Derdian - New Era Pt. 3: The Apocalypse

Usually it can be very difficult for a band to keep a concept story going for three albums long. There are some that can do it, like Deathspell Omega and their theological trilogy about God, Satan, and Man which is very varied and different each album, and then there are those like Epica who after a while start to burn out on fans because the albums sound the same overall, despite the engaging story. Fortunately, Italy's Derdian know how to keep an album engaging in both music and lyrics. Yes it is power metal, and usually power metal that is lead by solos and keyboards tends to bring nothing new to the table, but Derdian manage to do it somehow. Their third chapter of fantasy and mythology revolving about wars between Gods and Man mixed in the middle has been exciting so far, and with Pt. 3, 'Apocalypse,' it seems their most bleakest release yet. However, the tone and pace of the music is too happy and engaging for any depression... so leave tha to the lyrics.

"Preludio" is the opening introduction, and like a move with its operatic theme and soaring guitars, it starts the credits. The power metal side of the album is very rich with guitar melodies and keyboards, much along the lines of a band like Kamelot. The vocals make a real mark in their style more than their sound. They sound like typical power metal vocals, but are more faded, in turn becoming part of the music and having this wavery, smooth effect that in order to hear them, one really has to pay attention, therefore paying more attention to the music. They are only clearer when the group backing vocals come in, which enhances the whole theatric experience. Tracks like "The Spell" are unique due to guest female vocals from Lisa Stefanoni; sadly they don't make use of her angellic vocals enough on past albums. Her voice is fantastic on tracks like "Forevermore" when she has the floor. "Her Spirit Will Fly Again" is hopelessly too generic with the drum solo in the beginning and then the mix of keyboards and guitars; one issue that can become of power metal is that the keyboards, unless they sound like piano, sound far too much like the guitars, and vice versa because both incorporate so much melody. Speaking of piano, there's quite a few bits on tracks such as "Black Rose" and "Revolt." Whether it is to help balance the mleody of the guitars or deliver a ballad, they really shine as the best instrument on the album.

So is Pt. 3 the end of Derdian's trilogy? It is hard to say... usually power metal doesn't end on such bleak tracks such as "Apocalypse." While the listener isn't left hanging with two or more years to wait... there still is the open ended question of if this story will continue. If it does, one can be hopeful that Derdian will keep this style (along with guest vocalist Stefanoni) for the future. This really is their most mature and exciting album to date because even though it sounds like regular mainstream power metal, their story is certainly not going to fall on deaf ears. An exciting read/ listen for anyone who likes mythology or fantasy mixed together with plenty of allegory thrown in that can be applied to real life.

  1. Preludio
  2. The Spell
  3. Battleplan
  4. Black Rose
  5. Her Spirit Will Fly Again
  6. Dreams
  7. Divine Embrace
  8. The Prophecy
  9. Burn
  10. Forevermore
  11. Revolt
  12. Presagio
  13. The Apocalypse

Magna Carta Records
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Oct 25, 2010

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