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Derdian: New Era Part 3 - The Apocalypse

There is a substantial market for Italian rockers Derdian's brand of symphonic metal rock-opera, delivered at a blistering pace that only rarely drops below 200bpm, and I'm sure that all those who enjoyed the band's New Era Part One and Part Two – War of the Gods will be eagerly snapping up this latest and final part of the trilogy, The Apocalypse. What an apt title for such muscly music!

This is a genre that is clearly loved by Italian musicians – must be their operatic heritage I guess; it's not too long ago that I bought another of these energetic rock operas, Genius's A Rock Opera, also a trilogy. That was quite a different enterprise, consisting of its creator, Daniele Liverani, and a plethora of celebrity invited guest musicians – which actually served to give the music quite a variety that is not similarly not delivered by Derdian, who are "just" a straight rock band. I've not heard the other parts of this trilogy but The Apocalypse rarely strays from its path of frantic machine-gun rhythm drumming overlayed with a wall of sound from the remainder of the band. There are a couple of occasions when this pattern is broken: "Black Rose" is nearer conventional rock than symphonic metal and benefits from the slightly reduced pace and a strong melody – it's my favourite song on the album – and "Forevermore", which is much slower and features guest female vocalist Lisy Stefanoni from Evenoire.

The band consist of Joe Caggianelli (vocals and "choirs"), Enrico Pistolesi (guitars, backing vocals), Marco Garau (keys), Marco Banfi (bass) and Salvatore Giordano (he of the mighty fast machine gun drums) - they all put in a fine performance, but ultimately the album, for me, suffers from a certain amount of repetitiveness. However, if you like fast, fast, fast – and my pick of the fast bunch is "Burn" – then you might well enjoy this greatly!

Track Listing:-
1) Preludio (1:45)
2) The Spell (5:58)
3) Battleplan (5:04)
4) Black Rose (4:25)
5) Her Spirit Will Fly Again (5:40)
6) Dreams (5:11)
7) Divine Embrace (5:22)
8) The Prophecy (4:53)
9) Burn (4:54)
10) Forevermore (6:18)
11) Revolt 6:20)
12) Presagio (2:32)
13) The Apocalypse (6:28)

Added: July 7th 2010
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Score:
Related Link: Band's Website
Hits: 1934
Language: english

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Derdian: New Era Part 3 - The Apocalypse
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-10-17 19:10:29
My Score:

As its title cleverly alludes to "The Apocalypse" is part 3 of the "New Era" saga from Italian power/speed - with more than a touch of symphonic - metal outfit Derdian. Set in the mythical land from which the band take their moniker, "Part 3" of this fantasy tale is full of heroes and villains and triumphs over evil. However musically we are deep into territory marked out with some of the more obvious aspects of the genres that this band desperately attempt to straddle. There's no doubt that Derdian can shred with the best of them, with blisteringly blazing blurts of guitar histrionics cascading from the darkened brooding skies in their land, while the ever keen keyboards crescendos add massive dollops of atmosphere. However everything is laid on so thick that the smooth, over slick layers of "Black Rose" and the speed metal-fest of "Her Spirit Will Fly Again" almost verge on parody. The latter's Broadway style gang backing vocals and overbearing keyboard display perfectly illustrating the quandary in which Derdian find themselves. The musicianship is of a stunningly good standard, however in the band's efforts to illustrate that point, every trick in the book is slung at almost every track on the album with a gay abandon. The end results are actually rather tiring and yes tiresome, as the well worn themes and motifs are thrashed, speeded, symphoniced and powered to within an inch of their lives.

Dip into "The Apocalypse" at any point and you'll be immediately impressed by the manically pounding drums, the clear soaring vocals, or the blur of fret board wizardry that greets you. However stick with it and the sheer lack of compromise and for the most part the dearth of light and shade, rather than adding to the intensity, completely blunts the attack. The worst offender comes in the shape of the keyboards, which feature on almost every second of this album, never resting, nor relaxing for one moment and while the standard of playing is unquestionable, the poor choice of sound and overkill approach becomes extremely irksome.

For true devotees of the more exuberant propensities of the power metal genre, I have no hesitation in recommending this album. However for those with more of a passing interest, or a more discerning palette, there are countless bands offering a more rewarding variety on these themes.

Derdian: New Era Part 3 - The Apocalypse
Posted by Jordan Blum, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-07-07 14:34:32
My Score:

I've always had mixed feelings about symphonic/power metal. The musicianship is top notch and impressive, the orchestral inclusion provides for a very lush experience, and the ambitious narrative (most albums I've heard in the genres are conceptual) add a definitive intelligence and charm. However, a lot of the time the end result is a lot of technical wizardry and overblown theatrics without sufficient variety, engagement, dynamics and affective melody. This is the case with New Era (Part III): The Apocalypse, the concluding chapter of Derdian's fantastical trilogy. It's very fast and extravagant but it lacks any real hooks, and honestly, after awhile, it's likely to give you a headache.

Derdian was born in 1998 in Milan, Italy. Naturally, they're influenced by acts such as Stratovarius, Helloween, Manowar, and fan favorite Symphony X. Similar to American band Coheed & Cambria, Derdian derive their name from within their storyline, which revolves around a Shakespearean battle for power over the "legendary fortress" of Derdian. The band effectively conveys a serious tone (well, as serious as a clichéd fantasy can be) and again, these guys are great with their instruments, but in the end, there's nothing truly memorable here.

Appropriately, New Era (Part III) begins with "Preludio," a brief instrumental full of fast guitar riffs, crashing cymbals and strings. It's quite ominous and effectively sets the stage for whatever grandiose, epic finale Derdian promises. It segues into "The Spell," which, honestly, is simply a generic track in a genre full of very similar sounds. The double bass drum is pounding and there's a mystical, mythical ambience complete with accompaniment by opera sings (of both genders). Whatever is going on in the story is certainly intense, but it doesn't invoke any reaction from me, and unfortunately, 99% of the album sounds exactly like this.

"Black Rose" features a nice piano melody that carries through the whole song (although it's switched to synthesized instruments). It's the typical power ballad you'd expect, but it's a nice enough deviation to warrant attention. "The Prophecy" is one of the more melodic tracks, which, in other words, means it's when Derdian seems to take a breath and calm down a little, and "Burn" has some interlocking vocals, which is intriguing. Finally, "Forevermore" and "Revolt" predominately feature male and female vocals, which is the only thing that really makes them standout. These are the most interesting aspects of New Era (Part III).

If you've ever heard "Through the Fire and Flames" by English rockers DragonForce, you've essentially heard this album. Derdian uses the timbres and riffs you'd expect from the genre, and singer Joe Caggianelli sings in the typical high range. The concept is full of dark fairytale and the production is full of pretention. But there is nothing worthwhile to walk away with. In fact, Derdian seem like they sacrificed developing melodies and dynamics in favor of rushing the listener to the end of their story. It's too quick and shallow.

Derdian need to develop their songwriting a lot and learn when to slow things down. It is possible to combine great guitar riffs with great melodies and have the listener totally immersed, such as with Symphony X's "Inferno" and "The Odyssey," and with Vanden Plas' Christ 0 (especially the fantastic title track, which opens the album). Fans of this type of music (such as some Nightwish fanatics I know) will like this album, but this genre has much better bands you should focus on.



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