Review Summary: Watered down or refreshed — either way, another solid album from Ancient Bards.
I remember when this album came out like it was yesterday. I was stoked and truthfully, Origine met most of my expectations. The same impactful symphonic power metal that I enjoyed in Soulless Child returned, as though time hadn’t passed. Ancient Bards’ guitarist is a shredder, and the double bass is the drummer’s speciality, but the bow that ties their efforts together is the stunning lead singer. Altogether, the band’s efforts are technical, and furiously fast with Sara on top of it with fire-y command — their typical musical style. Generic power metal? Not quite, though it’s mostly thanks to Sara’s unique vocal cadence.
Ancient Bards perfected their formula ages before Origine. Their brand of speedy power metal mixed with their pop-ready vocalist is mostly unaltered, and effective. As always, the reason to listen to Ancient Bards is to hear the beautiful mic command of the singer Sara Squadrani. The power behind her voice as well as her range are inspiring, and miles above average power metal singers. Her singing style may bring to mind Elize from Amaranthe, though Sara’s vibrato and grit stands apart, and is uniquely fitting for power metal.
Sara lets loose more pop hooks in her vocal delivery throughout the album, a more natural fit for her voice. A trade off happens as a result, in which the wall of guitar sound heard in Soulless Child is a shell of what it used to be (intentionally). Also, less blistering, fast paced guitar work is involved in the album, though there’s still a lot of pinache left available. The highlight of Origine is neither the metal or symphonic motifs — Sara is the focus. Smoothly layered melodies and slower, poppier instrumental bits provide a less bombastic area for Sara’s naturally hypnotic voice to shine. Though the symphonic side of the album is fairly understated, I’d argue Ancient Bards’ motif of pop meets power metal has always been their strong suit.
Ultimately, Origine is the same band as before, but a little softer. One may argue Ancient Bards were losing steam, but one look at the shredded riffs puts that notion to bed. It’s clear that Ancient Bards don’t want to be one-dimensional. Though they repeat their power metal style from album to album, there’s still other jewels to explore. Still, the biggest draw from this album is hearing Sara sing amongst a dashing of heavy riffs, perhaps I am a simple man, but the simplicity of Origine is a strong point. It’s uncluttered symphonic power metal, produced great, with melodies sure to be enjoyable and an endlessly breathtaking singer; sounds like success to me.