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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Derdian

New Era Pt 3: the Apocalypse

Review by Gary Hill

While the technical, epic metal that Derdian produces here is not all that original (at least in terms of the genre), these guys do it better than most. In fact, that musical style has become a little stale over the years, but somehow Derdian makes it feel fresh. You won’t find anything here that is dramatically different from anything you’ve heard before. What you will get is an epic metal disc that doesn’t fail to entertain and keep in interesting throughout its duration.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Preludio

As the title suggests, this is an introductory piece. It starts very symphonic, but shifts to a technical, classically tinged, metal arrangement from there. It’s fairly short and nearly progressive rock in its orientation. We get a couple tastes of some familiar classical pieces in the mix here and there.

The Spell
This comes straight out the previous piece and takes that arrangement into a more purely metal approach. It’s fast paced and powerful and also very technical. “The Spell” reminds me a lot of Helloween, but I also hear early Queensryche hear and there and even some gypsy music. There are some intriguing variations and some scorching guitar soloing.
Battleplan
Another scorching slab of heavy metal, this is perhaps a bit less technical than the previous piece. It’s still not simplistic, by any means, but seems more focused on a metal groove than showing off musical prowess. This is very epic in style. There is a cool, stuttering sort of motif later that has some real progressive rock built into it.
Black Rose
Less of a technical cut than anything we’ve heard so far, this is a fairly straightforward powerhouse metal approach. It’s quite catchy, yet there are some breaks that are a little more technical. 
Her Spirit Will Fly Again
The Helloween like sounds are back here, but there is more of a keyboard oriented texture to this. It’s very technical and symphonic in nature and we get some cool piano soloing. There are some operatic moments here and this is one of the most dynamic cuts of the whole set. They pack a lot of changes into a little over five and a half minutes. 
Dreams
Another that’s very technical, this, again, calls to mind Helloween. While in some ways this doesn’t differ a lot from some of the other music here, there is a great evocative quality to the vocals. Add to that one of the tastiest guitar solos of the whole disc and a cool proggy movement focused on the keyboards and this becomes one of my favorites. 
Divine Embrace
Here’s a nice change. They start it off rather similar to a lot of the other music, but drop it way down for a very prog rock oriented verse. As it powers up the metal and prog elements seem pretty evenly represented for a while. This is another that’s extremely dynamic and covers a lot of musical territory. There are some extremely strong vocals and some cool keyboard bits here. 
The Prophecy
Starting with a classical piano solo movement, this fires out into screaming hot heavy metal from there. Again, I’m reminded of Helloween, but the keyboard solo later in the track is closer to something from Ayreon. The chorus is especially epic. 
Burn
In some ways this doesn’t differ much from the rest of the album. Still, it’s quite technical and classical in approach and the nearly operatic chorus is even more epic than a lot of the other songs. There is a cool keyboard laced jam later. 
Forevermore
The first portion of this cut is a keyboard based balladic sound with female vocals. It grows from there and is quite evocative and powerful. This is essentially a ballad, but it’s also a powered up one. We get some fiery guitar soloing later.
Revolt
Another technical epic metal cut, this is a fiercely quick paced piece of music. Much of the vocal arrangement falls near operatic in delivery. While the music is purely metal, much of it has definite classical underpinnings. 
Presagio
A classically based instrumental, this is a scorchingly hot track. It’s not all that different from a lot of music here, but it’s effective nonetheless. 
The Apocalypse
This starts with a playful little bit of music (not something you’d expect from a song called “The Apocalypse”). It grows out into a metal jam that’s got a lot of ethnic music built into the arrangement. The track works through a number of changes as one of the more dynamic pieces here.
 
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