Shardana EP

Written by: GR on 28/12/2010 22:29:49

Shardana are a 4 piece hailing from the autonomous Italian island of Sardinia - not a place known for its heavy metal, you probably agree. What it does have, however, is a rich history ripe for song-writing inspiration. The band take their name from the "Sardinian pirate folk who sailed the Mediterranean Sea in the second millennium BC" and have crafted a set of songs based around tales of these ancestors.

Don't think, though, that this is just another band ploughing the 'pirate metal' furrow, as this (their first) self-titled and self-released EP shows Shardana to have a variety of musical influences and to not be concerned with sounding 'piratey' or any such gimmick. What is contained within the 5 tracks is a mix of epic, folk, power, heavy and hints of more extreme metal, creating a sound that isn't entirely simple to pin down. This helps keeps things interesting but does have you wondering just where the band are coming from on first listen. The intro song "Anthem" builds the folky sounds of bagpipes upon booming war drums and the sound of the sea before leading into "Shardana (Sea Folk)", a heroic sounding fast-paced number with a catchy riff and memorable chorus. The end of this song is also a tribute to Bathory's Quorthorn, which should give you more of an idea where the foundations of Shardana's musical ideals lay.

Like many bands taking inspiration from their heritage, Shardana take the opportunity to sing in their native tongue as well as English, with the melodic "Sa Battalla" ('The Battle') sung in Sardinian, a factor that makes it sound all the more authentic - it being about a battle in 1409 that saw the end of Sardinian independence. What becomes apparent by the end of the EP (finishing off with "Back To Homeland" and "The Doom That Came To Sarnath") is that Shardana's strength lays in their ability to write some excellent riffs and combine them with bits from the sub-genres mentioned above - from clean-sung power/folk to growled heaviness - in a way that makes for very enjoyable listening. Being a self-recorded venture, this isn't exactly a polished affair but neither is it a shoddy effort either. I must admit at first it seemed like different influences had been clumsily chucked together without an ear for the sound as a whole, but repeated listens have revealed the EP to be a very promising addition to the broad tag of 'epic metal'.

Download: Shardana (Sea Folk), Sa Battalla
For The Fans Of: Elvenking, Waylander, Blind Guardian, Bathory

Listen: Myspace

Release Date 24.04.2010

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