Power Metal • Italy — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of
Ancient Bards is a symphonic power metal band from Italy that was formed in 2007. After a 2008 demo they released their debut album, The Alliance of the Kings, in 2010. Their second album, Soulless Child, followed in 2011. The band's albums form a conceptual arc, known as the Black Crystal Sword Saga, written by keyboardist and composer Daniele Mazza.

- biography by adg211288, updated November 2011.
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


See all ANCIENT BARDS videos


More places to buy metal & ANCIENT BARDS music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


ANCIENT BARDS albums / top albums

ANCIENT BARDS The Alliance of the Kings album cover 4.22 | 9 ratings
The Alliance of the Kings
Power Metal 2010
ANCIENT BARDS Soulless Child album cover 4.00 | 10 ratings
Soulless Child
Power Metal 2011
ANCIENT BARDS A New Dawn Ending album cover 3.91 | 7 ratings
A New Dawn Ending
Power Metal 2014
ANCIENT BARDS Originne - The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 album cover 4.75 | 4 ratings
Originne - The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2
Power Metal 2019


ANCIENT BARDS Prelude to Awakening album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Prelude to Awakening
Power Metal 2012

ANCIENT BARDS live albums

ANCIENT BARDS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ANCIENT BARDS Trailer of the Black Crystal Sword Saga album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Trailer of the Black Crystal Sword Saga
Power Metal 2008

ANCIENT BARDS re-issues & compilations

ANCIENT BARDS singles (0)

ANCIENT BARDS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


ANCIENT BARDS Originne - The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
I don’t know what the reason is for it, but it seems like Italian metal bands have some kind of special knack for writing amazing melodies. Some of my favorite albums over the past few years have come from the likes of Rhapsody of Fire, Elvenking, Temperance and Derdian, with all those bands standing out for their unbelievable ability to write catchy choruses with insane melodies pretty much at will. One other band, I’ve been following for a long time that has a similar ability is Ancient Bards, who instantly impressed me with their debut The Alliance of the Kings, which marked the beginning of their ongoing concept, The Black Crystal Sword Saga. It was a very fun album, filled with speedy, energetic power metal with some symphonic elements, which were greatly enhanced on the next album, Soulless Child, which saw the band push their sound much further and become really epic, in the same vein as later Rhapsody albums, while still retaining the fun aspects of their debut, to help make it a truly special album.

Sadly, I was a bit let down by their next release, A New Dawn Ending, which both failed in delivering the kind of climax its name would suggest, while also going perhaps a bit too far with more ambitious songwriting, resulting in the band’s first album that felt a bit uneven, with some great moments and some forgettable moments. I was hoping the band would rebound with their next release, and so when Origine – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 was announced, I was ready to give the band another shot, with hopes that they could recapture their former glory. Now that Origine is here, it has not only won back my fandom for the band, it has proven itself to be their best work to date, bringing back a lot of the fun, catchiness and huge melodies of their first two albums, while still being a bit bolder at times, and certainly being one of their most varied releases.

Newcomers to the band can expect something fairly similar to Rhapsody, except with the warm but powerful voice of Sara Squadrani in the lead role, as opposed to a male vocalist. Musically, the band plays the same kind of speedy, epic and very melodic symphonic power metal, though they push quite a bit further with the symphonic elements than the aforementioned band has done recently, especially with the ever-present choir vocals, which are extremely epic and help give a cinematic feel, along with the orchestral elements. However, while their previous release favored longer tracks and more progressive arrangements which sometimes pushed the power metal elements into the background, Origine is back to being a more straightforward release, with most of the tracks being very upbeat and heavy, while still having varied songwriting and a ton of surprises. Like their counterparts, they’ve managed to have perfect sound production, with the symphonic elements, choirs, lead vocals, and the metal instruments all being given a ton of space and everything sounds powerful and crystal clear, which is obviously required for an album with so much going on.

The biggest area that disappointed me on A New Dawn Ending was the songwriting, as the performances were all amazing across the board, as usual, but the actual songs were uncharacteristically hit and miss. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here, as every song on this album is absolutely perfect from start to finish. The album certainly gets off to a strong start, with even the opening narrative track having a memorable first line, and the music and narration go together nicely. However, the first true song is lead single “Impious Dystopia”, which is the kind of fast paced, hard hitting track the band excels at. It moves at a frantic pace during the verses, forcing Sara to sing while barely having a chance to catch her breath, but she sounds as smooth, melodic and powerful as always. During the first verse, fans are treated to some pretty cool growls from new guitarist Simone Bertozzi, who has brought some new elements to the band, both with his growls as well as adding some slightly heavier guitar work than normal, with the first example of this coming during a section after the first chorus, where it almost sounds like a metalcore breakdown, except in a much more epic way that somehow suits the band perfectly fine. These little bursts of inspiration took time for me to get used to, but over time I’ve come to love them, and I find they help add a new element to what would already be an amazing album. Both Simone and longtime guitarist Claudio Pietronik do an excellent job throughout the album, striking the right balance between fresh and familiar. The track also has an excellent solo section, with some amazing melodic guitar work, though the highlight of the track is Sara’s vocals, with the main chorus being amazing, very catchy and extremely melodic, and then the final run through is absolutely awe-inspiring, with some very powerful and emotional vocals, that help turn an already amazing song into one of the band’s absolute best to date.

Following up such a strong opening is tough, but second single “Fantasy’s Wings” does a great job of it. This track is a bit more relaxed, and it has a slight folk influence to some of the melodies, making great use of the orchestral elements throughout. It moves at a nice pace, without ever fully speeding up, and it does a nice job alternating between soft and louder sections, though it never gets particularly heavy. It’s another track which showcases Sara’s amazing vocals, which are paired up with some cool backing growls during the chorus. It has an excellent instrumental section, with the orchestral elements taking over for a while, before giving way to a big, epic solo, but the highlight is again the final chorus, with the choir vocals starting things off in an epic way, before Sara comes in and kills it once again. In a somewhat similar vein is “Aureum Legacy”, a track which starts off softly, before the orchestral elements take over for a while, and then it settles down into near ballad territory, with some soft, but excellent vocals during the verses. It’s another track which alternates nicely between soft and heavy passages, and it has yet another amazing chorus, with some very emotional, yet powerful vocals, which of course only gets better during the final run once again. The song speeds up near the end, with an epic instrumental section, followed by choirs and then the track finally closes with a speedier, even more, epic final run through the chorus, which is absolutely stunning.

One thing Ancient Bards have excelled at from day one is their ballads, with tracks such as” “Lode al Padre” and “All That is True” being among my favorites by the band, as well as being among the best ballads I’ve ever heard on any kind of metal album. This time around, they’ve offered up “Light”, the third single for the album. It’s a more simple track compared to some of their other ballads, but it’s still absolutely beautiful, with some nice symphonic arrangements and some great piano melodies from keyboardist and main songwriter Daniele Mazza, giving way for Sara’s ever-enchanting voice to steal the show. As always, she sings very softly and beautifully during the verses, before opening up in a big way during the chorus, and then in the second half of the track comes a very emotional and beautiful guitar solo, followed by some very powerful vocals to close out the track.

After a couple of soft and relatively slower tracks, the band brings the energy level back up to the max on “Oscurità”, It starts out quietly again, with some epic symphonic arrangements accompanying Sara’s vocals, but then things get dialed up to the max in a hurry, with the full band kicking in, and the tempo quickly picks up. Once the songs get going, it’s the kind of speedy power metal track the band has been great at since their debut, except with a slightly harder edge to it, and the second half has some crazy instrumental work from both guitarists, as well as some growls thrown in here and there, to help make it more epic. It feels like a perfect blend between old and new, overall. Two tracks later is a cinematic interlude track, “The Hollow”, which is dominated by epic symphonic arrangements and choirs and is a pretty cool track, which comes in between the two tracks on this album that feel the most like the band’s debut. First is “Titanism”, a very speedy track where the main melody sounds very similar to some of the band’s past work, while even the verses and chorus feel familiar, while still being fresh enough to work on their own. It’s an extremely fun and catchy track, of the kind the band has always excelled at. On the other side of the interlude is “Home of the Rejects”, which is similar in tone, though it sounds a bit more fresh, due to some slightly heavier guitar work. Both tracks are excellent, though, and both have amazing choruses and instrumental work, as always.

Closing out the album is the near 15-minute epic “The Great Divide”. I’ll admit I was nervous going into it the first time, because while the band had been pretty good at longer tracks in the past, I found the two longest songs on A New Dawn Ending to be a bit disjointed and somewhat ruined by excessive narration, but thankfully this time around, they managed to put together their best epic length track yet, and one which has several huge moments throughout, and has several tempo changes and surprises, including some guitar work early on that sounds very similar to DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni’s style, a huge, cinematic chorus with a great use of choirs, an epic growled section, a really epic cinematic interlude, and of course a ton of great instrumental work throughout. However, the most important is, the song stays coherent throughout, managing to pack in a ton of big moments without ever losing focus, or getting bogged down by anything excessive. It effectively ends up feeling like a track that actually earns its epic length, as opposed to being either a normal track stretched way past its limits, or a mish-mash of ideas haphazardly thrown together. Similar to the recent Rhapsody album, the only bit of narration on this track comes right at the very end, and while it is hilariously cheesy, it at least isn’t distracting, due to its placement at the end, and so it doesn’t take away from what is easily one of the band’s best songs to date.

After A New Dawn Ending, I was a bit worried about the future of Ancient Bards, and whether or not they would potentially drift further away, trying so hard to outdo themselves that they lost the fun and magic of their first two releases. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened at all, as instead the band has managed to strike the perfect balance between bringing back a lot of the fun, energetic power metal and huge melodies of their first two releases, while still throwing in some surprises, as well as producing easily their best epic length track to date. Fans of the band are sure to love Origine, while symphonic power metal fans, in general, are highly recommended to check this release out, as it manages to slightly edge out Soulless Child to be their very best release to date. In a time where Ancient Bards and Rhapsody of Fire, two bands with similar sounds, have released two albums so close to each other, one may wonder who the winner is. The answer for that one is very easy: All fans of symphonic power metal, in general, are the winners, as getting to hear such masterful albums of this type so close together is the kind of huge treat that doesn’t come along very often. Hopefully, the band continues to do what they do best on future releases, so all remaining installments of The Black Crystal Sword Saga can be as epic as this one is!

originally written for


Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
A New Dawn Ending (2014) is the third full-length album by Italian symphonic power metal act Ancient Bards. It is also the third part of their series of conceptual albums known as The Black Crystal Sword Saga (by keyboardist Daniele Mazza) that began with The Alliance of the Kings (2010). A New Dawn Ending is the final chapter of the first part of the story. It's been three years since the release of the second chapter, Soulless Child (2011), which given the relatively short time between the first two albums was a surprise to me, and makes A New Dawn Ending quite the anticipated release. In that time though Ancient Bards released the two track split Prelude to Awakening with Japanese band Serenity in Murder, contributing the song Across This Life, which reappears on A New Dawn Ending in an updated form. The band's vocalist Sara Squadrani then appeared as one of the cast of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's latest Ayreon metal/rock opera The Theory of Everything (2013). I'm sure that such a high profile guest appearance will have brought and still be bringing about some extra and much deserved interest in Ancient Bards. On a less positive note the band lost one of their guitarists, Fabio Balducci, after the recording of the album and are currently proceeding as a five piece act.

To those who are already familiar with the work of Ancient Bards the direction of the music on A New Dawn Ending will come as no surprise. This is epic symphonic power metal done in true Italian style. Ancient Bards also throw in a few progressive touches to their music as usual, such as a bass solo in A Greater Purpose. Compared to the two previous albums the symphonic elements are grander and more epic than ever, but as if to compensate the power metal elements feel a little restrained, as if a bit of the energy that was demonstrated on the last two albums is missing. The album is still of quite a high quality, definitely above the standards of the genre, delivered with strong musicianship and passion, but I can't shake the feeling that Ancient Bards have made a few stylistic choices that have caused the album to fall short of their own standards, which I consider to be higher than the average for symphonic power metal release. There are of course many quality songs on the album, but it's only really a few of them such as A Greater Purpose or Across This Life that feel up to the standard of what was, in my view, a masterpiece predecessor.

But don't get me wrong because A New Dawn Ending is certainly a great release. It's definitely not everything I had hoped it would be and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit disappointed, but there is still a lot more to be positive about than there is to complain about. In fact were this an album by any new act on the scene and not the new release of Ancient Bards there would be nothing to complain about at all. That's double standards right there and I admit it, but that's also what happens when an act produces such high quality music on their earlier works.

There are two epics on the album, namely Showdown and the title track, both of which are worth mentions even though the band did the epic length format better in Hope Dies Last from Soulless Child. Showdown is easily the better of the two though as I don't feel that the title track is the dramatic closing epic of this final chapter of the first part of The Black Crystal Sword Saga that it deserved. Not that I really listen to Ancient Bards' music for the story they tell but it would have been nice to say that they closed this chapter with a real bang.

Ancient Bards have also got Fabio Lione of Rhapsody of Fire (among others) to duet with Sara Squadrani on the track The Last Resort. I (and many others) have always considered Ancient Bards to have plenty in common with Rhapsody of Fire beyond both bands belong to the Italian symphonic power metal scene, so it's definitely interesting to hear the vocalists of both bands team up. While it's not one of the highlights of the album it's definitely a great song and another selling point for the release.

I was really hoping that A New Dawn Ending would prove to be one of those albums that needs a few listens to grow on me. Ancient Bards actually set a precedent for that with me, as at first I thought Soulless Child was weaker than The Alliance of the Kings, only to change my mind after I got to know the album better. That's happened to a point this time around but I still have to say that I consider A New Dawn Ending to be the weakest of the three Ancient Bards albums to date.

ANCIENT BARDS Soulless Child

Album · 2011 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
As big of a Dungeons & Dragons nerd as I am, you'd expect me to be more into Rhapsody of Fire-esque symphonically-inclined power metal bands, but the fact is that I find the output of such bands a little hit or miss, so inclined are they to pile on layer after layer of guitar solos, orchestras and cheese that songwriting and compositional technique rather goes by the wayside.

Imagine my pleasure, then, to stumble across the work of Rhapsody's fellow countrymen Ancient Bards. Sara Squadrani's lead vocals might make some listeners think of Nightwish, but overall what we are looking at is far more in Rhapsody of Fire's court: a high fantasy concept album in which orchestral arrangements are just as significant as what the band themselves are getting up to.

What makes the album for me is the way the band show exceptionally good taste when it comes to the balance between orchestral sections and band-led sections. It's this sense of restraint which, paradoxically, gives their compositions more impact; because they judge so finely when to have the orchestra swell up or when to have the band let rip, when they do let loose it's far more effective than it would have been if they'd kept things cranked up to 11 for the whole running time.

What results is an entertaining enough album, but though the band seem to have got the balance of the various ingredients of their musical stew right, there isn't enough of the spice of novelty to really make this much of a keeper if you've already got a decent Rhapsody collection.

ANCIENT BARDS Soulless Child

Album · 2011 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
If you’ve ever wondered what Rhapsody of Fire would sound like if they ditched Fabio Lione in favour of a female singer then you need look no further than Italy’s Ancient Bards. The young symphonic power metal crew share many similarities with their longer running countrymen, such as the epic symphonic nature of their power metal that isn’t without its neoclassical touches and a fondness for the multi album concept, but they have a female singer, Sara Squadrani. Of course there are other differences in the sounds of the two bands, but there are enough parallels that I can’t help but draw some sort of comparison between them.

2011’s Soulless Child is the group’s second album, a conceptual piece that continues the story began in the band’s 2010 debut, The Alliance of the Kings. The aforementioned album impressed me greatly last year and I’ve been quite eager for its continuation ever since. What I find here though is a slightly different Ancient Bards. While The Alliance of the Kings was undoubtedly a symphonic power metal album through and through, Soulless Child is a symphonic power metal album crossed with actual symphonic metal. That is to say that metal can be symphonic without actually being pure symphonic metal, something which is rarer than you may think. Here we have symphonic power metal yes, but it also meets the definition of pure symphonic metal in many places. The symphonic keyboards often take a more dominate role, and the classical influences are unmistakeable. These classical influences also manifest as neoclassical guitar leads. This is still best described as a power metal release in my opinion, but symphonic metal wouldn’t be wrong either.

Unlike with many of the female fronted symphonic metal acts however, Sara Squadrani isn’t an operatic vocalist. Her vocals are, for want of a better description, more metal orientated than singers such as Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish) or Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), although she is still very melodic and powerful. It would still be easy to lump Ancient Bards into the same crowd as acts like Nightwish, especially as of this album which does have some qualities that brings to mind Nightwish’s early output, and also some moments, particularly the choirs, where I think of Epica, but ultimately this wouldn’t be fair, as Ancient Bards is worlds apart in the wider scheme of things. They’re a lot heavier for a start, with their extremely fast power metal riffs propelling the music along with Daniele Mazza’s keyboards which gives the music an epic yet intense sound.

At first I wasn’t as fond of Soulless Child as I was of The Alliance of the Kings, but as is often the way of things I’ve grown to appreciate the album as a work of true genius. There is never a power loss throughout the album and every single track (excluding the intro piece Struggle for Life and the interlude Dinanzi Al Flagello) has many claims to being the very beast the album has to offer. The ones that really do it for me though are Gates of Noland and Hope Dies Last, a fourteen minute thirty beast of a track which is easily the band’s crowning achievement to date. Power metal does not get more epic than this and it’s most definitely refreshing on the symphonic metal front for the singer to be belting out the lyrics in true passionate rock style rather than operatic warbling.

On the track Through my Veins the band delivers a duet between Squadrani and guest vocalist Gianmaria Vannoni (Dawn Under Eclipse). Being from a melodic death metal/metalcore act, Vannoni brings harsh vocals into the mix, which at first I did feel were unneeded, but like with the rest of Soulless Child I grew to appreciate the track a whole lot by the time I came to write this review. Soulless Child has in fact quite successfully cracked my top 5 albums of 2011, and I heard a lot of releases from the year now, including more albums I’d grade as masterpieces than any other year I know of. And do you know what the icing on the cake is? The album sounds even more epic when listening to it back to back with The Alliance of the Kings. I can’t wait to hear what this band does next!

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 9.8/10)

ANCIENT BARDS Movies Reviews

No ANCIENT BARDS movie reviews posted yet.


Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Led Zeppelin IV Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Resurrection Day Power Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Trapped In Between Melodic Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Plague of Truth Melodic Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Eternal Blue Alternative Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Sacrificio Thrash Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us