REVIEW: VISIONS OF ATLANTIS – “Pirates”
After pretty much stealing the show (with Seven Spires) during the latest Dragonforce tour, Visions of Atlantis are releasing their new album called ‘’Pirates’’. The Austrian wayfarers are back after 2019’s Wanderers and releasing an excellent live album back in 2020 which I reviewed for another site. They played one new song during their latest North American Tour and the fan reaction was massive so it’s time to get excited about this new opus!
There has been a revolving door of members in this band since its birth back in 2000, even before that when they were called Vipera Aspis. The only founding member still with the band is Thomas Caser. They have had four other female vocalists and three other male vocalists. It’s not easy to get on track and really follow a band if they are constantly changing members obviously. After so much inner conflict, I am happy to see the resemblance of order and this is the third album with the French siren, Clémentine Delauney.
How can I describe Visions of Atlantis, they are the equivalent of something very cinematic. It has some depth and pure passion and it feels like you are watching a movie. The music is very story-driven and has some raw emotion with some rich lyrical content sung by one of the best female singers in the genre. It’s not an album, it’s always an experience with them and that’s been more the case since their changed lead singers.
The dueling vocalists are the focal point of the band, there is no preference throughout. The combination of Clémentine’s impressive range and Michele Guaitoli’s resounding voice is always a rare treat. They always had lyrical content that spoke about adventures, the trials, and tribulations of mythology, and tales of wonder. They felt like explorers traveling through the world, discovering all the beauty of the world, and what’s more exotic and mystical than the life of pirates?
Synergy, according to the English language dictionary is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects like the synergy between artists. Well, Visions of Atlantis has that figured out, the combination of both singers together is incredible. They complement each other marvelously and for once it’s not like the warm female vocals and the growls, because this time you have two artists with incredible voices. When they sing together it’s just majestic, they fit so well together, and they have this balance that is seamless. Clémentine has a calm soothing voice with some operatic elements thrown in (but it’s not overdone like early Nightwish thankfully). As for Michele, he has a very interesting voice, like the lovechild of Michael Kiske from Helloween and Tobias Sammet from Avantasia.
It’s impossible to overstate the comparisons between them and Epica. Epica have been the staple of the genre and the most complete band out there, but their last album fell flat for me. It felt too long, too drawn out and it was not as endearing and compelling as The Holographic Principle. Pirates on the other hand are going to be the measuring point for all bands out there and might be their big break in North America after all their success back in Europe.
I spoke about the band being very cinematic. We learn that in most cases, the word “cinematic” refers to the way we feel about something we’re watching or listening to. Does this feel like the movies? It could be something happening to us in our lives or something happening while we stream a movie at home, but cinematic language is so pervasive in our brains that it creates a thought process, allowing us to judge every moment of our lives against the things we have seen on screen. Pirates gives us a glance at comparing the life of 2022 to the debauchery and adventure of the pirate life…
The band fully embraces the theme of the album and becomes the main character of this opus. Their video clip really feels like we are entrenched in the story and feel part of it, we care about each character, each pirate. I know some people may consider it a very niche subject and ridiculous at times, but Visions of Atlantis portray it seriously and thoughtfully. It’s not overly cliched and they put time and effort into this album to make it their own, to make the subject more important than anything else yet displaying such grace and power. I was impressed by the maturity of the band, talking about something that has been akin to oversaturation over the last few decades. You feel like you are part of a quest, something quite epic.
This album provides us with a legitimate story ark and different chapters on the pirate legends. I love concept albums but when they are structured this way, it catches my attention. Do I have a favorite song? Probably not, I don’t see it as a single instance but more of a package. The flow is effortless, and you are transported to that way of life and time stands still. You do not see it pass by, but the album goes by without a hitch. As we continue to revolutionize the way we consume stories and music, more nuances will be brought within any concept album we listen to and this one stands tall.
‘Pirates’ lives up to its title, having a massive, almost romanticizing approach that was expansive yet also offered subtle moments. There was genuine joy and cohesion in the way it was presented, and the quality is undeniable. A band that has been there for over two decades and offering this quality of an album is a rare sight and Visions of Atlantis may have taken the throne of Symphonic Metal from the grasp of Epica and will explore countless other facets of the genre and add to its mysticism. They are taking the reigns of the genre and there is no stopping them.