Ever since I was a metal newbie, and up to this day, I had a thing for clean singing. Don’t get me wrong, I like growls, grunts, and all sorts of guttural sounds, but nothing tingles my senses better than “old school” high pitched Heavy, and Power Metal singers doing what they were born to do. In the past decade, metal music in Croatia experienced a “baby boom” of bands going towards black, death, and (insert whatever word you like) core creations. That’s why the coming of Symphonic Power Metal legends to Zagreb was a dramatic, and refreshing turn of events. However, there was a lot of grumbling going on between the Croatian keyboard warriors regarding the fact that this is not the “true” version of this band, and that they will not honor the “fake version” with their presence. Even without the support of those “majestic individuals”, the band came, saw, and conquered both the audience, and the venue. Therefore, I bring you the great story of how it all happened…
It was the middle of the second week of March, 2020 AD, and the setting just fine for a pleasant drive towards the Croatian capital, so I joined forces with two of my allies, so we navigated towards the Boogaloo club. By the evening, we were at the battlefield, armed with jeans, beers and leather, ready for the show.
The first tale of the evening was told by Tales of Evening, a Hungarian Symphonic/Gothic Metal band consisting of Ivett Dudás on vocals, Tamás Ribarics on first guitar, Krisztián Varga on second guitar, Attila Ádám on keybord, Attila Németh on bass, and Róbert Pálosi on drums. Tales Of Evening was a suitable replacement for the progressive metaheads Egosystema from Italy, who were the previous choice for this particular tour. With their positive approach, they were instantly bound with the merry gathering of Boogaloo’s metalheads. Most of the songs Tales Of Evening performed were written in Hungarian, but the language barrier did not prevent the band to open the show with a great kickstart. Although a common thing in metal music, a female fronted band is always interesting to listen to, especially when you have a singer like Ivett between within your lines, who’s vocal capabilities, and stage performance takes it all up to a higher level. Well done, guys and girl!
The second act was a Symphonic/Power Metal band with some proggressive elements, simply named Symphonity, but trust me, there was nothing simple about that great band. Although not newcomers, and rather long runners on the metal scene, there time is yet to come, and they will be heard. A band coming from Brno, Czech Republic, did not have a problem with the language barrier. That was very well shown by their lead singer Marián “Mayo” Petranin, who was communicating by fluent Czech-Croatian with the audience. When mentioning the audience, they were thrilled with the show Symphonity offered, especially during the songs like “King Of Persia”, “Flying”, and “Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime”, a cover song of Nena, a German singer-songwriter, actress, and comedian. Full of interesting melodies mixed with powerful, heavy riffing, Symphonity found just the right thing to fulfill our needs, since we all were cheering, and asking for more, and more. The guys from Czech Republic definetly made an huge impact on Zagreb, and we look forward to meeting them again in the bright, and near future.
After a short but needed break, we were ready for the legends to hit the stage.
There we were, standing face to face with the Symphonic/Power Metal masters from Italy. Screams, and loud shouting filled the small hall of Boogaloo, as if the two or three hundred of us were ten thousand strong in a big, mighty arena. The mind creation of Alex Staropoli was unleashed, and there it was, Rhapsody Of Fire burning for the first time ever in Zagreb, and second time in Croatia, since they just played a sold-out show on the Dalmatian coast, in the historic town of Šibenik. Promoting their last studio effort, “The Eight Mountain”, a year old studio album, the first chapter for a new saga, written by Alex Staropoli and Roby De Micheli, named “The Nephilim’s Empire Saga”, the new, and first saga which was not masterminded by guitar virtuoso Luca Turilli, who had left Rhapsody Of Fire in 2011 AD. It marks also the first studio effort without legendary Fabio Lione on vocals, and longtime drummer Alex Holzwarth. With that being said, vocal duties were taken by the 2014 AD Voice Of Italy runner-up Giacomo Voli. A new name, and face within their ranks is Manu Lotter as well, the gentleman behind the drum throne. The first part of the set was entitled “The Eight Mountain Tour 2020”, dedicated to the new album, which was played almost in it’s entirety. It was a solid proof that Giacomo Voli was a perfect choice to front the band. Man, that guy could sing! Studio versions are nothing compared to what he can deliver live.
The second part of the show was dedicated to the highlight Rhapsody Of Fire album, “Dawn Of Victory”, turning 20 this year. To celebrate it’s birthday, Rhapsody Of Fire performed the most notable tracks from the mentioned album, leaving the audience in delirium. Played in a manner like it just came out, “Dawn Of Victory” album proved still to be one of the greatest diamonds in the history of Power Metal, and the the Magnum Opus of Rhapsody Of Fire. People were chanting the lyrics to “Dawn Of Victory”, “The Village Of Dwarves”, “Dargor, Shadowlord Of The Black Mountain”, and “Holy Thunderforce” as if they were regular, every evening prayers before going to sleep. The gem of the show, and tour was definetly “Triumph For My Magic Steel”, which Rhapsody Of Fire was playing live on tour for the first time ever. Even after all these great tracks, the audience was still hungry. The band was ready for that sort of crisis, so they swinged the “Emerald Sword” as the encore, and sliced the hunger out of every single one of us. Pleased, and grateful, the band thanked everyone who made this tour possible, and we all took a photo together to mark the memory which will never-ever be erased from our hearts, and minds.
As all the good things eventually must come to an end, this night was not an exception. Rhapsody Of Fire finished their show in Zagreb with an emotional goodbye, since it also marked the early end of their current tour regarding safety reasons concerning the recent ungrateful COVID-19 virus spreading disease.
We were lucky to see and enjoy the ways Power Metal masters craft their fine arts, and now it is time to focus on being healthy and – Stayin’ alive. So, with the wonder of Bee Gees ringing in my head, I leave you to these words, and sincere best wishes!