Rockshots Records announce their signing of symphonic pirate metal act Crusade of Bards for their sophomore album “Tales of The Seven Seas” due out February 18, 2022. The album follows their 2019 debut record “Tales of Bards & Beasts” that was released via Pride & Joy Records.
Tales of the Seven Seas is the band’s second album inside the “Tales” saga, a broader concept that started with their first album, Tales of Bards & Beasts. It revolves around the figure of the “Bard” and the different tales, songs, and myths that the storyteller would present to the public of the different towns and villages visited. On this second album, Crusade of Bards has a mix of history-inspired songs and social themes. The whole concept of the record revolves around the 7 seas, 2 songs for every sea, and each of them about stories that took place or refer to the area washed by them.
The pomp surrounding opening track Anuri will tell you a lot about what you’re about to hear. In just a little under 2-minutes, Crusade of Bards tell you that you’re about to experience something bombastic and power-driven. That you’re about to experience a concept that will make you feel a part of the stories and may even feel a spray of sea water splashing on your face as you listen.
Fast and frantic instrumentation hits on The Northwest Passage, the sense of grandeur then coming from the operatic-style vocals. It’s a hyperactive but epic start, followed then by the chunky metal heavy groove of An Ocean Between Us – Part III – A New World. Where harsher male vocals clash with lighter but equally as powerful female vocals and symphonic elements lift the spirits.
Dunkirk Privateers then leans into the ‘bard’ style storytelling with something that sounds like a tale being recounted to a drunken inn of weathered and worn seadogs. Albeit with a lot more refinement. Before Vento Aureo and Naupaktos showcase the two sides of Crusade of Bards. Both are melodramatic epics, but one is far beastlier than the other.
The halfway point of the album is then reached with the short interlude of Manti. A touch of folkish melody mixed with rising guitar riffing. Which then leads to the frenetic and bombastic instrumentation of The Red Charade and the head-spinning energy of Hasard. Crusade of Bards are showcasing their imagination with vigour but still know how to deliver a seafaring ballad, as Samudr Ka Mandir shows.
Admittedly though the album is beginning to suffer under the weight of a few too many tracks and a couple that lack a hook. This latest melodic offering is a good example of a track that is nice but a little boring. Things have gone off the boil a bit and unfortunately, it doesn’t really heat back up.
Lies & Ashes brings some welcome grandstanding energy before Leap of Faith drops the tempo with a robust rhythm and The White Witch ends the main bulk of the album with a soft and twinkly ballad. All solid if uninspired sounding tracks. Maybe the journey has just been a bit too long as there is some relief to find As Above, So Below is a short outro.
A bit of trimming, a bit of fat removal and Tales of the Seven Seas would be a stronger album overall. That being said, it’s still a quality slice of symphonic power metal with an interesting story and concept.
Crusade of Bards – Tales of the Seven Seas Full Track Listing:
2. The Northwest Passage
3. An Ocean Between Us – Part III – A New World
4. Dunkirk Privateers
5. Vento Aureo
7. Manti (Interlude)
8. The Red Charade
10. Samudr Ka Mandir
11. Lies & Ashes
12. Leap of Faith
13. The White Witch
14. As Above, So Below (Outro)
Crusade of Bards - Tales of the Seven Seas (Rockshots Records)
The Final Score - 7/10