Ancient Bards - The Alliance Of The Kings
Limb Music Products
Symphonic Power Metal
10 songs (58:09)
Release year: 2010
Limb Music Products
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

Although it’s not my usual stomping ground, regular readers will be aware that I do occasionally enjoy trips into the flowery world of Power Metal, and was pleasantly surprised when I more or less tripped over Ancient Bards online. The decision to review this kind of music always comes with a little soul-searching, as the last thing I want is to annoy any readers with my lack of knowledge of the genre. Yet at the time of writing, there were no Power Metal reviews ready for the weekly upload, so rather than face the wrath of our readers I took on both risk and review. I have reviewed Power Metal before, as some will know, yet I know very little about the symphonically-enhanced subgenre atop which sits Rhapsody Of Fire like , erm, like a dwarven king atop his throne of gold! Ancient Bards are most definitely disciples of their countrymen, their music about as over-the-top and grandiose as Power Metal can get without falling into sillyville. Yet they’re much more than a tribute act.

To mark them out from the crowd, the Italian six-piece boast a female vocalist who is more than happy to provide hammy spoken word narration (only in the Prelude, thankfully). Impressively, however, the rest of the band are more than capable of cranking out the Speed Metal riffs when necessary, and the first track proper The Birth Of Evil simply roars out of the gate atop a tidal wave of melodic guitars. The big, Blind Guardian-esque epic multitracked chorus comes very soon in the track, ensuring that even the most cynical of listeners is headbanging along – I was pleasantly surprised at how catchy and enjoyable it was. Rarely is talented vocalist Sara Squadriana allowed to dominate proceedings, guitarists Claudio and Fabio always at the ready with Dragonforce-esque soloing and pounding riffage.

Yes, there is a significant technical angle to the guitarists’ input which is similar to the equally hated and loved British band. Although even bassist Martino gets his noodly moments in the sun, Ancient Bards avoid falling into Dragonforce’s trap by making sure that the songwriting is consistently brilliant. Four Magic Elements follows almost seamlessly, keyboardist Daniele providing a solid backing to the rest of the band, especially in the moment where he provides a fantastic classical interlude, and the riff-heavy Only The Brave starts like Megadeth being accompanied by a filmscore orchestra. The ballad-styled Lode Al Padre shows off Sara’s voice well, and eight-minute epics Daltor The Dragonhunter and Farewell To Destiny are excellent songs with plenty of enjoyable solos and vocal flourishes. As a whole, the album is more than solid, rarely feeling dull or repetitive, and never losing that epic thread with which the whole story is told.

So, without a doubt you can consider me impressed, not least by the fact that the band didn’t feel obliged to stick their singer on the cover in a low-fronted dress. The music video on their MySpace (link below) astonishingly features more shots of musicians’ nimble fingers than of ladyflesh, which must be a first for a female-fronted metal band! It seems that the music is the focus of their attention, and when the music is as good as this, that’s hard to argue with. Recommended for Power Metal fans of all shapes and sizes – debut albums are rarely this good.

Killing Songs :
The Birth Of Evil, Four Magic Elements, Only The Brave, Farewell To Destiny
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Ancient Bards that we have reviewed:
Ancient Bards - Soulless Child reviewed by Andy and quoted 89 / 100
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