Luca Turilli King Of The Nordic Twilight

Grandiose in every aspect, this first solo CD from a guitarist of Rhapsody takes the whole thing one step further. Like a metal Lord of the Rings soundtrack, majestic and spinning tales of kings, adventures and conquests, Turilli seems to live in a whole other world. It's certainly an uplifting journey, with a full opera choir, crazy fast keyboard "riffs," violins, violas, flutes, pianos, cembalos and, of course, no shortage of guitars. Vocals are clean and well-sung, and the songs range from fast Stratovarius/Blind Guardian-core to slow ballads to a funny polka-sounding one, but sounding cool like the tippity-tapping of gnome's booted feet. It's a bit lengthy at 50 minutes, but it wouldn't make sense if it was any shorter. (Limb)