Derdian - New Era Pt. 3 - The Apocalypse
Magna Carta
Symphonic / Neoclassical Power Metal
13 songs (1:04:18)
Release year: 2010
Magna Carta
Reviewed by Kyle
Album of the month

There’s a very good chance that most of you reading this haven’t heard of Italian power metal band Derdian until now, and well, that’s a shame. Though most would probably shrug off the prospect of yet another power metal group from the land of the famous (or perhaps infamous depending on who you are) Rhapsody of Fire, I decided to give this symphonic six-piece a shot last year after coming across a stray youtube video, and I can assure you it’s a decision I do not regret. Yes, several comparisons can be made to RoF with all the Luca Turilli-inspired guitar work and conceptual fantasy lyrics afoot, but Derdian certainly has a sound all their own thanks to an instantly memorable and recognizable neoclassical style. And with New Era Pt. 3 – The Apocalypse, the last in a trilogy of albums, Derdian seems to be ready to shed a good part of the RoF-isms that have tied them to this series as they prepare to leave it behind and start on a new journey with their next record.

New Era Pt. 3 isn’t a huge departure from the sound of Pt. 2 (and certainly not as large of a progression over Pt. 2 as that album was over the mediocre Pt. 1), but it’s a noticeable shift all the same. Though Derdian’s signature neoclassical and symphonic sound is still entirely present, Pt. 3 leans more toward a traditional melodic power metal style; while Pt. 2 would often tease you with an uplifting melody before ending the line with a minor note or two (and this is still done occasionally here), some tracks here, like Her Spirit Will Fly Again or Revolt, could be considered flower metal with their optimistic choruses. The production reflects this style; on New Era Pt. 2 the production was very thick, with an amazing drum sound and a thundering low end, but its successor opts for a greater focus on the high end guitar melodies and the synthesized orchestrations. It’s not a bad shift, and it’s suitable for Derdian’s new, lighter sound, but the drums definitely do need to be a bit louder in the mix. Also, this record is much faster overall than any of the band’s past albums, which isn’t surprising, considering that Derdian actually started off as a thrash metal band.

Pt. 2, as good of an album as it was, was a fairly inconsistent record; the opening and closing tracks are phenomenal, and there’s a couple of really good tracks in the middle, but about half of it is easy to write off as filler, leaving you with about an EP’s worth of great music. This isn’t the case with Pt. 3 - Every single song here is nothing short of excellent, and not once will this album fail to entertain you if this is your kind of power metal. Though most songs share a similar commonality of symphonic, neoclassical melodies, every single one brings something different to the table, especially the two ballads. The first of these is Black Rose, a mid-paced song that has me recalling Edguy songs like King of Fools, but with a more romantic twist. The next ballad, Forevermore, on the other hand, is a much different beast altogether. It begins with a very slow and bluesy guitar riff; it’s so unlike Derdian that I actually had to check my CD player the first time I heard it to make sure that it wasn’t on shuffle. Add to the song a fantastic female vocalist (and normally I can’t stand female vocals in power metal, since they’re typically gimmicky) and an excellent, powerful chorus, and you have a song that sounds like it was written for the end credits of some blockbuster fantasy movie.

As consistent and enjoyable as Pt. 3 is, I do have to nitpick at a few lingering annoyances. Though I do admittedly love this album, it seems to play things a bit safe; while all the songs are great, there’s none that really stick out as the best track(s) on the album – there’s no aggressive barn burners here like New Era and War of the Gods (the former of which being my favorite Derdian song to date) were for Pt. 2. Also, vocalist Joe Cagianelli has failed to improve yet again, sounding essentially the same as he did on New Era Pt. 1; I don’t mind his voice at all, and it’s a good fit for Derdian, but he lacks a consistent vibrato and a certain “Edge” that would make him a great singer. Finally, New Era Pt. 3 is a bit too “Light” sounding considering the album’s subject matter about a cursed king and the end of the world; I’m glad that this is the last album in the Derdian trilogy, as the band seems eager to move on towards the next stage of their career, and for that I applaud them for looking forward, even if they do seem to be jumping the gun a bit.

All-in-all, New Era Pt. 3 – The Apocalypse is a must own album for fans of melodic or symphonic power metal; the Derdian boys are truly talented musicians that never fail to entertain, and if you have yet to look into them, I can almost assure you you’ll be impressed and surprised at their original, neoclassical style. And even though this is the third part in a series, The Apocalypse is the perfect place to start with Derdian. Forget Rhapsody of Fire - a New Era has begun!

Killing Songs :
Kyle quoted 90 / 100
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