- The Black Crystal Sword Saga...BEGINS!!!
Founded in 2006, Ancient Bards is a Symphonic Power Metal band hailing from Emilia-Romagna. They are well-known for two things: their high-energy Epic Rocking and an all-original High Fantasy narrative their entire discography so far was founded upon. The band gained further recognition when vocalist Sara Squadrani collaborated with Dutch prog project Ayreon as the Girl in The Theory of Everything, released 2013.
The first three albums of the Black Crystal Sword mythos revolves around an alliance of the monarchs of Lastworld, together with their messenger, on a quest to return the eponymous weapon after it was stolen by the dark wizard Sendor. After a long hiatus the band came back together to continue the saga, kicking off the second part with Origine in 2019.
- Martino Garattoni - bass (2006-present)
- Daniele Mazza - keyboards (2006-present)
- Claudio Pietronik - guitars (2007-present)
- Sara Squadrani - vocals (2007-present)
- Federico Gatti - drums (2011-present)
- Simone Bertozzi - guitars, vocals (2018-present)
- Alessandro Carichini - drums (2007-2011)
- Fabio Balducci - guitars (2007-2014)
The Black Crystal Sword Saga
- The Alliance of the Kings (2010)
- Soulless Child (2011)
- A New Dawn Ending (2014)
- Origine (2019)
The Black Crystal Trope Saga
Tropes concerning Ancient Bards in general
- Black Cloak: Sara used to wear a pimped-out cloak in her Alliance days. Come Soulless Child she's opted for a purplish-blue Badass Cape, then by A New Dawn Ending she's averted either trope completely.
- Determinator: Shooting the dark Performance Video parts for "Impious Dystopia" entailed the band endure temperatures as low as five degrees Celsius in the middle of the night as the pyrotechnics all around couldn't warm them enough. Sara in particular took this up in nothing but a lace gown over a Shorttank while enduring bilial colics. And she's proud of it!
- Epic Rocking: Lots.
- Foreign Language Title: "Oscurità" and the bilingual "Spiriti Liberi". Origine also counts.
- Greek Chorus: Provided by an actual choir.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: How the cover of Origine as well as the "Impious Dystopia" video depict Eirene. Lork is a bit more of a Green-Skinned Space Dude in the former and a shadowy figure playing with fire in the latter.
- Heavy Mithril: The Black Crystal Sword Saga. Need I say more?
- Large Ham: Heck, the instrumentation itself loves this trope!
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Soulless Child".
- Lyrical Dissonance: Their music seems to stay fairly consistent no matter what the mood of the lyrics is.
- Male Band, Female Singer
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A hard 7 for the most part, though they like to take it up to 8.
- Multilingual Song: Mostly English, but makes room for passages in Latin and even entire songs in their native Italian.
- Power Metal: OH HELL YES.
- Soprano and Gravel: Sixth Ranger axeman Simone provides a beastly gravel to Sara's mighty soprano.
- Spoken Word in Music: Quite a few.
- Symphonic Metal: Mostly with synths a la Nightwish but they love a good orchestra, too.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Their English lyrics would suffer this at any point in an album.
Tropes concerning the Black Crystal Sword Saga
- Grief Song/Heroic BSoD:
- Shena recalling her son's death as she watches Daltor and Sendor fight during "In My Arms".
- Eirene finding her father's dead body in "The Great Divide".
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- Sendor, by Daltor in "Showdown".
- The Supreme, by Lork in "Titanism".
- Power Crystal: All Life Energy in this universe flows through the White Crystal. You can also use it to forge a Cool Sword that can trap demons, although it's kinda easy to shatter.
- Self Empowerment Anthem: "Light" is this for Eirene.
- Some of Daltor's passages in "To the Master of Darkness" as well.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Lork, and to some extent, Daltor.
- All for Nothing: Sendor uses the Black Crystal Sword to bring back Dorus' soul in "Hope Dies Last" but to no avail.
- Arc Number: In The Alliance of the Kings, 4. The Alliance is composed of Lastworld's four monarchs (Daltor the King of Westland, Alron the Prince of the North, Rahed the King of Elves, and Shena the Queen of the Icy Forest). Also, "Four Magic Elements".
- Black Magic
- Black Swords Are Better: There's even a White Crystal Sword mentioned in this first part of the saga, but the Black one has a demon trapped inside.
- Came Back Wrong: "Soulless Child" narrates how Sendor went to extreme lengths to revive his and Shena's dead son who came back a Soulless Shell.
- Collapsing Lair: "In the End".
- Death by Origin Story/Troubled Backstory Flashback: "All That Is True" and "Flaming Heart".
- Death World: Noland is almost devoid of civilization and even the seas no longer hold life.
- Driven to Suicide: Daltor's father. And then you find out Sendor made him do it.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Fire, ice, water, and thunder make the "Four Magic Elements" mentioned in Alliance.
- From Bad to Worse: During "Showdown" Daltor manages to shatter the Black Crystal Sword and by "A New Dawn Ending" he and his gang pick up the pieces just as Sendor's castle begins to fall. And then it's revealed, by his father, that by shattering the sword, Daltor actually freed the Dark Demon trapped inside it.
- Heroic Second Wind: "The Last Resort".
- Idiot Ball:
- Sendor and Daltor in A New Dawn Ending. Sendor's former lover Shena already told him souls can't simply be brought back with magic, not even theirs combined, and not even of the Black Crystal Sword. But Sendor, mad with desire to bring back their son Surod, uses the Sword for that purpose anyway, All for Nothing.
- And now Daltor's case: sure, he meant well to fight Sendor and shattering the Black Crystal Sword seemed to be the only way to overpower him, but how much did he know about that eldritch demon that blackened the crystal that trapped it in the first place?!
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: In "Daltor the Dragonhunter", Daltor faces a black dragon which he finds out to be the guardian of the Artifact of Doom commanded by Sendor to kill the dragonhunter. The dragon seizes Daltor, dropping his silver sword (which is then entrusted to Dorus) and leaving the rest of his gang to believe he had been killed.
- MacGuffin Title: The Black Crystal Sword gives its wielder immense strength and magical powers and even immortality.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Taken literally when Daltor shatters the Black Crystal Sword.
- Not Too Dead to Save the Day: At the last minute (or more precisely the last track of Soulless Child), Daltor, with dragon, crashes into the sight of his fellow kings as well as Dorus lying on the ground, and picks up his silver sword, ending the album with an oncoming battle royale between Daltor and Sendor.Daltor: Raise the sword! For the glory and peace, let the fight begin!
- Quarreling Song: "Soulless Child" between Sendor and Shena. The former berates the latter for refusing to use her magic to save their child, while Shena claims not even the Black Crystal Sword can bring his soul back.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Dorus? Surod.
- Uncanny Valley: In-universe, Dorus. Shena senses this in "Frozen Mind".
- Unwitting Pawn: Dorus. Not that he knows.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sendor just wants his son back.
- The Worf Effect: "Through My Veins" oversees the Alliance battling Sendor, whose grip on the Black Crystal Sword imbues him with power, but getting defeated one by one in the process, forcing them to retreat.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Daltor recounts his wrongs and vanity and subsequent Character Development in "A Greater Purpose" as he's about to face a wildly-empowered Sendor and the Black Crystal Sword.
- Double Entendre: "Oscurità" can either refer to the darkness Lork is sowing and growing in his own heart, or, the obscurity that his father seems to have relegated him to despite dedicating his life to him and the White Crystal.
- Fantasy Counterpart Religion: The one described in "Origine" oozes particularly with Buddhist influence.
- Females Are More Innocent: In "Aureum Legacy", the father gives Eirene, much to Lork's dismay, the White Crystal, as he senses his son still had some issues to sort out.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Lork says this verbatim in "Oscurità", trying to justify why he should've been the one to inherit the White Crystal.
- In Medias Res: "Impious Dystopia".
- Madness Mantra: There's not a hint of dark in me, no hint of dark in me, no hint of dark, no darkness in me...
- Meaningful Name: "Eirene" is a variation on Irene, the name of the Greek goddess of peace.
- A Minor Kidroduction: "Fantasy's Wings" introduces siblings Lork and Eirene running around as a festival for the Supreme is being set up around town.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Almost verbatim in "The Hollow".
- Place of Power: The White Crystal World.
- Single Tear: "The Great Divide" part two.
- Start of Darkness/FaceHeel Turn: The entire Origine album for Lork.
- You Are in Command Now: The Chief of the Rejects passes the torch to an exiled Lork, knowing he ran from home after murdering his father.
- You Killed My Father: Eirene is urged by her grandfather in "The Great Divide" part three to forge the White Crystal Sword and avenge her father.