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Partying like its 1999. Part I - 83%

Andromeda_Unchained, November 29th, 2011

Remember the days when Rhapsody were fresh, and Dark Moor still had Elisa, fuck, remember a time before Italy's power metal scene was crowded? Ancient Bards presents us with their debut release The Alliance of the Kings, which also happens to double as a time machine. So lets travel back to 1999 (Quick let me grab my frilled shirt and emerald sword).

Ancient Bards play Italian power metal like bands such as Kaledon merely wish they could. This is as over the top and as pompous as it comes. You could write a check list for everything you expect from an Italian power metal album and I'm damn sure Ancient Bards could tick every single box for you. I guess it would probably look a little something like this;

Double kicked drums: check
High fantasy lyrics and themes: check
Open string guitar lines: check
Keyboard input orchestras: check
Choirs: check
Guitar/ keyboard duals: check
Eight minute plus epics: check
Folky jive sections: check
Yngwie Malmsteen lead guitars: check
Arpeggios: check
Bass arpeggios: check
Interludes: check
Token ballad: check

I'm pretty sure that from that list you will have already made a clear decision whether The Alliance of the Kings is for you. I won't keep you much longer but before closing there are a few things I need mention, just you know, so you don't get the wrong idea.

Firstly, this is played with a lot of passion and fervor, which in turn gives Ancient Bards that extra bit of clout which, your average Rhapsody clone band probably couldn't give. Secondly, Sara Squadrani is a great singer and asset, she makes me think Anette Olzon, only the better version. Finally, Daltor the Dragonhunter makes this a mandatory listen for any power metal fan, and is one of the finest power metal tracks I've heard in years.

To close, while I think Ancient Bards still have a ways to go before they reach Pathfinder levels of glorious power metal worship, they have a fun, energetic debut that should be high for any priority power metal fan (especially the dungeons and dragons Rhapsody of Fire types).