Metal To Infinity

5 men and a girl surprised the Italian scene in 2008 with a demo called ‘Trailer Of The Black Crystal Sword Saga’. Soon after, we speak 2010, the debut album was released as “The Alliance Of The Kings”. I was into that album, because their approach on bombastic metal with a lot of melody, epic influences and groove was more than a sound-alike of Rhapsody, Edenbridge and a little Dark Moor. I must confess that I was eagerly waiting on new material of these Italians, and at the end of 2011 we get what we were waiting for. “Soulless Child” is the second album of Ancient Bards, and while the line up remained the same, the musical progress increased a lot. This is perhaps the most important thing on “Soulless Child”! While some pretended that Ancient Bards contained too much Rhapsody influences, we can now conclude that the sextet created an own style, as far as this is still possible.   

Sara Squadrani is taking care of the female lead vocals, and if you can endure her vocal range, you will like this new album a lot! Perhaps you like a throat with more balls, than I suggest to check out their first official video (‘To The Master Of Darkness’) on the internet and find out for yourself if you can dig it or not. The music of Ancient Bards has it all: bombastic and furious parts, double bass attacks, sophisticated and opulent keyboards and last but not least a lot of heavy riffing, breaks and twists. This is just a logical continuation of their debut album. This time everything is more and better: arrangements, sound, production, duration of the songs, and an indulging in excesses. Limb Records has in a winner in its team, and if the band will be able to bring their music on a stage like it sounds on this disc, the future will look bright for both band and label!  

It’s hard to tell what songs you need to check out, as the duration of the highlights is a pretty challenge. The single (‘To The Master Of Darkness’) takes +7 minutes, the calm and peaceful song ‘All That Is True’ takes almost 10 minutes, and the highlight (Hope Dies Last), has a duration of almost 15 minutes. In between these long tracks, we get a lot of Power Metal with Epic influences, and these tracks take about 5 to 7 minutes.  

‘Soulless Child’ is a must have for those that are into female vocals, a lot of bombastic atmosphere and great arrangements of the rhythm section. Every member of Ancient Bards adds a personal twist to the structure of the song and only the better bands are able to obtain this! If the band will continue this progress on future albums, I’m determined that they will become huge, worldwide! 

My rating: 89 / 100 (Review by Patrick De Sloover)