It’s time to batten down the hatches and embark upon a perilous yet fantastical journey across an ocean of Symphonic metal as you experience the new album ‘The Deep & The Dark’ from Austria’s Visions of Atlantis (V.O.A.), released February 16th, 2018 on Napalm Records.
Jostling the crew and changing the lineup, ‘The Deep & The Dark’ sees the lead vocals change hands once again, passing the wheel to French mezzo Clementine Delauney for her to steer the
symphonic powerhouse of V.O.A. towards a much richer and alluring depth. Though, an extra layer of heaviness would have benefitted this album incredibly, there’s still enough poke to keep you
listening until the end.
Complemented throughout by the vocals of Siegfried Samer, ‘The Deep & The Dark’ kicks off this hugely theatrical fantasy album with aplomb. Strong and bold the music is full of drama, twists and turns, rises and falls, brief fleeting moments of intensity and galloping verses. The all too familiar feeling of a ship fleeing port, heading out to lonely islands; themes of love, loss and discovery; and heading out to the deep and dark of what awaits them out at sea, the crew of V.O.A manage to weave an atmosphere of fantasy and discovery with this album.
Each track takes you further along on the voyage. ‘Return To Lemuria’ feels uplifting and confident, while ‘Ritual Night’ gives a greater depth to the music, an almost under tone of darker forces
at work here as the impressively rich vocals form Delauney caress the airwaves. ‘The Silent Mutiny’ delivers a more feral intensity than previous tracks and I like the slightly hard edge to the
guitar riffs, keys and drums. The same galloping rhythm keeps the ship very much on course as we traverse into ‘Book Of Nature’, vocals soaring high and rich above the instruments while the theme of
nature being destroyed by man is confronted in the huge track, “Time to confess, Bloody progress has led our world to its fall. Book of Nature, The real adventure, Remains unknown to us all.”
‘The Last Home’ is a welcome respite from the theatrical heavy symphonic metal, replacing all that with a ballad that expresses heartache, loss and pain. The piano introduction is punctuated by the soulfully expressive vocals from Delauney, heartfelt and powerful throughout. Truly beautiful.
Away with the soft stuff, we return to some heavier and intensely motivating riffs from ‘The Grand Illusion’. Siegfried Samer taking the lead on this one, his richly soothing voice carries through to the bridge where Delauney fills in and the two vocalists gallop through the song with enthusiasm, fast pace and urgency. The riffs come thick and fast on this one, producing an overall cohesive unit that works so well. ‘Dead Reckoning’ with deeper bass tones and seafaring legs, is full of enriching depth to start with but disappointingly that wonderful build suddenly drops off when the vocals kick in. I would have liked to hear the continuation of the intensity, though there is an awesome riff thrown in to alleviate my woes which is quite delightful.
‘Words Of War’ has an electronic edge to the intro, all synth and heavy riffs that work really well in illuminating and elevating the fantasy theme that underpins the whole album. Vocally, once again I can’t fault anything. Strong and fierce, Delauney and Samer power through the fast paced bridge and choruses with perfection. Sinking back into the heartfelt moments we are treated again to a piano intro in ‘Prayer To The Lost’, Delauney taking lead with the vocal prowess that she so easily displays. Unlike ‘The Last Home’ there is a feeling of uplifting hope to ‘Prayer To The Lost’; a beautifully delivered track that brings the album to a wonderful close with such wonderfully heartfelt lyrics, “Don’t let your world shrink into sadness, Don’t let the cold widen the distance, Look into your heart to restore the faith in yourself. You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful today.”
To find to more from Visions of Atlantis check out their Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/visionsofatlantisofficial/
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