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Rhapsody is altijd al een kwalitatief sterke metalband geweest, maar met de nieuwe plaat 'Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II – The Dark Secret' heeft de band zichzelf overtreft. Afgelopen zomer sprak Lords Of Metal al met toetsenist Alex Staropoli in Hannover, waar het nodige uit de doeken werd gedaan over de nieuwe plaat. Een paar maanden later reisde uw verslaggever af naar Tilburg, om te ontmoeten met diezelfde Alex. In dit interview licht hij alle twaalf de nummers toe die staan op één van de meest spraakmakende albums van het jaar.

Door: Ferdi | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

Intro - The Dark Secret

“This song is the intro to the album. I always wait writing the intro's to an album until the very last moment, when we have finished the entire album. This way I can truly capture the feeling of an album and put it in the first track. Of course this time things are more exciting because the intro is played by an orchestra, not me. This makes it sound much more like the opening of a film than the opening of a cd.”

Unholy Warcry

“This was an obvious choice to release as a first single. Radio doesn't play long songs, so we had to choose a short song for the ep. In many ways 'Unholy Warcry' represents everything Rhapsody is about: it is fast, melodic and orchestral. Plus, it has Christopher Lee in it. This made it an excellent choice for putting it on a single and also for kickstarting the album.

band imageNever Forgotten Heroes

“'Never Forgotten Heroes' is where the movie starts, with sounds of churchbells and choirs. The melody of the song is Luca's. When we start a song we start out with the melody. We also write the vocal lines at the same time as the rest of the song, and that is why certain songs - including this one – have such strong melodies.”

Elgard's Green Valleys

“This song starts off with the sounds of horses and someone saying 'follow me'. For this purpose we got a professional theatre-actor from London who could – obviously – act really well. We will keep working with actors in the future, because they usually have very remarkable voices – not the everyday voices you would hear in daily life. We did that to provide the album a more movielike moment. I remember that Sasha was working on this song, piecing all these sounds together while I was away. When I walked into the studio I thought that Sasha was watching a dvd. But he didn't, he was listening to this song. I completely mistaked it for a movie! That is exactly the sort of feeling we want to create for the listener.”

The Magic Of The Wizard's Dream

“This is the ballad of the album. I love this song, Fabio is great on it. Halfway during the recordings we felt that we needed a slower song at this point of the album, so we composed an additional ballad in the studio. Whilst writing the song we thought about the movie, about the kind of song that would close an epic film about a dramatic lovestory. That was the feeling that Luca and I wanted too catch, and I think we managed to do that. The flute at the end is done by my brother, Manuel. He worked with us on previous albums, he plays a lot of baroque-instruments, and we wanted to have him too.”

Erian's Mystical Rhymes

“This song is one of the gloomiest track on the album. That was intentional, we wanted the album to have a tragic moment, the darkest moments of the cd. The song starts off with a very doomy, low choir. Some people think that this part was influenced by the Lord Of The Rings soundtrack, the piece in Moria where the Fellowship is approached by the Balrog. I'd say that this is a coincidence. We wanted to create a warlike-feeling, a feeling of a warrior going to battle. Now, Lord Of The Rings incorporated so many elements into its soundtrack, so many emotions, that it is unavoidable to have certain parts of our album and their soundtrack sound alike. That's unavoidable, because the approach of us and the composer of Lord Of The Ring's filmmusic, mister Howard Shore, are similar in many ways.”

The Last Angel's Call

“One of the most catchy songs on the album. Straightforward Rhapsody with a good orchestration. This time we have many slow moments on our album, so we felt that we needed a short, violent and fast track to pick up the pace of the movie. All of these decisions are discussed thoroughly. All decisions in Rhapsody happen consciously. Nothing is left to the occasion, Luca and I plan everything ahead.”

band imageDragonland's River

“Another filmsong with sounds of actors and birds. How did we record the birds for this album? Actually we didn't even need to. Both Sasha and I have a huge library of sounds recorded everywhere. The only thing we had to do is look the birds up in Sasha's computer and mix it into the record. Doesn't take a lot of time, but it adds an incredible amount of feeling to the album. It gives you the impression that the sound of the album is genuine.”

Sacred Power Of Raging Winds

“One of the first songs we recorded and still one of my favourites. What I like is the new direction that we go in. On one hand it is heavy and dark, but it is also progressive. The moment mister Lee does the intro is one of the finest moments of the album, I reckon. The song ends with a duel between Luca on guitar and Manuel on flute and violin. We wanted to give Manuel a bit more space on this cd, so we allowed him to do this long solo at the end of the song. Luca always wanted to do a solo-battle with guitars and baroque-indstruments against the backdrop of an orchestra, so that was how this part turned out. I really like it a lot, as you have two amazing musicians who are trying to outdo eachother on their own instruments.”


“You might have heard this one before. This is a song that was on the mini-cd in English, called 'Guardians Of Destiny'. For the purpose of the album we dubbed the song in Italian, which is also the version that I prefer. We experimented with Italian lyrics on the 'Power Of The Dragonflame'-album and decided that we will keep doing that on future albums. Translating the song into Italian was a bit tricky, though. Obviously you cannot literally translate the music into Italian, because you also have to make sure about the pacing of the sentences, synchronising the syllables with the music. So there are subtle lyrical differences between the two versions, although the lyrical essence is still the same.”

Shadows Of Death

“Another song that we wrote very early on. It is quite dark. It represents an emotional musical moment on the cd. Trumpets kick off the song to give it a sense of valour. Luca wanted to give it a representative feeling of a heroic part of the story. The part is very much inspired by the films Excalibur and Conan. These films have been very influential to my style of playing and that sometimes comes across in the music. When I create these soundscapes I do them in vein of these soundtracks. I don't even need to watch these films anymore to get inspiration anymore, because they are such a huge part of my life.”

Nightfall On The Grey Mountains

“The losing songs with once again huge soundscapes. It was written towards the end and was born out of the intro to the song. Closing the album with mid-temposong kinda fits Rhapsody. We are actually contemplating to end our liveshows with this song, as it has the kind of drama that fits the ending. When we wrote this song we wanted to reproduce the last song from our previous album – which we also used to close the set – which was one of the best ending-songs we ever wrote… If not the best. This song gives you the feeling that the story has really ended for now. It gives you the feeling that you have really been through something in the last eighty minutes.”

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