The Italian Bombastic/Symphonic Power Metal band ANCIENT BARDS really go to town on their fourth album “Origine.” On its predecessor, “A New Dawn Ending,” released in 2014, there were still audible parallels tp Rhapsody, resp. Rhapsody Of Fire but even back then the lads and lass knew how to cleverly limit such similarities. The quartet around the strongly-voiced front lady Sara Squadrani always went its own way. The band might perhaps be polarising itself with its style, but this is simply a result of the members being consistent in implementing their musical visions and preferences. Their symphonic/epic Metal is cleanly thought through, exceedingly well played and the listener notices ANCIENT BARDS’ enjoyment and conviction of what they do. Nordic legends and Japanese tales are the band’s subjects which are encountered on all of their albums and of course also on “Origine.” Fans of this style will certainly get their money’s worth.
Keyboarder Daniele Mazza founded the band in the summer of 2006, soon gaining an excellent reputation on the local scene, and their 5-track demo CD “Trailer (Of The Black Crystal Sword Saga)” also received international recognition.
The exuberant reviews in the international press gave ANCIENT BARDS the encouragement to continue.
Thematically they present a mixture of Nordic legends and old Japanese tales from the Final Fantasy series. Intensifying their ideas, both musically and in their subject matter, they played live at numerous concerts and festivals in the next two years, sharing the stage with acts such as Turisas, White Skull, Almah and Domine. Their self-confidence boosted by these shows they began the recordings of their debut album in summer 2009. Several guests, including the epic choir Toto Corde, were involved in the recordings. “The Alliance Of The Kings” was released by LIMB MUSIC in March 2010 and by Spiritual Beast in Japan and other Asian countries.
Euphoric reactions to the album in the metal press described it as an album highlight of 2010. It was an album that excited everyone who enjoyed epic-melodic, classic-bombastic arrangements and who were looking for a sound which could fill the gap between Nightwish, Rhapsody, Epica and Delain.
Shows in Italy with bands such as Manegarm, Heidevolk, Korpiklaani, Eluveitie, etc… also further increased their popularity. In the meantime they began work on their second album but needed to first sort out a problem with the lineup.
Drummer Alessandro Carichini left the band for private reasons but was soon replaced by Federico Gatti. The new album in the new lineup made good progress and the work was given the title “Soulless Child.” In 2011 the last polish was given to the album, produced by Simone Mularoni in San Marino, on which the band continued the thread of the “Black Crystal Sword Saga” concept. The reactions to this, their second album, were overwhelming. In the following year they released a live video clip of “Through My Veins” which had been filmed at the Gods of Folk Festival.
The quality of vocalist Sara’s ability had, by now, reached Holland and Arjen Anthony Lucassen invited her to participate on his new album, “The Theory Of Everything” (released in November 2013), alongside a star-studded guestlist including Marko Hietala (Nightwish), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), John Wetton (Asia, King Crimson) and Keith Emerson (ELP).
In the same year they sat down to write and compose songs for their third album, “A New Dawn Ending,” for which Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire) accepted an invitation to act as guest singer for part of the vocals on the track “The Last Resort.” However, just before the album was nearing completion, guitarist Fabio Balducci left for band for private reasons. The subject matter had not changed, but from a musical standpoint the album had received a veneer of aggression and a greater epic spectrum. Early in 2014 this album too was released by LIMB MUSIC and received very strong and positive reviews. The over seventy minutes of playing time this symphonic, epic metal work established ANCIENT BARDS once and for all in the sphere of bombastic metal.
The release of the album was just the calm before the storm. 2015 saw the band playing at important festivals such as Wacken, Made of Metal, Female Voice Metal Festival, etc. and it was also Special Guest for Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. 2016 was the year that ANCIENT BARDS set out on their “Ten Bardic Years Tour,” a headliner tour to celebrate the ten years since the band was formed, which took them across Europe and even over to Japan. All of the bands classic tracks were played in exclusive, very long shows. Early in 2018 the band began a very successful crowdfunding campaign, in order to produce their next album. This fourth album, entitled “Origine,” carries on down the exciting path of the Black Crystal Sword saga.
With “Origine,” ANCIENT BARDS once again presents an album which not only shows the trademarks of the band, but one which has all the feelings of a cinema soundtrack. Once again they have taken a step forward with their epic influences, strengthened the orchestral parts and combined it with racing guitars to a distinctive mixture. “Titanism” soars ahead with amazing speed and a pithy melody line. Sara’s voice tops off this track with all her vocal diversity. “Fantasy’s Wings” is dramatic and heavy and demonstrates a wide epic spectrum . The final track of the album, “The Great Divine” shows a new sound in the Italians’ repertoire. With its hard growls and almost racing parts as well as heavy grooving inserts, the band has come up with an extremely varied track. The ballad-like “Light” is a sweet, catchy number of radio-play quality, but without being deliberately made to sound as such. What you hear is the band being itself.
“Origine” is an outstanding statement of epic-symphonic bombastic music, perfectly balanced between concentrated heavyness and great melodies.
Read our review here.