Luca Turilli

Prophet of the Last Eclipse

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Born in 1972, Italian heavy metal guitarist Luca Turilli fits right into the Generation X demographic. He wasn't even born when the Beatles broke up, and Nirvana and Pearl Jam were riding high when he turned 21 in 1993. So if he's going to play metal, one would expect it to be alternative metal. But in fact, Turilli's specialty is conceptual fantasy metal and progressive rock as we knew it in the '70s and '80s -- sort of Iron Maiden and Queensr├┐che meet Rush, Yes, and Genesis, with a strong appreciation of European classical music. Not exactly the type of thing listeners ordinarily expect from one of rock's post-Baby Boomers, but Prophet of the Last Eclipse demonstrates that Turilli is quite serious about what he does. Some might argue that the Rhapsody guitarist is a little too serious -- that this 2002 solo outing is a perfect example of the sort of pretentiousness that punk was rebelling against back in the late '70s. But there is no reason why rock shouldn't accommodate a variety of approaches; there is room for rockers who are raw, simple, and basic, as well as rockers who are more involved and complex. And Prophet of the Last Eclipse (whose fantasy-based lyrics thrive on dungeons-and-dragons imagery) is certainly complex, not to mention overblown. Both lyrically and musically, Turilli's symphonic blend of fantasy metal, prog-rock, and Euro-classical is as grandiose as it gets. Prophet of the Last Eclipse lacks even the slightest trace of irony, which is a big part of its charm. Those who insist that rock should always thrive on simplicity will no doubt find Turilli's excesses hard to take, but someone who appreciates fantasy metal and progressive rock at their most conceptual and overblown will find a lot to enjoy about this intriguing, if self-indulgent, CD.

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