Back when MySpace was booming, was the no. 1 social medium, DERDIAN was one of the many bands on that platform that caught my attention. They were then promoting their debut album, “New Era Pt. 1” (2005) like hell. Also, when “New Era Pt. 2 – War Of The Gods” came out, in 2007, again the band didn’t stop posting about it, even offering packages with both albums. I did buy the second album later, found it great that the band played the music that e.g. RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) played ten years earlier (“Legendary Tales”, “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands”).
The third album, “New Era Pt. 3 – The Apocalypse”, was not that good, in my humble opinion. Not only the songs, but also the production lacked punch. I found it a step back, especially compared to the preceding two albums. Afterwards I lost track of the band, which means I haven’t heard DERDIAN’s last album, “Limbo” (2013). Recently I got a mail from the band with regards to their newest release, “Human Reset”, which came out in July 2014. With thirteen tracks, this fifth full-length ends after a good 60 minutes.
“Human Reset” begins an intro, “Eclipse”, that creates the setting in which the songs are to unfold: mysterious, bombastic… as if a new dawn is around the corner. Give it a dancey touch, together with the orchestrations, and add a countdown towards this new dawn, which breaks loose in “Human Reset”. Bombast, choir vocals, and the music accompanying the whole with bursts. Of course the expected Power Metal takes its place once the grand introduction is over. In the firm, powerful verses, you can hear the vocals were put very high in the mix. This changes a little as the music grows in volume in the bridge and (hymnic) chorus, since the aforementioned bombast (incl. choir) is also present. Vocals are key in this song, that’s certain. The guitar solo comes out really well, also because the music as a whole is less voluminous, yet powerful enough. A very good start so far.
The keyboard melody that starts “In Everything” could fit in a sad song, but the fast Power Metal contrasts with it. however, the symphonic input, guiding the vocals, does help give the song a sad touch, although the lyrics probably are more positive (?). Speaking of fast: what an awesome, epic chorus! In this song there’s also room for instrumental talk, so much even it could have been (based on the music itself, not the amount) written by RHAPSODY OF FIRE (before the split between Luca and Alex): a bit of Neo-Classical Metal with furious drums. After the solo, DERDIAN frontman Ivan Giannini sings in his native/Italian language, after which another round of Neo-Classical Metal is on before kicking in the chorus again and working so towards the end. No complaints from my part, the band is on the right track.
“Mafia”, as you might expect from the title, is a ballsy song, where heavy guitars dominate. Of course, drums have to follow suit, as they pound along, firm and aggressive in sound. THIS IS METAL! An excellent song for live performances. When the orchestrations mingle with the guitars, the music sounds a little progressive. The chorus, however, is of the straight-forward kind and reminded me somehow of the Spanish band ARWEN. The progressive influence can also be noticed halfway, when it’s instrumental time, including solos. As the song gets back on track afterwards, it gets into speed modus, rushing to the end in a Thrashy manner.
Contrary to its title, the piano intro of “These Rails Will Bleed” sounds quite joyful. And in comes the pounding Neo-Classical Power Metal with striaght-forward verses, RHAPSODY OF FIRE-style, and a pounding chorus. Ivan’s accent is a bit annoying, even if it’s something many Italian singers suffer from. It forms a small black spot on the song(s), and the singing isn’t always spot on. That or my ears are fooling me. The second part of the song is faster, as if time was running out. Still, this is another qualitative track. “Absolute Power” starts with hymnic building, pushed onwards by the guitar. It’s a midtempo track, where keyboards (and orchestrations) lead. But the rhythm and bombast also play their roles, especially in the bridge and chorus. The variation in tempos makes the listening more pleasant, I find. A symphonic/piano break splits the song in two, paving the way for the obligatory solo moment before returning to business.
“Write Your Epitaph” is a midtempo, Poppy song. Or melodic Heavy Metal in a lighter and simpler version. Not bad, but nothing super either, in my opinion. Thankfully there’s “Music Is Life” to rectify the situation. This song is about the love for music and life and how the two are intertwined. Neo-Classical Metal to begin with, and thundering, rapid drums in the chorus. The verses are lighter, very melodic as well and really convey that feeling of happiness. Why not add a Jazzy piano break before unleashing the Power Metal again? Yes, they did. It all makes the song so tasty. However, the singing is again not the strongest element. Yep, the accent.
Aha, a little suspense? “Gods Don’t Give A Damn” starts with metallic bursts while the piano carries on playing its tune. It sounds pretty theatrical, almost like TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. After this the song really takes off into Power Metal modus. This is, in short, another very good melodic Prog/Power song. “After The Storm”, that was “Gods Don’t Give A Damn”, it’s time for a resting point, a ballad. The piano is key, for obvious reasons, and also predictably, full power is set in the chorus. It’s an ok song, but nothing super. That’s the tricky part about ballads. It’s hard to make it interesting/captivating.
With “Alone” the band puts the Power Metal train back on the tracks and goes for nothing less than high speed to catch up. There are some Proggy influences again, also in the solo part. The chorus is where full, hymnic power is let loose. More Neo-Classical stuff? Why, yes, as the intro of “Delirium” clearly shows. Is that (the sound of) a harpsichord? Humpa Metal takes over command then, accelerating once the song really is flowing. And this time it’s all about the music. And totally devoid of vocals. Ballads are tricky, but so are instrumental songs. However, it seems DERDIAN is better at the latter than at the former. Last but certainly not least, “My Life Back”. This is a midtempo track, also with the classic ingredients. The power of Metal comes out especially halfway, whereas the focus shifts to instrumental talk in the second half, although there’s still room for singing. The piano puts everything to an end.
DERDIAN had a certain charisma so many years ago, when their debut album came out. The follow-up continued in the same direction, but with album no. 3 things were different. The band had taken a different Power Metal train, one that lacked the punch, the force of the previous one. It seems that with “Limbo” (what I heard on YouTube at the time of writing this) and certainly with “Human Reset” they managed to change again at the nearest station and for the better. Food for fans of RHAPSODY OF FIRE, DGM, DARK MOOR, and similar. Powerful, melodic songs with a powerful production, as it should be. One of the best albums this year.
- Human Reset
- In Everything
- These Rails Will Bleed
- Absolute Power
- Write Your Epitaph
- Music Is Life
- Gods Don’t Give A Damn
- After The Storm
- My Life Back
Ivan Giannini – vocals
Enrico Pistolese – guitar
Dario Radaelli – guitar
Marco Garau – keyboards
Marco Banfi – bass
Salvatore Giordano – drums