Eternal Light
Anubi's Call

Adrenaline/Steelheart
2005

Why haven't I heard of Derdian until now? Granted, symphonic Italian power metal ain't exactly my bag. But on their first album, these guys do the style so flawlessly, I wonder why their name isn't up there with certain others in the recent resurgence of power metal.

Maybe it's due to lack of ego. Everyone in this group can play - the singer hits his notes, the guitarists shred and sweep, the keyboards keep step with the guitars, and the drums are precise and thundering. But no one element rises above the others. Despite their chops, the band plays for its songs, and thus it avoids the ridiculous showmanship that's frequent in this genre.

As with other power metal, you have to reset your cheese meter here. Expect galloping riffs, keyboard-guitar unisons, lyrics about sacred steel, and so on. The artwork follows suit, with layout that falls somewhere between a church tract and high school yearbook. But in terms of writing and playing, the music is airtight. You can pick this up from the band's MySpace.