Turilli / Lione Rhapsody - Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution)

Turilli / Lione Rhapsody Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution) cover
Turilli / Lione Rhapsody
Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution)
Nuclear Blast
Luca Turilli has been quite uncompromising in trying to keep himself and his work relatively fresh while keeping true to the sound he helped to introduce and develop when he first started Rhapsody. He did the “farewell” tour where he performed along with as much an original band as he could – the “early” material so getting back with Fabio Lione and a bunch of other musicians he’s collaborated with through the years, he’s returning with yet another iteration and Rhapsody related release, the second this year as Rhapsody of Fire (The Staropolli led band) alsohad a release this year. Comfortably sitting between his own “Prometheus” and solo work, with Fabio being the link to the past, “Zero Gravity” sounds sufficiently fresh and equally familiar in a way that is really great.
“Phoenix Rising” opens the album without haste. It’s characterized by a slowly cascading cadence, with plenty of symphonic elements and gorgeous choirs, with Lione putting on a superb and passionate performance that keeps it cool. While the “Prometheus” release would at times sound not fused enough, this times all the different elements appear as if they’ve cooked together for a sufficient time, while maintaining all the right “flavors”; tasty!
“D.N.A (Demon and Angel)” maintains the style, but is a little more rhythmical. Lione is joined by Elize Ryd (Amaranthe, Kamelot), who generally has a pleasurable voice and while she certainly fits the bill, I think there’s more antagonism than sibilance between the two. However, since the theme is about a dichotomy, I guess, the whole “battle” of vocals is not unwarranted. It just makes things a little hard to follow, since they often sing together, but not always in perfect unison. When they do come together or complement each other it’s great, but I had issues with some parts especially earlier in the song.
The title track, “Zero Gravity”, starts in smooth way before Fabio goes mercurial past the first minute, following a simple riff that’s doubled down by some tremendous battery. After all these years Turill and co have finally managed to perfect a style – quite different from their initial tarantella infused classic power metal. The symphonic excellence here is mingled with some ethnic elements and chants quite unexpectedly but also seamlessly. Cool.
“Radio Burst” begins just like “Phoenix” with some radio transmission and with some fast guitar/key bursts, before Lione drops in with some impressive singing. The balance between vocals and instrumental parts is refined with neither trying to overdo the other, but both complimenting each other. The fact to that from song to song, the only thing constant is the genre and overall style, but not the intricate details, tempi or moods, is what keeps things fresh and the album flowing like a “cosmic” river…
“Decoding the Multiverse” begins with some ponderous piano, before keyboards layer over it, in a melancholic piece that feels like a collision between Rhapsody and Kamelot back in their “Karma” days. Things progressively simmer up to some almost proto-Rhapsody melodies, which however are tempered enough to fit the overall bill here. A small prog instrumental orgy ensues towards the end and more old-school Rhap chaos erupts in the last minute, kept barely in check by some miracle.
“Origins” is a two minute overture/into, where choirs quickly sweep in to grandiose effect, which leads to “Multidimensional”, a plethoric piece that contradicts itself initially with its slow measured delivery, but quickly starts to pulsate between its impressive bombastic overtures and Lione’s mostly subdued delivery that does follow the overall flow on occasion, creating interesting contrasts when it doesn’t. I must admit that recycling an older melody in a neat and not immediately obvious way is a neat trick, but overall at this point the album seems to be losing its direction a bit.
And the dolce “Amata Immortale”, an acoustic ballad sung in Italian that goes full on symphonic in the last couple of minutes, doesn’t exactly help with direction much, but is a nice disruption.
“I Am” manages to nicely re-calibrate things and is led by a nice riff and vocal melody. It all tends to remind a bit of a certain… tall Dutch guy to a point, but wait, is that a saxophone in the cosmic – chaos – mixed, probably at the bottom of audacity? WTF?!
“Arcanum (Da Vinci’s Enigma)” begins with choral vocals, pits em with some electronics, then proceeds with some ascending metallo-choirs led by Fabio on the up (all sung in Italian). While it walks a fine line between being fully overblown and its three phases don’t differ too much, it does reach a satisfying conclusion.
Last but not least, “Oceano” seems like a nice way to conclude the album; it’s melodic and has some impressive tempestuous peaks, but overall it’s marine inspired theme accommodates a far more placid nature overall.
While the Staropolli version of the band seems happy to keep churning out medieval fantasy metal, Turilli and his posse seem to gravitate more towards an Ayreon like version of the sound of Rhapsody, that’s far more involved and adventurous. In this atypal battle we have an easy winner.