Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Rhapsody - Rain Of A Thousand Flames
(SPV)

OK, that title sorta makes sense, but Rhymes Of A Tragic Poem - The Gothic Saga... what a tangle of wasted, vague words. It's crap like that that makes me think many of these bands are borne of vacuous thoughts. But have no fear, with Rhapsody it is a rare slip up of sense, the band filling this gap-filling, specially priced 42 minute CD with plush layers unfurled from their “Hollywood metal” boudoir. The production is scintillating and the overall presentation envelopes the hard and soft of their past three albums, Rhapsody arriving dense and sensual with a convoluted four-part tale as well as another lengthy standalone track (13:43), pushing the band full into the prog zone, more cinematic than ever. As usual, the band prove their mettle by inundating the listener with soundtracked multi-tracked metal few others would dare try, creating an ambitious EP that primes the buds for the rapidly arriving fourth piece of the Emerald Sword saga.
Rating 8

Jorn - Worldchanger
(Frontiers)

Norwegian vocal god Jorn Lande has provided pipes for The Snakes, Vagabond, Ark, Millenium, Yngwie and the Nostradamus project, as well as stepping out with his own half covers/half originals album. He rules, and what rules more is the power-metalized Whitesnake whomp of his royal self and his assembled vagabonds on the massive missive called Worldchanger. Really, this has little to do with power metal, or for that matter typical Frontiers melodic rock. What you have hear is a heavy huddle of edgy, brutally proficient prima donnas going up the stairs and over the steroid top with a blast of grinding Sykes-era Whitesnake, too heavy to move quickly, too panoramic and adorned to ignore. His band carries an equally heavy load, Tore Moren, Sid Ringsby and Jan Aksel “Hellhammer” grooving and shredding and otherwise playing with passion beneath this set of superman pipes owing more than a bit of debt to Mr. Coverdale. There's metal, blues, balladry, and endless seamless marriages of the three, making for an event-packed album that restores your faith in the capability of metal makers to revive fading subgenres and synthesize and motorize them into energetic, enjoying new records. Check out the title track, which serves as a collapsed microcosm for the whole album, essentially, with its crossroads effect, becoming the most interesting prog metal proposal I've heard for quite some time. Grand, unapologetic, blindingly shiny.
Rating 9.5

Hard Reviews Page 3