Scardust play sumptuous symphonic metal with some progressive elements added in to enhance proceedings.
Usually I find a lot of this kind of thing very generic and I usually lose interest quickly, but bloody Hell Scardust are an exception to this. Sands of Time is a very professional, accomplished, and well-realised release, with both catchy appeal and memorable depth.
This is an ambitious and rich work, full of different textures and moods spread out lavishly across the 54 minute playing time.
The music features vibrant, lively metal that’s accompanied by strings, piano, and choirs. A couple of guest vocalists make appearances too. I like that the drums and guitars in particular don’t slack in the presence department; Scardust have clearly remembered that despite the ornamentation of their music they are a metal band first and foremost.
The music is well-written and very well-performed. There’s an exceptionally good balance between the orchestral elements, power metal vigour, dramatic theatrics, atmospheric depth, progressive complexity, and instant-appeal metal riffs. Normally one of these might dominate, but even though they all have their particular moments, overall they’re represented roughly equally.
The aforementioned complexity of the music is one of the aspects of Scardust’s delivery that helps tip them over into interesting and worthwhile territories when compared to a lot of their peers. Some of the guitar solos in particular are extremely enjoyable, but this complexity and progressive musicality is not limited to just the guitars, and there’s a lot of involving, engaging playing by all of the instruments. This is especially true as the album progresses.
The lead vocals are performed by a singer with an impressive voice. Her clean vocals are the crowning centrepiece in the album’s rich, lavish production, bringing everything into focus and enhancing the music without eclipsing it. She has a tremendous range, and can move from operatic-styled singing, to power metal cleans, to harsh growls at the drop of a hat.
Sands of Time is a very strong release. It puts me in mind of the mid 00s era of symphonic metal, and fans of classics by the likes of Nightwish, Epica, and Within Temptation would be well-advised to check this out. How this band haven’t been snapped up by one of the larger metal labels is beyond me.
If you’re into this kind of thing, I’d say that Sands of Time is a damn near essential listen.