REVIEW: Visions of Atlantis – Pirates

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Each rock and metal band out there seeks to create its own sonic universe, write songs about specific themes, or chase a particular soundscape. Symphonic metal unit VISIONS OF ATLANTIS have been trying to build their world around the idea of travels, freedom, and adventures on the high seas since their beginning, but with increasingly more emphasis on it on their last couple of albums. After “The Deep and the Dark” (2018) and “Wanderers” (2019), an album with a title like “Pirates” fits pretty easily in the narrative they are creating, while also furthering their musical goals. This new album will be released on May 13th, 2022, via Napalm Records.

Since French soprano Clementine Delauney and Italian vocalist Michele Guaitoli (TEMPERANCE) joined the band in 2013 and 2018 respectively, the band has gained more momentum in the metal scene and for a rather good reason, as their brand of symphonic metal with touches of Euro power, juxtaposing male and female vocals, charming melodies, and rich orchestral arrangements has a wide appeal among fans of the genre. And why wouldn’t it? It’s easy on the ears and more often than not makes for a more than enjoyable listening experience. This is the case with the band’s two aforementioned albums. The downside is that this genre can also easily become a case of style over substance, as the music in itself is beautifully made with dreamlike soundscapes, gorgeous melodies, and wonderful vocals, but when it comes to both the lyrics and song structures, there isn’t much there that wasn’t heard before.

Although “Pirates” does boast some symphonic metal-by-the-numbers –type of tracks, it also has a few that stand out from the crowd either because of the instrumentals, composition, or vocal delivery. The first single released, “Legion of the Seas,” already set the tone for the rest of the album with epic backing orchestrations, soaring melodies, and even some operatic vocals on a rather heavy instrumental backbone. Second single “Melancholy Angel,” despite having a title that would make one mistake this track for a ballad, is actually a catchy and energetic number, made even more powerful by the headbang-ish rhythm and harmonizing vocals of the two vocalists. Clementine Delauney’s lilting voice fits perfectly with VISIONS OF ATLANTIS’ symphonic/epic sound, adding nuances to the lyrics she sings, while Michele Guaitoli’s voice caters to the band’s power metal styling – the two making for a great and balanced vocal duo.

Album highlight “Master the Hurricane” is pretty much all a symphonic metal epic should be – atmospheric, grand, dramatic, and quite emotional with its guitar melodies, subtle piano notes, and backing choirs that enhance the atmosphere, all drenched in lush orchestrations. Little wonder the band was so eager to play it live on their North American tour with DRAGONFORCE and SEVEN SPIRES in March. Out of the two ballads on this album – “Freedom” and “Heal the Scars” – the latter is the real gem, as Clementine Delauney’s soft vocal delivery enchants the listener from start to finish while she sings about lost love and heartache. She is superbly accompanied by flutes and bagpipes, courtesy of Ben Metzner (FEUERSCHWANZ). The band also flirts with some Celtic melodies on this album, melodies that are especially evident on the album’s closer, “I Will Be Gone,” a seductive folky piece with a lively soundscape of flutes and bagpipes and mellow, soulful vocal passages.   

As for the other tracks, “Clocks” follows the same antics as “Melancholy Angel,” being a high-energy, dynamic track with a catchy sing-along chorus that enhances the melodies. “Wild Elysium” has a power metal á la KAMELOT –type of vibe to it, with pounding drums that accent the rhythms, melodic guitars, and harmonizing vocal deliveries. On the other hand, “Darkness Inside” has a wonderful piano melody at its core that makes this song all the more delightful and bright, thus counterbalancing the darkness of “Wild Elysium.” Both “In My World” and “Mercy” are as enjoyable as they are delightful. For the variety of sounds and moods the album offers, it’s pretty consistent in its delivery of quality metal tracks, though at this point VISIONS OF ATLANTIS should try to hone in their sound instead of trying to expand it in various directions.  

To sum it up, “Pirates” is a diverse album and a step above “Wanderers,” as it showcases a band that finally has a good grasp of their sound. It still needs a bit more work to actually make it their own but VISIONS OF ATLANTIS are on the right path and have all the elements in place to flourish and bloom like a beautiful spring flower. So, if you love the drama and charm of symphonic metal, then this is definitely an album worth checking out, though it may take a few listens to take in all the melodies and swells it has to offer.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  • 1. Pirates Will Return
  • 2. Melancholy Angel
  • 3. Master The Hurricane
  • 4. Clocks
  • 5. Freedom
  • 6. Legion of The Seas
  • 7. Wild Elysium
  • 8. Darkness Inside
  • 9. In My World
  • 10. Mercy
  • 11. Heal The Scars
  • 12. I Will Be Gone

Line-up

Clémentine Delauney – Vocals 
Michele Guaitoli – Vocals
Dushi Duscha – Guitars
Herbert Glos – Bass        
Thomas Caser – Drums

Label

Napalm Records

Links

Website     |     Facebook     |     Instagram     |     Napalm Records