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Ancient Bards - A New Dawn Ending

Ancient Bards - CD Review
A New Dawn Ending


A New Dawn Ending




CD Info
Limb Music Italy
10 Tracks + Bonus video
71:48 minutes
English Lyrics, some Italian

This third album A New Dawn Ending of Ancient Bards is the last chapter (of the first part) of the Black Crystal Sword Saga. The sage opened with The Alliance of the Kings (2010) and continued with Soulless Child in 2011. As the name of the saga already reveals the songs related to ancient mysteries and battles inspired by Nordic stories and Japanese tales. The saga is written by keyboardist and composer Daniele Mazza. The songs were all recorded at Simone Mularoni’s Domination.

For me it was the first encounter with Ancient Bards. Because of that I will not make any references to the previous albums. This album is reviewed as a separate entity. However it made me curious about the other albums.

Already is mentioned Daniele Mazza (keys, orchestration). Other members are Laudio Pirtriniek (guitar), Martino Garattoni (bass), Federico Gatti (drums) and Sara Squadrani (vocals). Sara appeared as guest on Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Ayreon album The Theory Of Everything, together with great names like: Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder) and Marko Hietala (Nightwish).

The promo album says Symphonic Epic Metal. With that and the link to the Black Crystal Sword Saga expectations are set. And in short, the album meets precisely the objectives with pounding (high speed) drums, heavy riffs, great solos, impressive keys, excellent vocals, epic choir lines and bombastic orchestrations. Although Ancient Bards has definitely its own sound, this Italian power metal band is often matched with Rhapsody / Rhapsody of Fire. Even without that in the bio, in the music there are clearly similarities. And with Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) as guest on “The Last Resort” it gets hard to deny this reference. Even when you consistently go your own way it’s difficult not to be labelled. And overall it’s not bad being linked to a great band. Another relevant guest is the choir Toto Corde which is taking care of the epic choir lines.

The intro “Before the Storm” starts with spoken words and continues with keys that move to epic orchestrations. Not yet providing the full power. For sure that’s in the next song “A Greater Purpose”. The staccato choir opening reveals immediately the intensity of the song. Fast drums, nice riffs and the speedy vocals of Sara match very well. The vocals go to the limit but never over. The duration of the song offers opportunities for great key and guitar solos in the, little bit slower, mid-section.

“Flaming Heart” has some folk elements but it’s still full metal. In the soft parts Sara applies other vocal styles that work out well. Vocals are more dominant in this song as well as the chorus with the choir. There is again space for a nice guitar solo and to the end tempo goes up to prepare for the next song. “Across This Line” is the shortest song (excluding the intro) on the album, but still a decent duration with 4:31. This most up-tempo songs has a “long” intro with riffs, keys and drums. After the choir Sara takes the lead with again different styles and in the closing she duets with herself. In the middle part again a nice guitar solo.

All slows down with “In My Arms”. It’s a kind of ballad with piano opening and in the middle section a solo and some harmony vocals. It’s almost a poppy song, maybe the reason to make the video (bonus) with this song. “The Last Resort” opens with keys to move from the ballad to more heavy setting. The female vocals have a kind of voice-over but it sounds OK. The addition of male vocals by Fabio Lione from Rhapsody of Fire creates a different atmosphere. It’s no duet, both female and male vocals have separate moments. The chorus is a little catchy and easy, nice for a live show. The instrumental intermezzo has for this album a ”standard” solo for guitar and keys but also a surprisingly delicate piano part.

Now you can sit down with “Showdown”. This song is the first of the two long songs indicated as suites. The duration of almost 13 minutes allows a lot of elements. The variety of melodies, tempo, vocals and excellent keys and great guitar make it a great peace. I really like the bombastic elements and the staccato vocals of both Sara and the choir. For me the highlight of the album.

“In The End” is a merry song. The first part would fit on a Fantasy Festival. The second part is heavier and gives also some space to the instrumentalists. “Spiriti Libiri” has, although it is short, a lot of elements. It’s on the edge of overload. As interlude to the title song it fits.

“A New Dawn Ending” is really an epic song. It summarizes all from the album and adds even more. For some it might be too much; a song of nearly 17 minutes with all kind of themes, orchestrations, vocals (spoken, metal, grunts, operatic, choir) and instrumental solos. I prefer longer songs because they show the capabilities of the band members. And Ancient Bards offers more than enough to make it worth listening.

A New Dawn Ending is an epic album that allows Sara to show her vocal capabilities and she did a great job. The orchestration is sometimes bombastic but in balance with the song. Great varied drumming, solid supporting bass, interesting guitar solos and excellent keys. What more do you want from symphonic epic metal.

Looking forward to hear this live. That will happen at Metal Female Voices Fest.

Score: 8.5 / 10