Hey all!!! Hope everyone had an awesome holiday season and kick off to the New Year. Now that we are at the start of 2012 I think it’s fair that we release our personal Top 15 Albums of 2011. Making this years list was quite a difficult charge. I’ve been seeing around on the internets that many were disappointed in 2011… Myself, this was one of the best years in metal, ever, making the narrowing down of the best around a bit tricky. There were great follow-ups, amazing breakthrough albums, and some wonderful debut albums. I also discovered many new bands to listen to this year with a good handful cracking my Top 15. If anyone is complaining that “new music sucks”, well they aren’t listening. There is an innumerable amount of great stuff to check out, you just have to have an open mind and give anything that catches your ear a listen (or eye if the album has great artwork). If you do a little searching for your tunes every year will be the best year in music for you(and with the internet finding awesome tunes is so much easier and cheaper than before, until you start finding music you love and going on some shopping sprees :) ). Positive thinking and law of attraction and all that stuff.
When making my list the criteria I used was how often I listened to each album, initial impact and how long that first impression lasted, and how well the album grew on me. I hope you all enjoy my picks and hopefully find some cool new music to listen to. And if you look at my list and think of a band that would be right up my alley, let me know!! And let us know what some of your favorite albums were for 2011. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again, I like a good heaping dose of thick cheese on my metal. Not always, as some cheese is a bit sour or over aged, but a good stinky cheese, say, like Gorgonzola, mmm mmm mmm.
Italy needs no introduction to cheese as the whole world is familiar with the best cheese the Big Boot has to offer like Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Provolone, and my favorite, Rhapsody. In the metal realm nothing is cheesier these cinematic fantasy power metal masters, and when I didn’t think that Rhapsody could possibly get any cheesier, they took a Burratta and then slathered it with just about every other tasty cheese there is and released an album trailer like I’ve never seen before. It looks like a teaser for the campiest epic Hollywood movie ever, and that’s just the part where the words fly around on the screen really big. Check it out below.
And to clear up the name thing with Rhapsody which may begin to get more confusing than the L.A. Guns, when Rhapsody of Fire‘s two main men Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli decided on a “friendly split” earlier this year the name rights of Rhapsody were tweaked around a bit. Luca took current Rhapsody of Fire members Dominique Lerquen(2nd/touring guitarist), Alex Holzwarth(drums), and Patrice Guers(bass) with him and now uses the moniker Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. The new singer and keyboardist will be announced when “the moment is right”. On the flip-side Alex Staropoli took Tom Hess(2nd/touring guitarist, now playing lead guitars), and Fabio Leone(vocals) and will continue the current band moniker of Rhapsody of Fire which they switched to in 2006 due to some trademark issues from the band’s original name(and the one I will always use when referring to pre-split) Rhapsody. Alex also recruited Oliver Holzwarth(bass, and brother of L.T. Rhapsody‘s drummer, and Blind Guardian studio bassist), and Roberto De Michele(2nd guitar). Got all that? Good! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Today it has been announced that Luca Turilli will be parting ways with his long time band Rhapsody of Fire. “10 albums released and the end of the saga represent, musically and lyrically, an important artistic goal finally reached, underlined by the success of our last release From Chaos To Eternity, for which we want to thank our wonderful fans once again. Now it came the time when new artistic stimulation need to be found, in respect of both parts’ visions and perspectives and of our longtime friendship” stated band founders and leaders Luca Turilli(guitars) and Alex Staropoli(keyboards) in a joint statement.
Rhapsody of Fire will continue as a band with Alex Staropoli taking the helm and pushing forward with Fabio Leone(vocals), Tom Hess(was second guitar player and is now stepping in to fill Luca’s huge shoes while they band auditions for a second guitarist to take his previous position), and Alex Holzwarth(Drums). Luca Turilli will continue the Rhapsody(not to be confused Rhapsody of Fire) namesake with Dominique Leurquin(second guitar), Patrice Guers(bass) and Alex Holzwarth(drums). In case you are totally confused, Rhapsody had to change their band name to something different after some legal battles which led to the band being named Rhapsody of Fire so now each of the founders are taking a part of the band and doing their thing with it. When each band gets rolling on hopefully the naming confusion will iron itself out.
Adding to the joint statement Alex Staropoli has said “While wishing the best to Luca and his new band, I want to tell you that Fabio and myself feel motivated and stronger than ever and that Rhapsody of Fire are already planning a great worldwide tour. More information regarding the new bass player and the new second guitar player will follow. Stay tuned!”
I didn’t find this split entirely surprising as they had stated upon the release of their latest album From Chaos to Eternity that they had finally closed a huge chapter in their career and had interest in pursuing other projects outside of the fantasy niche they had carved for themselves. I am happy that Alex will continue on with Rhapsody of Fire and Luca with Rhapsody, while they may move away from the fantasy themes I enjoy so much from them I am looking forward to hearing where they bring their new paths. VIVA FORMAGGIO ITALIANO!!!!
It’s now July 2011 and we have hit the halfway point in the year. So far there have been tons of outstanding metal releases and there will be some upcoming releases to hit in the second half of the year(September is going to be one hell of a month). I’d like to present you with my top 10 favorite albums to be released so far in 2011. Let’s see how many maintain their hold till the end of the year. A few I haven’t gotten around to reviewing but be sure that will eventually pop up soon. And as always, what were your favorite albums for the first half of 2011. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
If there’s one thing that’s not lacking in the world of metal is music videos. More often than not these videos don’t get much of a budget from the record companies, so the bands need to cut corners and really use their imagination to make a video to promote themselves. Sometimes the band is aware that the video is going to be ridiculous, and often they are completely oblivious making the video even more hilarious. Here’s a collection of some of the most hilariously awesome metal videos, intentional or not. Check them out and have a good laugh. If you know of some other awesomely awful metal videos leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Now this is how you go out in style. Rhapsody(of Fire)‘s new release From Chaos to Eternity brings the Dark Secret Saga to a close and also marks the their exit from the fantasy world of Rhapsody(there will still be tours and concerts under the Rhapsody moniker, and maybe other Rhapsody albums, but none taking place in the world they have created). It will be sad to see the Rhapsody saga come to a close, but they couldn’t have ended it on a higher note. Over the years Rhapsody have captivated their listeners with their unique brand of neo-classical power metal and their world of dragons, elves, demons, angels, wizards, and dark geometry.
In anticipation of the masters of Italian symphonic over the top fantasy power metal band Rhapsody(of Fire)’s upcoming album(there is a leak floating around Youtube, and wow, just, wow) From Chaos to Eternity I present to you the best worst music video ever created. “Rain of a Thousand Flames” come off the 2001 EP of the same name which serves as an expansion to the Emerald Sword Saga storyline. Enjoy hope you laugh and headbang as much as I did!!! And this is mildly NSFW, there’s a couple nipples. Peace Love and Metal
And remember to purchase your copy of From Chaos to Eternity on 17 June 2011 in Europe and July 12th 2011 in the States.
Viva Formaggio Italiano!!!!!(I couldn’t help myself)
Have you ever gotten completely sucked in by a game of Dungeons & Dragons? Are you partial to stories about a group of unlikely hero’s coming together to find and destroy a magical artifact to save their world? Do you love over the top neo-classical symphonic power metal? Do you think the best cheese in the world comes from Italy?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, I got the perfect album recommendation for you. Rhapsody of Fire(formerly know as just Rhapsody) is a band that hails from Italy, they create the best in over the top symphonic epic power metal, they have an affinity for fantastical subject matter, and they have an ongoing narrative within their albums where unlikely heroes come together to search for an indestructible book written in the blood of angel’s that contains evil geometry(yup, you read that right, evil geometry) that could resurrect a supremely evil entity known as Nekron that would bring about cosmic chaos. And they’re made out of nothing but the finest and tastiest Italian cheese, delicious, mouthwatering Italian cheese. Oh, and Saruman, err, Christopher Lee does narrations on their albums.