Saturday, May 10, 2014

Italian Melodic Metal Masters, Ancient Bards/ Album 'A New Dawn Ending'

Another entry into my series about the great heavy metal coming from Europe, and putting US commercial music to shame. This time, Italy is represented with melodic/symphonic metal band, Ancient Bards, and their album A New Dawn Ending. This is also my first review from this style of music. I'm new to it all together, but bands like Epica, Kamelot, and Nightwish are also on my radar.

They have two other albums, The Alliance of Kings, and Soulless Child, but A New Dawn Ending is the most heavy and epic of the three. Ancient Bards are one of the bigger bands in the region. In the early days, they played many of the enormous heavy metal festivals, which are some of the most amazing experiences on the planet.

Singer, Sara Squadrani has collaborated with members of such bands as Kamelot, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Dream Theater, and others. The other members could easily be invited to collaborate because the band is very good as a whole. Must be something in the water in Europe that creates so many talented musicians.

Ancient Bard's Drummer, Federico Gatti
Sara Squadrani has a haunting, beautiful, and powerful voice, and is superb on this album. It is a 71 minute epic adventure into another world. Technical progressions, huge choruses, and virtuoso performances from every member of the band. The first song, A Greater Purpose has a speed metal feel, yet a gothic and melodic overtone, and a bass solo that would make Billy Sheehan jealous. Not to mention the perfection in the keyboard performance. Every performance for that matter. It easily be a celebration song in a Lord Of The Rings movie after a decisive victory in an epic battle. The title track, A New Dawn Ending is an epic song that builds in intensity as it progresses. Across this Life is a heavy work of art. I think its my favorite on the album. The band doesn't have a drummer in this song. They have a machine gun on rapid fire. There is another speedster called In The End.

There are a couple songs that feature spoken word intros from Sara. Before The Storm has one about a coming battle, that leads into a keyboard entourage that sounds like theme music for an army marching into battle.

There is also a ballad, In My Arms that features the keyboard, along with a very haunting vocals. Great vocal harmony and all, and a big chorus that compliments this beautiful song. Plus, a guitar solo that blends virtuoso and basic styles to make the perfect accent to the song. Showdown starts off as a ballad, but quickly turns into a blistering speed metal song. 'Machine Gun Gatti' shines in this song too.

Overall, I like this a lot. Like I said, I hadn't heard much from this genre, but if all of it is as good as this band, I can't wait to get started. If you're into great progressive melodic gothic metal, then Ancient Bards is for you. Pick the album up! Although, get their first two as well. There is a continuing story that starts in a previous album, called The Black Crystal Sword Saga!

Ancient Bard's Website, Facebook page
Buy A New Dawn Ending Soulless Child and The Alliance of Kings: The Black Crystal Sword Saga part 1 

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