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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ancient Bards - Soulless Child review

Year : 2011
Genre : Symphonic Power Metal, Epic Metal
Label : Limb Music / SpiritualBeast / Universal
Origin : Italy
Rating : 8.8 / 10

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Italian symphonic power/epic metal squadron Ancient Bards brings with itself an ornamented tome of rather healthy size sealed by a platinum guitar token and a platinum sword token, and also filled with stories even Edgar Alan Poe would show honest interest in, - no, Mr. Poe did not oblige, neither did The Wall. If YOU would, then you are about to be late with that already, because in a blink of an eye Ancient Bards slip out of the shadow to pop the cover up without remorse or hesitation, only, this time, the "muhaha" remains absent, and its mere absence is free to emerge as the mere fun for a change. This, no doubt, is a dainty, valiant symphonic metal statement from top to bottom, and also one that remains able to communicate itself along the dark fairy tale register without turning into the kind of Camembert that is about to be ready to move in space at its own free will. That's where cheese begins, right?

The release has full blown-, but much welcomed fixations it simply can not live without. The name of the primer game herein is up-tempo power metal of complex, gritty, yet playful character, one which proudly lacks all capacity and all the tools to hide what it really wants to do at heart without any regard to any other considerations whatsoever. The favorite patterns of the band are not hesitant to address their defining traits in full efficiency in a short amount of time, and the one simple thing that makes all this work superbly, is that the band members are aware of a flamboyant - and also soberly limited - variety of those. You will get accustomed to this album in 5 minutes, or not in five eternities. Because, in that case, you probably will remain a grandmaster-douché who gets bitter sex exclusively from dwarfs wearing pig masks. Ladies and gents, let's talk about the music.

As hinted, Ancient Bards' Soulless Child is not at all occupied with coating its primer, true intents into alienated variation. The tempo, most often - in fact, almost exclusively - is furious and fast enough to stick a smile on a pneumatic driller, the harmonies are dainty and brisk, and the whole build is complimented by a symphonic fabric in the background. Aggression is not too important here, in fact, not at all. Melody - rampant-unalloyed is more important, as you will see. The patterns I have been telling you about are expressing themselves in the rhythm section, primarily, as the LP exhibits a very straightforward, efficient methodology : you have the harmonic build with a momentary drum pattern to it, - the drummer has about four favorite drum patterns, and ONE particular carpet bomber pattern he is the Grateful Slave of and will make YOU one, too - and you have the female - aaaaaaaa - lead singing on top, that which finds absolutely pleasant directions to achieve the sense of dark tone fairy tale register which the record really is all about. One especially nice trait of this declaration is its reoccurring readiness to go rabid and exigent on the instrumental builds with crisp keyboard and guitar solo work.

As for the symphonic quality, that is not an irrelevant component of the fabric at all. It brings to mind an immediate reminiscence to fellow Italian group Fleshgod Apocalypse, - thunderous roar IN - thunderous roar OUT - only, this time, the music is more tame at heart and sports Gazelle anatomy instead of the composure of a juggernaut-grade reality eradicator the death metal specialists reveal on their latest contribution.

Regardless of a relative proneness of virtually repeating itself, - says the dudette with the letters - the release shows elegant interest to stay away from the safety shortcuts the genre offers for the antitalent at discount prices. As result of this TRULY commanding determination, the power metalish communist marching song vibe now gets traded for a much more intriguing vibe, that which is reminiscent of the ethos of dramatic musical theater, - oxymoron? - even opera, giving you a mood that invites to mind and soul such concepts as the musical atmosphere of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana and the kind of "dark" fantasy that is out for no blood, instead it is out to seek and point out "mere" secretive significance in the mighty fabric of the shared world experience.

Lead singer Sara Squadrani delivers a performance that is very easy to decide you like, and here is why : Miss Squadrani is not trying to be the immediate oh!, so most relevant Presence in a sonic fabric she is part of, she instead reigns in the state of "just" being there, - which, in a woman's case, is just sufficient - provoking a valiant fight with the sonic mass, which, in a while bows and bends to her will. Her tools are a great "as hard as I can!" attitude and splendid set of lungs and no regard whatsoever of what you think of her singing. In other words, Sara Squadrani is Your Metal Goddess Who Happens to Be There and Is Not Afraid to Prove That. And, usually the singers who fail to give a damn of what others think of their singing, are the ones THOSE others will enjoy, too. Squadrani's voice packs the raw-, but tender she-wolf a female metal singer virtually is worthless without, and her REAL, non-effected track sits in a very well researched place in the mix. I especially like the way she delivers her loooong long extremes wherein a song demands so. All in all, I like Sara Squadrani's singing and I'm pretty sure that you like it, too.

All in all, Ancient Bards' Soulless Child is a robust symphonic power metal delivery that brings to you a whole lot to soak your grateful ears into, and, courtesy of its homogeneous character, this without doubt is a record that simply weighs in as intense, flamboyant fun to listen to.

Rating : 8.8 / 10

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