Back in my early 20’s I went through a big Power Metal phase. I started discovering Blind Guardian, Jag Panzer, Helloween and the like. I was a particularly big fan of Luca Turilli’s two solo albums at the time. King of Nordic Twilight and Prophet of the Last Eclipse were solid albums, though they weren’t reinventing the wheel. The first was your standard Tolkien-esque fantasy metal, while the 2nd took a Sci-Fi angle. Both albums have great big choirs doing John Williams Duel of the Fates style arrangements behind speedy double bass drumming and shred solos with an excellent lead vocal on both albums provided by Olaf Hayer of Dionysus.
By the time Luca Turilli’s 3rd album, The Infinite Wonders of Creation, was released, I wasn’t really paying attention to Power Metal anymore, having become more enamored with Tech Death and Symphonic Black Metal. On Friday, I listened to the third album for the first time in it’s entirety.
Right off the bat, the lead vocal of Olaf Hayer had been replaced by Bridget Fogle, who also provided an excellent vocal performance, although Olaf Hayer does make an appearance or two in a backing vocal role. My qualms with this record have nothing to do with either vocalist’s performance, but rather the motivations for the stylistic shift this album took. Between the time of Prophet and this album, Lacuna Coil and Nightwish became two of the more successful bands in Europe. It would seem this phenomenon was not lost on Luca Turilli, because the whole album slowed down to a Lacuna Coil style crawl with only one or two mid tempo songs, but nothing with any of the speed of the first two albums. This would not have been such a bad thing had the songs matched the tempos in heaviness. However, the songs just didn’t hit me with any sort of the power that the previous two albums had. Also, gone were the traditional Italian Folk influences from before.
It simply struck me as a particularly bland, boring record. Also, the previous two albums were concept albums with a clear narrative. This is categorized as a concept album, but if there is a concept, it isn’t obvious. The songs don’t seem to have much cohesion, other than the fact they are clearly played by the same people. The previous two albums didn’t need an explanation or liner notes for you to follow along the story of the albums, at least if you were paying attention. I read through the lyrics of this album and found no discernible story arc. Overall, this album is just not enjoyable. It is a pity, because all the musicians are great and are clearly capable of better things. This is an album bogged down by trying to be a Power Metal album while trying to adapt to the trends of the time. It succeeds at neither. Luca Turilli’s Dreamquest, however, is a much more successful effort at the sound this album seemed to going for, albeit much heavier on the Lacuna Coil style. After both of these albums, it would appear Luca Turilli abandoned the Gothic Metal direction and went full Symphonic Power Metal with Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody (which was split off from Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire, Luca’s original band.)
If you are a fan of Power Metal, do yourself a favor and check out Rhapsody/Rhapsody Of Fire/Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, the first 2 Luca Turilli solo albums, and if you like the more Goth Metal sound of Lacuna Coil with a Power Metal influence, Luca Turilli’s Dreamquest. This album however, is boring, bland and a total let down. Just skip it.