Released: 2011, Limb Records
My second favourite Symphonic Power Metal band from Italy (after Rhapsody of course) is back with their sophomore album SOULLESS CHILD. It’s Part II of the Crystal Sword Saga and it is another soaring, majestic triumph for the band. My review of the debut album THE ALLIANCE OF THE KINGS had a bit of a comedic tone so this review will be shorter and to the point. Let’s face it, this second album is virtually identical to the debut. That’s a good thing, I don’t want a radical change in the middle of a story. Chapter One flows nicely into Chapter Two.
The disc has another dark Felipe Franco cover art. The band is still on Limb. The album has ten songs is still about an hour long. There are still long, epic songs and comes with a nice looking package. There are a few, very few subtle differences. Sara’s command of the English language has improved slightly, she sings with a bit less of an accent. There is a new drummer; Fredrico Gatti replaced Alessandro Carichini but Gatti seems to play even more double kick drum! Ultimately the band has stayed steady, consistent and true and those are all admirable things in an era when many bands try weird things just to get attention, and often leave behind the principles of well-performed, well-written Metal songs.
SOULLESS CHILD follows the template of an Symphonic Epic Power Metal album very well and aren’t ashamed of the fact. It even says, 'Symphonic Epic Power Metal' on the inside spine/cover of the CD! The band does know their strengths and play to them well. There are lots of long songs, 9 minutes here, 10 minutes there and the closing piece clocking in at over 14 minutes! There is even one pure symphonic piece called, ‘’Dianzi Al Flagello’ with gorgeous layered male and female choral vocals all sung in Italian naturally which bleeds nicely into the title track. The story carries on with helpful notes from ‘The Storyteller’ so we can figure out what is going on. Naturally the album is top-heavy with solos, guitar solos, bass solos, keyboard solos, it a musicians wet-dream.
SOULLESS CHILD is thoroughly entertaining, sweeping in scope and scale and will certainly help take you away from the drudgery of your daily life. I predict a long successful career for Ancient Bards.