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Ancient Bards
The Alliance Of The Kings-The Black Crystal Sword Saga Pt. 1
September 2010
Released: 2010, Limb
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Ancient Bards are leading the 2010 race for longest album title! I just knew, deep down that I would love this album without even hearing a note. Let’s run down a preliminary checklist shall we?

1. Italian? Check.

2. Symphonic? Check.

3. Power Metal? Check.

4. Limb Records? Check.

5. A Female Singer? Check.

6. Multi-part concept album? Check.

7. Guy in the band named Fabio? Check.

8. Songs written by the keyboardist? Check.

9. Epic narration with European accent? Check.

10. Bands members with swords in band photo? Check.

11. Story about Ancient Medieval kings on a noble quest? Check.

12. Dragons? Check. Elves? Check. Magic Swords? Check! It’s all here.

This band and this album is just totally awesome from start to finish. Ancient Bards embody everything that is good and right with Italian Metal. Everything is on a grand scale, the performances, the song-writing, the execution and delivery of the story…it is all world-class. Rhapsody (of Fire) has spawned many of these bands and I for one am so grateful to have more bands that aren’t afraid to play fast and go over the top all the time. Raging double-kick drums all over the place, solos all over the place, wave upon wave of virtuoso keyboards this album is swamped with music! The track ‘Only The Brave’ even has a killer bass solo! Piano, acoustic guitar, horns and much more all add to the audio variety in each song.

Newcomer Sara Squadrani leads the charge with her excellent vocal performance, never getting too high or frantic in her presentation, she sings with power range and conviction. The vocals are accented by many instances of choral vocals, big-scale voices. Her accent adds another interesting element to the lyrics. She and the backup singers even sing in Italian for the album closer ’Faithful to My Destiny’.

The story itself is well developed and easy to follow with many familiar elements, battles, quests, tragedy, epic themes of good vs. evil and so on. There many characters elves, dragons, kings to help fill out the story with conviction. Some people feel the lyrics or story isn’t as important but I feel that can help engage the listener into the song and these Ancient Bards do tell a good tale!

In this very specific, style Ancient Bards’ THE ALLIANCE OF KINGS has the potential to top Rhapsody of Fire’s FROZEN TEARS OF ANGELS for the album of the year.
Track Listing

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


Sara Squadrani-Vocals
Claudio Pietronik-Guitar
Fabio Balducci-Guitar
Martino Garattoni-Bass
Daniele Mazza-Keyboards
Alessandro Carichini-Drums

Next review: » Ancient Creation - Evolution Bound
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