Crusade Of Bards
Tales of the Seven Seas

I had to check and see if this second album from Spain’s customed troupe, Crusade of Bards wasn’t on Napalm Records a few times, just to be sure.  They have ‘that ‘ sort of sound with symphonic, female-fronted operatic bombastic, gothic-tinged metal, and a few heavier elements (gruffs death metal vocals etc) sprinkled in here and there. But it turns out they are on Italy’s Rockshots Records, who seem to be Italy’s B version of early 00s Naplam Records with bands like Eternal Silence, EverFrost, Ravensword, Sinistra and Silent Call, and as I’m reeling off the names- you can picture the bands in your mind’s eye cant you?

And based on some of my random listening of the label’s roster, Crusade of Bards is arguably the best of the bunch with an often rather enjoyable bounce and crunch that lies somewhere between Epica, Grai, Feuerschwanz, Brothers of Metal, and due to the seafaring nature (the album is a concept is 2 songs based on each of the seven seas) of this second album, Alestorm. That said there are a few times on the rather long 14 song affair that induce a few minor cringes.

The whole affair has big, lush production with lots of layered orchestration backing Eleanor Tenebre, Paolo Andreotti and Eduardo Guilló’s vocals, (who deliver operatic crooning,  death metal growls and Moonspell -ish male cleans respectively) as well as some guests (including Fabio Leone of Rhapsody Of Fire fame and multiple members of fellow symphonic Spaniards Last Days of Eden) and covers the expected array of paces and moods from pure, almost death metal bombast (“The Northwest Passage”, “An Ocean Between Us Part III – A New World”),  gothic sugary pep (“Vento Aureo”, “Hasard”), to sea shanties (“Dunkirk Privateers”), to more sweeping epic ballad-y score type numbers (“Samudr Ka Mandir”, “Lies & Ashes”, “Leap of Faith”., “The White Witch”)  and plenty that mix everything, like “Naupaktos” and the albums best cut,  “The Red Charade”, which is a pretty good encapsulation of everything the band delivers.

Like I said, at times it’s pretty enjoyable, the orchestration is epic and rousing, the maritime themes are fun, but the three vocalists don’t quite sit with me as well as I’d like. And ultimately, while this is a genre I generally enjoy, I’m not likely to crave or seek Crusade of Bards out or anticipate future or past releases, despite some fun moments that I enjoyed while reviewing Tales of The Seven Seas.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 23rd, 2022


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