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Nothing to fear at any temperature.
on February 12, 2015
While it must be understood and blithely accepted with a sigh that most metal fans are a tin-eared, immature lot, I'm still utterly baffled at what has been said about this piece. One review elsewhere claimed it was "light on actual music," while someone on Amazon clearly doesn't understand that Rhapsody albums tell a contiguous story (which need not be discussed here) that this album is but a segment of.
Since the very nature of this release appears to somehow be in confusion for some, let's address that first. "The Cold Embrace of Fear" is a single 36-minute suite of music divided into seven "acts." The musical style is precisely what you'd expect from this exceptional band: old Helloween style power/speed metal fused nicely with cinematic orchestral arrangements and choirs, neo-classical/neo-baroque electric guitar and keyboard with a dash of folk. Exactly like many past and future Rhapsody compositions, woven into the piece are spoken word / radio drama segments: a short, 2-minute opening scene that then segues into 17 straight minutes of Rhapsody-metal, which in turn segues into a 5 minute dramatic scene. The 36 minutes close with spoken word narration after a powerful (very) metal climax. To put it simply, this is no different in compositional style or attitude than anything else Rhapsody has done. To express outrage or confusion and claim it's a "spoken word album" and "doesn't have a lot of music on it" is - I apologize for the bluntness - abject stupidity.
Now that we have identified what it is, what about its quality? How does it stack up against Turilli & company's other works? While it might be a little exaggerating to call it a "36-minute B-side," that's kind of what it is. It's immediately preceding and succeeding releases, respectively The Frozen Tears of Angels and From Chaos to Eternity are absolute BEASTS, containing inspired material that could be called Rhapsody's apotheosis. The Cold Embrace of Fear doesn't come up to those standards, but it is a nice bonus that Rhapsody fans of ordinary or better intellect and aural health would appreciate.