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Guitarist, composer and producer Luca Turilli virtually invented symphonic power metal in the early 1990s.
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Combining his love of film score, the histrionic metal of Manowar and a deep appreciation of the neo-classical guitar playing style of Yngwie Malmsteen, Turilli formed the band that would later become Rhapsody, then Rhapsody of Fire, in 1993. He finally left the band in 2011 to pursue other projects, usually surrounding himself with many of the musicians with whom he has worked in the past.
In 2016, he was reunited with Rhapsody of Fire vocalist Fabio Lione for the 20th anniversary of that band’s debut album. It was the first time the pair had worked together for five years. After that tour, which they saw as an end to the Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire chapter of their lives, they kept in contact. Turilli’s plans to walk away from metal soon dissolved as they began to brainstorm ideas for a new project. Before long, they had begun work on what became Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution).
As the title implies, it was devised as a complete fresh start for the pair, but industry politics immediately got in the way.
“We really wanted to call the band Zero Gravity,” Turilli explains. “But our promoter was concerned that people would not know us. Even though we are both well known, with a new name it would be harder for us to get into the market, so we were sort of obliged to call ourselves something that people would be familiar with and so we decided it would be a new version of Rhapsody, but with our names in the front.”
Even though we are both well known, with a new name it would be harder for us to get into the market, so we were sort of obliged to call ourselves something that people would be familiar with and so we decided it would be a new version of Rhapsody
[ Luca Turilli ]
Continuing with the tradition, the rest of the band is also made up of Alex Holwarth (drums), second guitarist Dominique Leurquin and bassist Patrice Guers. All of whom have enjoyed various tenures with Rhapsody of Fire as well as working with Turilli on other projects—one of which was called Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, incidentally. He’s certainly fond of the name, and it has served him well. Under different variations of it, he has established a two decade long legacy and helped forge an entire genre, although he’s careful to point out that in his homeland, the music he creates is looked at a little differently than elsewhere.
“You see, in Italy,” he says, “our music isn’t considered symphonic metal—it is just called power metal! There isn’t so much the categories in music, in metal, in Italy, so Rhapsody… Rhapsody of Fire, it has always just been called power metal in Italy.”
Whatever one wishes to call it, the music on Zero Gravity is, like most of his work, informed by Turilli’s passion for film soundtracks, with operatic structures and string arrangements blending with fast-paced heavy metal. Playing a starring role is vocalist and chief collaborator Lione.
“I am extremely happy and excited to be working with Fabio once again,” the guitarist says. “It was so good to be able to reconnect with him for the final Rhapsody tour that he and I did together. After the tour we both felt that we should do another project. I felt very much that it was important to make music with Fabio again.”
The tour in support of the album will bring the reunited team to Australia for the first time in October. Turilli apologises for the long delay in making the trip, being previously held back by scheduling and plans that never played out, but is thankful for the opportunity to perform here at last.
“It is always good to be able to come and play your music in a completely new place. It has been something that we have wanted to do now for a very long time, so we are excited about finally being able to come to Australia with Rhapsody.”