DerdianI had the pleasure of reviewing Derdian’s last release, 2013’s self released “Limbo” for Ave Noctum, and the biggest surprise that 2014 holds (other than that the band have trusted me to review them again!) is that they still don’t have a record label! Maybe they’ve decided they don’t need one, or maybe no-one is signing Progressive Metal bands at the moment, but it’s certainly not down to a lack of talent in the band or their ability to write great songs. Maybe the group have decided they can do without a deal because they do seem to record entire album’s as a signed band would – normally there is obvious “Look What We Can Do – Sign Us” moments on many self-releases, but everything from the packaging through to the quality of recording is of the highest quality.

The Sci-fi, Falling Skies style, Alien invasion, No-hope-for-mankind artwork denotes that lyrically this is no fantasy land whimsy-fest (An Italian Symphonic Metal band with no Dragons??? Maybe they’re hiding in the space-ships!), but Derdian have always favoured a gritty concept. Musically, the band are continuing on from their last release, exploring the new line-up and pushing their limits. All the bands I compared them to last time are still in evidence to varying degrees, still with a bias towards Rhapsody Of Fire in the main. They don’t actually sound just like them, they are just their nearest comparison – and not on every track – ‘Write Your Epitaph’ reminds me of Silent Force, ‘Music Is Life’ is reminiscent of Angra and ‘Human Reset’ itself has a classic Helloween feel to it. All styles that the band pull off effortlessly.

The pick of the tracks for me though is probably ‘Mafia’, where Derdian just seem to be themselves and I can’t really find any particular comparison. Blending Prog, Power and Symphonic Metal perfectly. Just the right mix of orchestration/keys, intricate drumming, chunky guitar, melody, and a grandiose chorus. If this is the true sound of Derdian, then I’d love to hear more.

Now OK, the pickiest out there can argue that if Derdian are doing nothing particularly new or different, therefore why sign them? But Derdian are doing what they do to the highest quality on a small budget (though you wouldn’t know it from the sound on offer here!) and this time around I feel that their own identity is striving to break through and it would be nice if a label backed them and nurtured it. Tell y’wot, If I was in an unsigned Prog Metal band at the moment I would fear the worst, because if Derdian can’t get a decent deal then what hope hope for anyone else of a similar style?

(7.5/10 Andy Barker)