Browsing articles tagged with " keepers"
Apr 22, 2012
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Ancient Bards – “Soulless Child” (2011)

Label : Limb Music

Review by Tony Cannella

Italy’s Ancient Bards issued their debut album “Alliance of the Kings” in 2010 and caused quite a positive impression in Symphonic Power Metal circles, now the band returns with their second effort “Soulless Child”. The band has drawn favorable comparisons to Rhapsody of Fire and bands of that ilk. Their lyrical subject matter stays in the realm of fantasy and musically they still command quite a presence with their fast paced, up-tempo sound. Oh yeah, there’s the singer Sara Squadrani – who in my opinion is one of the best of the new breed of femme metal vocalists – She sounds as good as she did on the first album. After the intro “Struggle for Life”, Ancient Bards absolutely tear into the 7 ½ minute “To the Master of Darkness”. With their up-tempo power metal sound intact, Sara’s vocals soar and those elements combined gets “Soulless Child” off to a dominant start. After a symphony laced intro, “Gates of Noland” picks right up where the previous song left off, with a catchy chorus and a memorable melody. Musically and lyrically “Soulless Child” picks up where “Alliance of the Kings” left off. The speed riffing and blast drums introduce the next song “Broken Illusion”. Other highlights include: “Valiant Ride”, the 9-minute “Soulless Child”, “Through My Veins” and the 14 ½ powerhouse of an epic “Hope Dies Last” which closes the album. This song has enough tempo changes to insure that it never becomes boring and I can’t think of a better way to end “Soulless Child”. I really liked their debut album and “Soulless Child” continues in the same vein. Fans of Blind Guardian, the aforementioned Rhapsody of Fire and “Keepers” era Helloween should definitely give Ancient Bards a listen and enter their epic, fantastical world of “Soulless Child”.

Rating – 86/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Struggle for Life
  2. To the Master of Darkness
  3. Gates of Noland
  4. Broken Illusion
  5. All That Is True
  6. Valiant Ride
  7. Dinanzi Al Flagello
  8. Soulless Child
  9. Through My Veins
  10. Hope Dies Last

 

Line Up

  • Sara Squadrani – Vocals
  • Claudio Pietronik – Guitar
  • Fabio Balducci – Guitar
  • Daniele Mazza – Keyboards
  • Martino Garattoni – Bass
  • Federico Gatti – Drums

 

Links

MySpace * ReverbNationFacebook * Twitter * Site

Mar 4, 2012
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Ancient Bards – “The Alliance of the Kings – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 1″ (2010)

Label : Limb Music

Review By Tony Cannella

Make no mistake about it, Italy’s Ancient Bards are a Power Metal band, plain and simple. With their ambitiously crafted “The Alliance of the Kings” the band set out to tell the story of “The Black Crystal Sword Saga” and this is only part 1. The band have drawn favorable comparisons to fellow countrymen Rhapsody, but I also hear some similarities to “Keepers…” era Helloween and maybe a little bit of Manowar with their big choir-like choruses. The thing that sets them a part, obviously are the female vocals provided by the talented Sara Squadrani as her vocals soar along with the fast paced, up-tempo metal that is being displayed by the band members. “The Alliance of the Kings” features 10-songs and 58-minutes worth of great, conceptual Power Metal the features it’s share of epic numbers, as well as symphony inspired musical parts, big choir-like choruses and intricate musicianship.The opening intro track “Prelude” sets the table for the story that will be told, it is a narrative piece that features some classical backing music and leads into “The Birth of Evil” (which the band also filmed a video for – you can check it out on their my space profile).The vocals of Sara Squadrani are energetic and fits right in their with the music. “Four Magic Elements”, “Only the Brave” and “Frozen Mind” keep the story moving right along. Other highlights include: “Lode al Padre”, the epic “Daltor the Dragonhunter” and “Farewell My Hero” before the almost 9-minute “Faithful to Destiny” brings part 1 of “The Black Crystal Sword Saga” to it’s conclusion. “The Alliance of the Kings” is a gloriously majestic Power Metal epic that I am sure will become a welcomed edition to any self respecting fan of the genre. Hopefully Ancient Bards have more stories to be told in the future. Can’t wait for part 2!

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Prelude
  2. The Birth of Evil
  3. Four Magic Elements
  4. Only the Brave
  5. Frozen Mind
  6. Nightfall in Icy Forest
  7. Lode al Padre
  8. Daltor the Dragonhunter
  9. Farewell My Hero
  10. Faithful to Destiny

 

Line Up

  • Sara Squadrani – Vocals
  • Daniele Mazza – Keyboards
  • Claudio Pietronik – Guitar
  • Fabio Balducci – Guitar
  • Martino Garattoni – Bass
  • Alessandro Carichini – Drums

 

Links

MySpace * ReverbNation * Facebook * Twitter * Site

Feb 17, 2012
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Quelonio – “Vicio y Virtud” (2009)

Label : Red Rivet Records

Review By Tony Cannella

The Spanish band Quelonio were originally founded way back in 1996. After numerous line-up changes that saw several members come-and-go, their current line-up was completed in 2008 when Teresa Broseta joined the band as their new vocalist. With the addition of their new vocalist Quelonio were allowed to put the finishing touches on their second full-length release (their first was released in 2002), titled “Vicio y Virtud”. The music that can be found on “Vicio y Virtud” is melodic power metal, with the strong female vocals of Teresa out front and some great melodic moments. Album opener “Dame Placer” simply blasts through the speakers. A great opener that showcases the great talent of this band. The first thing that you’ll notice about Quelonio is the fact that all of the lyrics are sung in Spanish. Great music is universal and Quelonio are living proof of this, as the songs are just so well crafted with a definite emphasis on heavy riffs and melody. “Ave Fenix” is another song that packed a lot of power into the almost 6-minute duration of this track. The title song has a definite classic power metal aura surrounding it and is another highlight – it kind of reminds me of “Keepers…” era Helloween. The whole thing is pretty consistent and there is really nothing that bogs down the flow of the CD, other songs that are proof of this fact are: “V”, “El Grito de la Realidad” and the epic “Cima de la Eternidad”. I really liked this CD. There is a lot of musical diversity contained on “Vicio y Virtud” and plenty of virtuosic moments as all of the musicians are very accomplished in their own way. The fact that all of the lyrics are in Spanish is in no way a hindrance to the overall enjoyment of the CD, it only enhances it and adds to the overall experience of this great CD.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Dame Placer
  2. Juego de Miradas
  3. Ave Fenix
  4. Vicio y Virtud
  5. V
  6. El Grito de la Realidad
  7. Por la Espalda
  8. Tu Fuego
  9. Buscando una Luz (Pt. II)
  10. Aqui Estoy
  11. Cima de la Eternidad
  12. Susurrando al Viento

 

Line Up 

  • Teresa Broseta – Vocals
  • Jose Ruiz – Guitars
  • Emilio Luque – Guitars
  • Toni Rosaleny – Bass
  • Juan Vazquez – Drums

 

Links 

MySpace * ReverbNation * Facebook  * Twitter  * Site

Jan 28, 2012
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Skylark – “Divine Gates Part III : The Last Gate” (2007)

Label: Underground Symphony/Soundholic Records/Renaissance Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Italy’s Skylark have quite a history. The band has been around since 1994 and If I’m not mistaken, this is actually their eighth album (not including EPs, singles and compilations). Female lead singer Kiara joined the fold at the end of 2003. Joining Kiara in the band are: Roberto Potenti (Bass and guitar), Eddy Antonini (keyboards), Fabrizio Romani (Guitar) and the drums are played by Alejandro Vasquez Cortez. They play what can be described as a blend of classically influenced progressive power metal. With their latest album “Divine Gates Part III: The Last Gate” the band continues their Divine Gates saga. It is a complex story with different characters that almost resembles a movie screenplay. The opus begins with the 30-second spoken word “Intro” featuring two of the stories’ characters, Captain Of The Warriors (played by Bob Gram) and Princess Of The Snow (played by Kiara) and than leaps into the track “The Scream”. Right away you here a little bit of a Keepers-era Helloween influence. This song also features some very nice guitar work and has an overall energetic feeling that really does its job in sweeping away the listener into the story. The next song “Soul of the Warrior” is a definite highlight. It has a pretty strong straightforward, galloping guitar riff that is apparent throughout the song. Next is “Dying Inside”. This is another strong number that keeps up the consistency of the CD. Kiara‘s vocals are really powerful and passionate here and the musicianship is top notch. The inclusion of some male vocals are also a nice touch as they go perfectly with Kiara‘s. The instrumental “Hurricane” is next. It is only about a minute and a half long, but they really get the most out of that short amount a time. This simply smokes and set up for the next track, the ballad-ish “Believe In Love”. There are good ballads and then there are bad ones. I would say this is one of the good ones – and the vocals of Kiara really shine once again. She’s got a great style and sings with a great deal of passion and energy. “All Is Wrong” kicks things up a notch. More male vocals are featured here supplied by keyboardist Eddy Antonini, playing the character The Guardian Of The 3rd Gate. “Time” and “The Heaven Church” follow and are two more strong tracks. “The Heaven Church” is another ballad that features some really cool orchestration in the beginning and then just piano and the beautiful vocals of Kiara, before getting heavy at the end – this is a very dramatic and cinematic sounding song. “A Story Not to Tell” wraps up the story part of the CD on a powerful note and does a good job in bringing closure to this epic masterpiece. This is probably the heaviest track this CD has to offer as the band really go for it. The final two songs on the CD are two different versions of the same song. We have “Mt. Fuji” an electric version and then an acoustic version. Overall, I liked this CD a lot. The CD artwork and packaging is cool and the booklet gives you a synopsis of the story and where each song fits into the concept – it certainly makes for some interesting reading and it is obvious that a lot of thought and dedication went into the story. Definitely a winner. So, if you enjoy your metal in a conceptual setting, than give Skylark a chance.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Intro
  2. The Scream
  3. Soul of the Warrior
  4. Dying Inside
  5. Hurricane
  6. Believe in Love
  7. All Is Wrong
  8. Time
  9. The Heaven Church (New Version)
  10. A Story Not to Tell
  11. Mt. Fuji (Electric Version)
  12. Mt. Fuji (Acoustic Version)

 

Line Up

  • Kiara Laetitia – Vocals & Lyrics
  • Fabrizio “Pota” Romani – Guitars
  • Dan Profitt – Guitar
  • Eddy Antonini- Keyboards, Piano
  • Roberto “Brodo” Potenti – Bass 
  • Alejandro Vasquez Cortez – Drums (Guest Musician) 

 

Links

MySpace * Facebook * Site

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