Album Review – Derdian / DNA (2018)

Get ready for over one hour of top-of-the-line Symphonic Power Metal, courtesy of one of the most prominent and skillful bands from the Italian scene.

Hailing from the always fun and vibrant Italian city of Milan, a global capital of fashion and design, here comes one of the most important and most consistent metal acts from the European scene, Symphonic Power Metal squad Derdian, back with another vibrant and well-balanced album titled DNA, the seventh full-length release in their beyond prolific and interesting career. In an era where most renowned bands tend to release only a handful of songs per album, Derdian go against the tide by offering fans of their fusion of symphonic elements and Heavy Metal nothing more, nothing less than over one hour of first-class music split into 13 original songs, proving once again how much they love what they do.

Comprised of Ivan Giannini on vocals, Enrico Pistolese and Dario Radaelli on the guitars, Marco Banfi on bass, Marco Garau on keyboards and Salvatore Giordano on drums, which is the same extremely talented and focused lineup from their previous releases such as their 2014 album Human Reset and their 2016 release Revolution Era, Derdian keep blasting their usual sonic extravaganza full of symphonic layers, epic passages and endless electricity in DNA, all embraced by a crystal clear overall production that enhances the impact of their music even more, turning the experience of listening to DNA a musical orgasm for admirers of the genre.

Abduction, a symphonic-cinematic intro that sounds and feels very serene, sets the stage for Derdian to kick some serious ass with the title-track DNA, a fast and very melodic Power Metal feast inspired by the golden days of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius, with Ivan showcasing a superb performance on vocals while Marco Garau and Salvatore have a healthy “duel” of delicacy versus stamina with their instruments. After such powerful start the band offers a top-notch Melodic Metal tune for the masses titled False Flag Operation, with its conspiracy theories-inspired lyrics (“It flies along the blue skies / No one knows what’s gonna happen / New York city will have / The right punishment to be / A nest of worms without a faith / Greedy hawks vultures and jackals / Soon the west will got a / Nice surprise to share with me!”) and sheer epicness flowing from the guitars by Enrico and Dario, followed by Never Born, where a smooth start evolves to a feast of harmonious and delicate sounds, but still bringing the traditional electricity of Melodic Power Metal. In addition, this is a great song to sing along with Ivan and the guys, with Enrico, Dario and Marco Banfi giving a lesson in intricacy, melody and feeling with their stringed weapons.

The next track in DNA, called Hail to the Masters, presents a fun fusion of Symphonic Power Metal with Epic and Folk Metal, considerably different from their traditional sonority, with Ivan singing like a true minstrel and with Marco Garau dictating the rhythm with his whimsical keys; while in Red and White, a perfect example of what Melodic Metal is all about, the band gets back to their old school musicality, which means fast and melodic riffs, nonstop drums and another great vocal exhibit by Ivan, flowing smoothly form start to finish. Then we’re treated to a prancing mid-tempo composition entitled Elohim, led by the rhythmic beats by Salvatore and feeling almost a hundred percent Folk Metal at times, before morphing into a Jazz-infused feast of bass punches, keyboard solos and an upbeat vibe. It’s indeed a fantastic and unique side of Derdian, but if that is not entertaining enough for you, we have another powerful tune named Nothing Will Remain for your avid ears, blending elements from classic and symphonic music with modern Progressive Metal, with highlights to the spot-on guitar solos by both Enrico and Dario.

While Fire from the Dust brings what’s perhaps their most aggressive lyrics (“Like a snake crawls out from the rocks / We go out from …this fucking hole / Let the hate becomes a fire / Fire from the dust! / Take the weapons, annihilate them / They are not machines! / Like a snake crawls out from the rocks  / Fire from the dust!”), musically speaking it’s a Symphonic Metal extravaganza tailored for diehard fans of the genre, with the solos by the band’s guitar duo and especially by Marco Garau adding even more electricity to the overall result. Then in Destiny Never Awaits a gentle piano intro evolves into a decent power ballad by this Italian six-piece squad, presenting pleasant guitar lines and potent vocals, but unfortunately never reaching the same electrifying vibe of the rest of the album; whereas in Frame of the End the band delivers a heavier version of their Symphonic Power Metal (it can even be considered a more symphonic and metallic version of the music by Dream Theater in my opinion) spearheaded by Ivan and his passionate and flammable vocal lines, with Stefano also having a precise and groovy performance on drums, not to mention all of the song’s nice breaks and variations. Marco Garau once again kicks things off in a vibrant feast of Melodic Metal titled Part of This World, where not only Enrico and Dario are in total sync with their riffs, but you should also pay attention to how they meticulously add several elements from classical music to their Power Metal. And lastly, as a “bonus” the band offers us a Spanish version for “Nothing Will Remain”, translated to Ya Nada Cambiara, bringing an extra dosage of epicness and an fresh kick to their Symphonic Power Metal.

If you’re not familiar yet with the symphonic and electrifying world of Derdian, you can get more details about the band, their tour dates and their music on Facebook and on YouTube, and purchase a copy of DNA directly from their webstore, from iTunes or from Amazon. In a nutshell, DNA is more than just another ass-kicking, thrilling album by this Italian squad that lives and breathes Melodic and Symphonic Power Metal, but a beyond recommended option for anyone who admires some good old Heavy Metal with a precise amount of symphonic elements and an epic aura. Some bands are comprised of talented musicians while others work their asses off to provide good music to the listener, but in the case of Derdian we can say they combine the best of both worlds, with DNA being the perfect depiction of the beautiful thing that happens when you put undisputed talent together with endless amounts of hard work.

Best moments of the album: DNA, Never Born, Elohim and Frame of the End.

Worst moments of the album: Destiny Never Awaits.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Abduction 1:12
2. DNA 5:27
3. False Flag Operation 5:00
4. Never Born 5:43
5. Hail to the Masters 4:27
6. Red and White 5:04
7. Elohim 5:26
8. Nothing Will Remain 5:31
9. Fire from the Dust 6:21
10. Destiny Never Awaits 5:41
11. Frame of the End 5:00
12. Part of This World 6:05
13. Ya Nada Cambiara 5:31

King Records Edition bonus track
14. Never Born (Japanese version) 5:41

Band members
Ivan Giannini – vocals
Enrico Pistolese – guitars
Dario Radaelli – guitars
Marco Banfi – bass
Marco Garau – keyboards
Salvatore Giordano – drums

Advertisements

Album Review – Derdian / Human Reset (2014)

Do you think contemporary Symphonic Power Metal is outdated? Just listen to the excellent new album by this Italian squad and you’ll see how biased you are.

Rating4

Derdian-Human_Reset_front_coverRhapsody Of Fire, Stratovarius, Symphony X and Angra are just a few of many excellent Symphonic Power Metal bands from different parts of the world, and among them there’s another name that also deserves to be recognized as one of the biggest contemporary exponents of this genre of heavy music due to the quality of their work. I’m talking about Italian Symphonic Power Metal band Derdian and their brand new album Human Reset, a highly recommended option for anyone that loves seeing the words “symphonic” and “metal” together.

Born in 1998 in Milan, Italy, Derdian have always offered us lots of heavy and fast riffs from traditional Power Metal and beautiful symphonic orchestrations, without sounding repetitive as even some well-established bands sound nowadays. They somehow managed to keep their sound unique, and add to that the fact that their lyric themes moved from only fantasy, a constant in their “New Era” albums, to more direct (not to mention more important) issues our society has always faced. I’m not saying fantasy is boring, it’s just that being able to write and sing about a wider variety of topics helps any type of band in their creative process, which in the case of Derdian worked really well.

Right after the video game-ish symphonic intro Eclipse, the energetic and vibrant title-track Human Reset makes us think we’re listening to an “Italian Angra” from the Angels Cry-era, with its very traditional drums and keyboards perfect for fans of fast-tempo songs blended with symphonic elements. The symphonic extravaganza goes on with the awesome In Everything, with highlights to its guitar solos, fast drumming and a chorus that should put a smile on the faces of the fans while they sing it together with the band. Moreover, it’s easy to notice all the melody present in most European bands, and the part of the lyrics sung in Italian complements the song in a very pleasant way.

The following track, Mafia, has a totally different approach with a more modern sonority and truly melodic and enjoyable vocals, and its music variations kind of interestingly “break” the traditional metal from previous tracks; while These Rails Will Bleed, the shortest song of the album, has that “Symphonic Power Metal” formula with nothing really new to offer, albeit it’s far from being boring. In Absolute Power, the band focus on stronger Power Metal riffs similar to what Manowar used to do in the past (maybe due to the name of the song), and the band’s talented musicians were able to add some hints of progressive music to it to make the song even better. This is the type of song you’ll start headbanging and beating your feet nonstop without even noticing.

derdian_01Human Reset continues with a song that is mandatory in your playlist if you’re hitting the road soon: Write Your Epitaph is an outstanding symphony full of awesome Hard Rock riffs and another thrilling vocal performance by Ivan Giannini, turning it into the best song of the whole album without a shadow of a doubt. Then we have the good Music is Life (I couldn’t agree more with the name of this song), with its intro that seems to be inspired by Helloween’s all-time classic “Future World” and all its beautiful Power Metal moments, especially the keyboards and piano passages by Marco Garau; Gods Don’t Give A Damn, where the bass guitar, guitars, drums and everything else sound somewhat like Dream Theater, keeping the energy level really high and the song truly interesting; and After The Storm, a symphonic and emotive ballad that is excellent for the listener to breathe for a while after so many powerful tracks.

Finally, it’s time to speed things up again with the powerful Alone, with great synergy among all instruments, the quick and fun instrumental track Delirium, which sounds a lot like many songs by Stratovarius, and My Life Back, a song that starts as a semi-acoustic piano ballad that turns into another very symphonic tune to close the album as traditionally as possible. In addition, the less fanciful and more distressful album art for Human Reset, which in my opinion is by far the most beautiful in their career, also supports this more serious path Derdian decided to take and perfectly summarizes what to expect from the album and, of course, from the band.

And last but not least, remember to support Derdian by purchasing their music at their official website or in other places such as iTunes or Amazon, because this band is here to prove us all once again our good old Symphonic Power Metal is not obsolete at all and can be as exciting as any new genre of heavy music.

Best moments of the album: In Everything, Mafia and Write Your Epitaph.

Worst moments of the album: These Rails Will Bleed and My Life Back.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Eclipse 1:14
2. Human Reset 5:53
3. In Everything 6:16
4. Mafia 6:41
5. These Rails Will Bleed 2:49
6. Absolute Power 5:26
7. Write Your Epitaph 4:08
8. Music is Life 6:25
9. Gods Don’t Give A Damn 5:44
10. After The Storm 4:58
11. Alone 7:24
12. Delirium 1:15
13. My Life Back 6:34

Band members
Ivan Giannini – vocals
Enrico Pistolese – guitars
Dario Radaelli – guitars
Marco Banfi – bass
Marco Garau – keyboards
Salvatore Giordano – drums