I'm sure I'm not the only one who wasn't happy to see RHAPSODY changing their name into RHAPSODY OF FIRE but I don't want to go deeper into this story. I'm sure the band itself wasn't happy at all but Luca Turilli claimed that the renaming would lead to a new musical era. Already the previous effort "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II" was characterized as a step forward after the 2002s epic "Power Of The Dragonflame". In my opinion, "Power Of The Dragonflame" was and is the best what RHAPSODY have ever written and it was obvious that it would be difficult for RHAPSODY to make another album of this quality. On the second part of "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands", RHAPSODY started to reduce the Metal-side of their music and replaced it with a complete orchestra and my fear now was that the band will continue in this fashion.
And all my worrys got real; the guitars are way more in the background than before. Okay, I expected something like this but I haven't expected that RHAPSODY would also take the tempo out of their songs and furthermore, the orchestra parts aren't that impressive as before. RHAPSODY seem to have concentrated too much on their new musical direction so that they forgot what their older records made to such classics. Okay, I have to admit that "Film Score Metal" is really a fitting name for their soundtrack-like style but without knowing what band stands behind such songs like "Heart Of The Darkness" or "Silent Storm", one would have never thought that this is truly RHAPSODY.
Only the title track "Triumph Or Agony" and the obligatory 16-minutes long epic "The Mystic Prophecy Of The Demon Knight" remind of the glorier days of the RHAPSOY history. Also cover artwork and song names are in a clear RHAPSODY fashion and Fabio's voice is still a great and remarkable trademark.
I have to say that "Triumph Or Agony" gets better with some spins but in the end, it's a disappointment. At the moment I'm refusing to acknowledge the new name RHAPSODY OF FIRE, maybe due to the fact that the first RHAPSODY OF FIRE album can't keep up with the latest RHAPSODY releases.
(Online November 17, 2006)