favourite of mine.

I have to admit, I didn’t remember Rhapsody of Fire like this. ‘Challenge The Wind’ is a varied album. On the one hand, there are high-speed force rides, but there are also hymns and epic mid-tempo songs. Of course there is a lot of bombast, but it is not overdone. And mastermind Alex Staropoli usually uses his keyboard discreetly and, above all, in a song-orientated way. This is probably one of the best albums in the long history of Rhapsody of Fire.

Rhapsody of Fire – Diamond Claws : https://youtu.be/-Eo50dOxzUU?si=WY3mB33DxqFhGNcp


Giacomo Voli – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roby De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Paolo Marchesich – Drums

Track list:

  • Challenge The Wind
  • Whispers Of Doom
  • The Bloody Pariah
  • Vanquished By Shadows
  • Kreel’s Magic Staff
  • Diamond Claws
  • Black Wizard
  • A Brave New Hope
  • Holy Downfall
  • Mastered By The Dark
  • Album - 9/10
  • Cover-Art - 8/10
  • Songwriting - 9/10


Disturbingly Good


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