Acient Bards – A New Dawn Ending
Tekst: Frans Neelen
Ancient Bards was formed in summer 2007 by keyboard player Daniele Mazza. One year later they entered the scene with a five- track CD entitled “Trailer (of the Black Crystal Sword Saga)”.
This piece of silver was the first introduction to the complete saga “The Black Crystal Sword” which story covers three whole albums.
After “The Alliance of the Kings” (2009) and “Soulless Child” (2011) this “A New Dawn Ending” completes the saga. Musically nothing has really changed according to “Soulless Child”.
Also this record is filled with atmospheric keyboards, catchy riffs, sensitive piano pieces, delightful guitar solo’s, trigger drums, some folk influences and choirs which all combine a dark dreamy atmosphere. Epic powermetal at it’s best: musically performed very well and you can say it could be the soundtrack for a good fantasy movie. The production, songwriting and vocal performance however are firm steps ahead.
“Soulless Child” was good, but had some weaker tracks. This new CD really hasn’t. From opener “A Greater Purpose” until “A New Dawn Ending” it’s one hell of a bombastic, powerful ride. Vocalist Sara Squadrani – who also contributed on Arjen Lucassen’s latest album “The Theory of Everything” – shows great progress: she sounds much more confident, has a great reach and volume and above all.
Her poppy sounding voice has grown in strength and variety and is a welcome change according to the mostly heard female opera voices. Perfect example of that is the beautiful power ballad “In My Arms”.
Most important is that her voice fits perfectly in the Ancient Bards concept. That concept evolves the most in this third epic. It’s almost if you listen to one 72 minutes lasting song, which is divided into ten chapters only because that is normally done.
Agreed it does give way to the progress of the story and mentioning one track in your playlist is just not done. Mentioning that it would have been better to split up the title track, because it has a bit strange transition in the middle.
Okay, finally something to nag about. Nagging just a little bit more; the only thing that would have made this album better is the application of some more sparring male vocals like Fabio Leone (Rhapsody of Fire) in “The Last Resort” and the great grunting contribution of Simone Bertozzi (EmpYrios) in “A New Dawn Ending”. I would have liked some more of that. It would have made the album even more exiting.
Ancient Bards really outlives themselves and drags in every possible influence you can imagine in this final Black Crystal Sword epos. With an enormous amount of energy and passion the whole album listens away pretty easy and with a playing time of 72 minutes: that’s quite an achievement!
The band sounds very inspired and that pays of in a fantastic album. This is great stuff for those who are addicted to bands like Rhapsody of Fire and Darkmoor, but honestly Ancient Bards surpasses them easily with this epic album. “A New Dawn Ending” is a grand and varied album with a great production. It’s an epic rollercoaster which takes you through countless music images that scream to be heard in one piece.
Who likes his music bombastic and orchestral filled with power, a surplus of variation and epic storytelling tales, this Ancient Bards is highly recommended. The beautiful artwork by Felipe Machado Franco is also worth mentioning. Certainly a band to check out. Can’t wait to see their show on Metal Female Voices Fest.
1. Before the Storm
2. A Greater Purpose
3. Flaming Heart
4. Across This Life
5. In My Arms
6. The Last Resort
8. In the End
9. Spiriti Liberi
10. A New Dawn Ending