Ancient Bards - A New Dawn Ending

Ancient Bards - A New Dawn Ending
Ancient Bards
A New Dawn Ending
Limb Music
Ancient Bards are an Italian band that performs a rather epic and illustrious power metal with lush melodies and rich arrangements, that with this new album concludes a trilogy and has made some impression on its own by the sheer quality of their work but might have also been given a little boost when their singer Sara Squadrani was handpicked by Arjen Lucassen to partake on his latest album.
Ancient Bards new album “A New Dawn Ending”, as mentioned contains the third and final chapter to the “first part” of the “Black Crystal Sword Saga”, which began with “The Alliance of the Kings” in 2010 and continued with “Soulless Child” in 2011. Oh dear... this reminds me of these endless multipart sagas that Rhapsody would have, that would never “end” and actually became pretty boring by album number four or five, when the song writing took a bit of a steep dive.
Speaking of which, Ancient Bards music is quite comparable with such, bands as Rhapsody (Of Fire), Epica, Delain and Edenbridge and I would guess a lesser operatic Nightwish (Tarja’s era). The music is rich in melody and epic orchestrations and full of bombastic elements and impressive arrangements and the production aids it. Sara has a sweet and capable voice, that’s not a million miles away from Lacuna Coil’s Christina, in the chromatic aspect, but I would dare say, she displays a more full range of singing. That’s not to dismiss Scabbia’s ability, but just to say that she’s gotten a bit confined in what she does in her main band. (What she did in the Ayreon album that she also sung “as the Mother” was some of the best singing in a long long time). Actually both singers, best singing... imho.
With slightly over 70 minutes, the album might be a little too much, you don’t necessarily have to fill every last minute of it with music, just because you can… c’mon. On the other hand, it’s not bad, it just at points tends to become a little “indulgent” but I dunno if that’s the conceptual nature or the sheer length of it. Songs tend to be mostly mid-tempo but there are the occasional bursts of energy in songs like the opening “A Greater Purpose” which is typically a fast, traversing piece with lots of changes in rhythm, big choirs and everything but the kitchen sink and impresses quite a bit. “Across This Life” or “In This Life” that again makes extensive choral use. The cover, which was designed by Felipe Machado Franco (Blind Guardian, Rhapsody) is pretty nice too and fits well with the rest of the ones they had on the previous “chapters”.
Overall for those who like their metal powerful and symphonic and with a woman’s touch, not a bad choice, by any stretch. A little “too” long winded, although that’s not necessarily a quibble.