By John Bedard

Artwork for Tales Of Bards & Beasts by Crusade Of BardsThe Uber Rock Approved stampThis one is a little unexpected. There is a very clear theme here with the whole Bard and fantasy setting and the music definitely has that personality to it. This is very clearly symphonic metal first but there are plenty of other influences also woven in. Even though symphonic metal is one of my favorite genres sometimes I feel like many of the bands start to follow each other’s style a little too closely. The different bands start to sound a lot alike and I find myself wishing for something new to mix things up. Crusade Of Bards has absolutely made something that feels fresh and new here without departing too far that it becomes unrecognizable as symphonic metal. It is a very tight line to walk and they do it well.

The vocals are dead on. Eleanor Tenebre has a beautiful voice with a lot of power. She is absolutely a joy to listen to. Her excellent range has her soaring through the registers effortlessly perfectly complemented by a deep aggressive growled backup vocals. This complementary contrast adds an excellent color to the album making it feel like there is a real evolution in the album. Like it is going somewhere and telling a story.

Complementing the vocals, we have some incredible instrumentation. The music is played beautifully and includes many instruments that are not typically used in metal. I’m pretty sure I even heard a gurdy, or something similar, in a few tracks among other folk style instruments. Every instrument compliments each other very well and builds this wonderful atmosphere that would be right at home in any fantasy environment.

The album itself grows and changes very nicely from track to track. At times it feels like a traditional symphonic metal album but then there will be a heavy folk influence. Two of the tracks even take on a style that brings to mind a Japanese influence. If done poorly this could have made things seem disjointed but the placement of each track on the album is well done and uses these slight changes in style well to make the whole album flow effortlessly and gives the whole experience direction.

While this album does have many things that have been done before, it manages to not only feel new in an already well-established genre but also is instantly recognizable as them. Their sound might be built from tested bricks, but they have absolutely made it distinctly their own. This is a must buy. You do owe this album to yourself. There is so much range. Every track feels truly unique and intentional. This was album is a work of love and I think everyone needs to hear it.

  • ‘Tales Of Bards & Beasts’ is released on 15 November. You can get your copy HERE.

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