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Album Review: Crusade of Bards – “Tales of the Seven Seas”

Following on the heels of their 2019 release “Tales of Bards and Beasts” released via Pride & Joy Records, Crusade of Bards’ upcoming sophomore album “Tales of the Seven Seas” debuts on February 18th, 2022 and once more brings the energy and atmosphere of sea shanties and forgotten tales to our doorstep.

This album, released by Rockshot Records, has a mix of history-inspired songs and social themes including those revolving around the Seven Seas with two songs favouring each. Formed in 2016 by Paolo Andreotti (Keyboards/Vocals), and Eleanor Tenebre (Vocals) to create music that could mix all their favourite styles and concepts, Crusade of Bards has moved on from initially beginning as a studio project into a full live production that the band describes as witnessing “Wien-Orchestra directed by Davy Jones”.

Crusade of Bards boasts an emotional and energetic live production for audiences of all genres such as Folk, Power, Gothic, and Pagan. They’ve made a name for themselves by touring through Germany, Switzerland, France, and their home country of Spain playing a variety of shows and festivals whenever available.

For fans of Eluveitie, Alestorm, and Epica, Crusade of Bards takes us on adventure after adventure battling history’s demons, embracing the sounds of the sea, and fighting off supposed social norms all in the name of Symphonic Pirate Metal.

“Anuri” is a near 2-minute stage setter for an epic, sea-faring adventure. Rounding drumbeats like a fearful heart, orchestral tension, and enigmatic choir build atmosphere and unveil to us an album like no other.

We begin our tale through “The Northwest Passage” that barrages us with rich guitars and high-soaring vocals. With many tracks exceeding the 5-minute mark, it’s difficult to keep an audience entertained but, the story, and musical composition of this track does so with ease. Building background tension on route after route of failure through the sea, the light-hearted vocals leave a deceptive delight of a track that’s elegant and catchy from the moment our ship leaves shore.

“An Ocean Between Us” starts like a cinematic wonder with choir building terror as music creeps at its back. Violins build in speed and begin to paint a vivid image of what’s to come. The thunder of drums echoes out and breath absolute wildness into this track. Once the melody holds, the darkness creeps in mixing scarring riffs with clean and harsh vocalization. This track is a thrill of ups and downs, strong solo-riding waves, and treacherous maelstroms that arise from the depths. This track quickly earned itself a spot in my favourites with the cinematic composition and the terrifying journey it takes us on.

The energy of a tavern-track like “Dunkirk Privateers” is hard to ignore with the environment built on laughter and clanging cups in the background, only to be embraced by accordion introductions and a banger of a riff. Speed takes hold quickly before setting into the rhythm and story of this piece. Commerce raiders, the Dunkirkers, sailed the Flemish coast and we are in return, given a catchy track with a dazzling midway-solo unleashed and even a choir solo that’s unexpectedly epic. It’s got heart, and all the vibes of a drunken tavern sing-along but, kicked up 10 notches by ferocious music and balanced dual vocals.

 

“Naupaktos” recounts a tale of war against a speedy musical backdrop. Harsh vocals bounce off vicious strings before Elanor’s soprano highs battle the depth of bass-riding hell. It’s a melody ripe with constant battle musically, lyrically, and vocally, remarking the history of its content with talent and grace. Like other tracks, this, too, is not devoid of wild guitar solos that could make you jump overboard in sheer excitement.

The popular release, “The Red Charade” is a clever dance of ethereal qualities that embrace a mariachi-like intro with the viciousness of metal. It’s a ballad-like track with gorgeous highs and terrifying lows displayed both musically and vocally. It’s a rapid track balanced with a chorus that uses double-kickers to amp up the track’s power making this one of the most playlist-worthy tracks of the album as displayed with its more than 30k+ likes on YouTube.

“Lies & Ashes” is an all-out banger with earthquake drumming, finger-shredding riffs, and magnetic vocals. It’s a seafarer’s tale that paints calm waters, and a gentle breeze on a sunset journey home. The fires of an unseen horror back the melody with a tense atmosphere as it every slow blink is filled with a reminiscence of battles fought and tragedies that befell you. A hearty solo trails near the end of this track and makes for a wondrous drop into a light feel before once more dragging us into the deep. Wide eyes look toward a new horizon while a darkened gaze awaits destiny with Davy Jones.

 

 

Jumping into tracks like “Leap of Faith” comes once more with dual vocals and a ballad take against an ocean storm. The orchestration at this track’s back is magnificent with harmonious touches on creating a lighter atmosphere despite the hammer of crushing drums. It’s got a rapid pedal beat but, never strays from its steady course with well-synchronized vocals and cascading guitars that dance across the still waters.

Our journey draws to a close with “As above, so below” that sees the shoreline draw near. The composition is at a cinematic high, with heavy drums beating against a solemn shore before our very eyes. It brings into full closure the very journey that Crusade of Bards took us on. Fleeting footsteps across gentle waves, dancing on the memories of past adventures and not to be forgotten encounters.

This album is a masterpiece with cinematic quality and definition. From vocal capabilities, to composition it is one that comes into 2022 with flawlessness and swagger. Our terrifying opening is greeted with a gracious close, and I’m excited for the next adventure that Crusade of Bards takes us on next. Draw anchor, and ready the sails because I’m ready to take another journey through the Seven Seas if it’ll be anything like this!

Favourite Tracks: An Ocean Between Us, Lies & Ashes

Rating: 9/10
Release Date: February 18th, 2022
Label: Rockshot Records
Track Listing:
1.) Anuri (intro)
2.) The Northwest Passage
3.) An Ocean Between Us – Part III – A New World
4.) Dunkirk Privateers
5.) Vento Aureo
6.) Naupaktos
7.) Manti (interlude)
8.) The Red Charade
9.) Hasard
10.) Samudr Ka Mandir
11.) Lies & Ashes
12.) Leap of Faith
13.) The White Witch
14.) As above, so below (outro)

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