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Review: Ancient Bards - A New Dawn Ending
Ancient Bards
A New Dawn Ending

Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2014
Duration: 71:48
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: September 25, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
A New Dawn Ending

Rated 4.14/5 (82.86%) (7 Votes)

Italy's Ancient Bards exploded on the Symphonic Metal scene with 2010's The Alliance of the Kings, one of the few albums in my 800+ review career to earn a 5/5 score. They followed that with Soulless Child in 2011, an album that paled in comparison to its predecessor. The songwriting was just not at the same level and we got a uniformly speedy and, as a result, monotonous album. Three years have passed, the band apparently took the criticisms leveled at Soulless Child to heart and, with the extra time, has come up with a winner in 2014's A New Dawn Ending.

The saga of the black crystal sword continues on A New Dawn Ending and familiar characters like Daltor and Sandor are again featured waging battle over the legendarily powerful relic. Musically, the band has realized that unrelenting speed, while good for one song here and there, does not make for an engaging album. Thus they have varied tempos quite a bit on A New Dawn Ending, with many songs residing in the middle ground. In fact, there aren't really any tracks that rely solely on double-kicks and this makes the speedy parts of songs like "Showdown" and "Across This Life" that much more exciting. There's a sense of anticipation and then payoff when they come around. For this one improvement in songwriting alone, A New Dawn Ending is a leap forward. Many of the songs feature dynamic changes in tempo and mood, especially epic-length songs such as the aforementioned "Showdown" and "A New Dawn Ending." The album does exactly what a good Symphonic Metal album is supposed to do; it tells a story of fantasy, swords and dragons with music to put the listener in the appropriate time and place. And it does it almost as well as Alliance of the Kings. If there is a downside, it would be the length of the album. At over 70 minutes, it takes a commitment of time that is substantial. Considering the saga was originally announced as a trilogy of albums but A New Dawn Ending closes with a shocking turn of events (which I won't spoil for you), it seems like there may be more of the story to tell and some of the material from this album could have been carried over to a future release. As I am fond of saying; it is a small nit to pick when the overall product is of such high quality.

A New Dawn Ending is a return to form for one of the better Symphonic Metal bands currently plying the waves of the fantasy storytelling ocean. Ancient Bards are back.

Other related information on the site
Review: Origine - The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Soulless Child (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Alliance of the Kings (reviewed by MetalMike)
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