LIVE REPORT: Rhapsody Of Fire w/ Dendera and Collibus at Rebellion, Manchester 14.02.2020

My second gig of the year and in as many days too. Rebellion is a venue where I have attended many gigs and club nights over the years.

We arrived just before local act COLLIBUS started their set and were partway through their soundcheck. It was confirmed that there was some members missing as there was only the vocalist, drummer and guitarist present. For a band to have members missing, they still had a massive stage and sound presence amidst a few technical difficulties all things considered.  It was my first time seeing COLLIBUS live and I was impressed with how the show went on without them being at full capacity. I was intrigued as to how good they would be with full member capacity delivering their progressive metal offerings.

Main support came from Portsmouth’s DENDERA. Fans of the scene may recognise that a couple of members (Vocalist Ashley Edison and Bassist Bradley Edison) are also members of Power Metal titans POWER QUEST but DENDERA are a very different beast indeed. They opened up with Final Warning from their most recent EP Blood Red Sky. This was followed by track Claim our Throne from their second album Pillars of Creation. This is a great track to get the crowd going and is one for fans of the band to sing along to with a punchy and catchy chorus.

Their sound has hints of the classic heavy metal acts IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST with thrash metal elements akin to MEGADETH and METALLICA.  We were treated to two new tracks that will be featured on their upcoming new album, these tracks were titled End of Days and Reborn. These songs are a great taster of what to expect from their new album as the band is heading in a heavier direction, indicated on guttural vocals from both Ashley and guitarist Stephen Main. This was a welcome surprise as it was not expected after seeing the band perform previously.

DENDERA finished with Blood Red Sky (also from their aforementioned EP) which is one of the tracks that is always a welcomed song in their set. I am looking forward to finding out more details surrounding the new release and to catch the boys again when they next tour.

Our headliners for the evening are Italian Power-Symphonic legends RHAPSODY OF FIRE. This was my first time seeing them live and was very much looking forward to it.

We were given the full rendition of their latest album The Eighth Mountain (which was released last year) from start to finish. It is always good to see a band perform a full new album in its entirety, especially from the offset as it sets the scene, tells a story and allows you to envision yourself within its surroundings. Throughout their set it was nice to notice that the technical issues experienced earlier in the evening had now been fully resolved.

Vocalist Giacomo Voli encapsulated his role to the full, catching us into the palm of his hand and encouraging crowd interaction with sing-alongs with varying vocal ranges. We were also serenaded by maestro Alex Staropoli tinkling away on the keys whilst we were greeting with guitar virtuoso Roby De Mecheli, bass from Alessandro Sala and percussion from Manu Lotter.

When The Eighth Mountain set finished, we were presented with classics from the RHAPSODY/RHAPSODY OF FIRE back catalogue. These consisted of: Dawn of Victory, Triumph for my Magic Steel, The Village of Dwarves, Dargor: Shadowlord of the Black Mountain, and Holy Thunderforce. Naturally the crowd lapped these up in earnest.

For the encore we were enthralled by The Emerald Sword” which was an outstanding track to bring the evening to a close.

Whilst perhaps in mainland Europe, RHAPSODY OF FIRE will be filling much larger venues. It is great for a band of their esteem to still play smaller venues as it allows us as fans to be much closer to our musical heroes. Yet on the flipside also shows how sad and sorry the music industry can be. When talented groups are more than worthy to be playing arenas struggle to sell out small venues on a Friday evening.

Words: Martin White

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