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Ancient Bards - The Alliance Of The Kings

Ancient Bards
The Alliance Of The Kings
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 16 May 2010, 5:05 PM

It is not that I am prejudiced against the Power Metal scene but who can blame me when I knew ANCIENT BARDS's musical character just by reading the first lines in their bio sheet? I mean what can an Italian band play when the genre tag reads Symphonic Metal? Well, the obvious answer is something like RHAPSODY (a.k.a. RHAPSODY OF FIRE). Indeed, the band's name adds the fantasy layer that simply puts in place the missing piece of this easy-to-make puzzle. Of course, this approach damnifies this fresh band that I am sure “hates” to hear the name of RHAPSODY in their influences list. For starters the Italian band has a female singer who -fortunately for me- does not follow the crowded path of the good-looking soprano vocalists. Mrs Sara Squadrani has an excellent voice with a medieval timbre that frequently brings her close to Blackmore's muse, Candice Night. Actually, these female vocals help ANCIENT BARDS to draw a line from the aforementioned band who has been leading the Italian Fantasy Metal scene for many years.

The debut release of the Italian sextet is a concept album and tells the story of the Black Crystal Sword that becomes the apple of discord for the four kings and the evil dark wizard. Ok, reading the lyrics the term cliche popped up in my mind but I managed to constraint it because we are here to talk about the music. "The Birth OF Evil" enters with a fast almost galloping tempo leading the listener to the climax with keyboard melodic phrases and finger melting guitar scales. Apart from the nice sing-along bridge, I really enjoyed the rhythm guitar work which reveals the nice Heavy Metal layers that I'd prefer to meet more frequently here. And then, it is solo time where you get the over-played keyboard-guitar-bass sequence where the tempo accelerates to underline the high skills of ANCIENT BARDS and inevitably burn out my interest-fuse. On the other hand, the orchestrations work perfectly on the story telling part and build the landscapes with kings, dragons, wizards and everything a nice fantasy book can deliver.

As I said ANCIENT BARDS can do well with the guitars and especially when they decide to work on the Heavy Metal side of their music as heard during "Only The Brave" where the HAMMERFALL influences take some space from the RHAPSODY OF FIRE's as long as the let's-all-sing-the-lyrics part states inactive. The same goes for "Froze Time" where the guitar solo somewhere in the middle of the seven minutes unveils the personal character this band could possess if it'd work in that direction. "Lode Al Padre" is a nice clean guitar driven ballad delivering a killer medieval atmosphere building a tension that finds a relief after the distortion has entered.

I really don't need to add more info on this. ANCIENT BARDS set a foot on the fantasy Metal scene and seem to have the potential to claim the crown from RHAPSODY OF FIRE who are already ready to unleash a new album. From my side I should underline the band's need to fine tune the musical identity and to lift the influences veil off the future releases. All the die-hard fans will find all the elements fit to this genre and thus welcome a brand new band on the Power Metal clan.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Prelude
  2. The Birth Of Evil
  3. Four Magic Elements
  4. Only The Brave
  5. Frozen Mind
  6. Nightfall In Icy Forest
  7. Lode Al Padre
  8. Daltor The Dragonhunter
  9. Farewell My Hero
  10. Faithful To Destiny
Lineup:
Sara Squadrani - Vocals
Daniele Mazza - Keyboards
Claudio Pietronik - Guitar
Fabio Balducci - Guitar
Martino Garattoni - Bass
Alessandro Carichini – Drums
Record Label: Limb Music
     


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