Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates
Visions Of Atlantis is a symphonic power metal band from Austria formed in 2000. Finally matching their aesthetic to the album name, 2022 is the year Visions Of Atlantis releases a record titled Pirates. Fresh off a tour of the United States, Pirates allowed the band to immediately begin a new album cycle in Europe. Their next trip to the US will be as a headliner with any luck. VOA is definitely ready for a headlining tour. They have a solid lineup and a killer new record to promote.
- Clémentine Delauney – Female Vocals
- Michele Guaitoli – Male Vocals
- Christian Douscha – Guitars
- Herbert Glos – Bass
- Thomas Caser – Drums
VOA has put together their most ambitious set of songs to date. There were no personnel changes from the previous album, and it seems pretty apparent this unit is feeling pretty confident. They pushed the boundaries from their last two albums, going bigger in their compositions and bolder with their performances. Pirates was unleashed via Napalm Records on May 13, 2022.
- Pirates Will Return
- Melancholy Angel
- Master The Hurricane
- Legion Of The Seas
- Wild Elysium
- Darkness Inside
- In My World
- Heal The Scars
- I Will Be Gone
Opening with a somber piano and some ethereal keyboards and haunting vocalizations, “Pirates Will Return” is a nicely paced song with a killer guitar riff. Clementine is her usual fantastic self. Her vocals effortlessly go from a bold chest voice to a soaring head voice. Michele weaves his grit into his cleans with precision. Together, with or without the backing choir, they harmonize beautifully.
Meanwhile, the power metal backbone is ramrod straight and standing tall. The rhythm goes from subdued and calm to bombastic and aggressive, then back again. This song sets the tempo for the rest of the record, acting as the opening chapter of the tale.
“Melancholy Angel” was the second single released. Again, the opening is with a piano, but the body of the song hits a little quicker. The riff is heavy and chunky, while the rhythm is solid. The sustained bass notes throughout give a cool foundation for the vocals when there is a bit of a drop-off from the rest of the band. This adds some tension to the feel of the song, as do the darker guitar leads and solo. This song feels pretty heavy musically and emotionally.
The latest single and video is for “Master The Hurricane.” At almost eight minutes, this is an epic power metal song in the purest form. The guitars are fast and heavy, and the rhythm is pounding until the first verse. That’s when everything drops into a slow-paced, almost ballad-like tune. VOA finally decided to really show off some of their progressive metal chops, and I’m here for it! This song is one of the biggest and best they’ve ever done. The backing vocals and choir elements make this song tower over the soundscape. This song needs to anchor their live show on this tour.
“Clocks” opens acapella before the guitar/keyboard riff comes in and blasts you right in the earholes. The backing rhythm is catchy and really sets a great base for the lead work and vocals. The string intro on “Freedom” is gentle and relaxing. Both vocalists come in clean and serene while more strings filter into the melody. I love the build this song has. It’s patient and well-timed, never getting in a hurry. This is a satisfying ballad with plenty of emotion and lots of care taken to make sure it strikes the right chord with the listener.
This is followed by “Legions Of The Sea,” a nice, aggressive power metal track. That rhythm is excellent, fueled by a killer riff and some bombastic keyboard work. Similarly, “Wild Elysium” has a nice intro that shows more of the band’s over-the-top sound. The emotion of Michele’s vocals on this track is fantastic. He throws a bit of cry into his voice at times, creating an even larger sound by using different tones.
“Darkness Inside” is my favorite intro by far on this record. That opening is amazing! The song is phenomenal, possessing an excessive amount of sound from all the instruments in just the right way. The composition is over the top and one of the most enormous walls of sound I’ve heard in recent memory. This is what power metal is meant to be. “In My World” continues the wall of sound, just slightly more subdued. The bass coming to the forefront is a nice touch. The drums using intermittent builds add some killer touches to the song. Power metal is a genre that showcases all instruments, and this is the song where VOA honors that tradition.
Adding in horns, VOA gives us “Mercy,” another track that extends the sound this band can achieve. The variety of instruments VOA use is spectacular and should be continued from here on. More of this, please! I’m hearing horn sections in more songs these days, and this is one of the best examples of how to do it properly. “Heal The Scars” is another ballad used to set up the finale for this epic tale. We know the journey is about to conclude, and the hero will return home victorious.
This new epic tale wraps with “I Will Be Gone,” five-plus minutes of shifting music. The intro uses wind instruments to lead into a heavy riff. The gentle verses belie the vast chorus. The song has a bit of progressive metal that ties into power metal. Not Dream Theater prog, but it still shows an ability to shift gears quickly and at the perfect moment musically. This is a fantastic finish to a stunning album.
Once again, Visions Of Atlantis have shown they have the skills necessary to pull off one of the best power metal albums of the year. The dual vocal prowess of Clementine and Michele is one of the best pairings in music. They are beyond words. The band behind them, Christian, Herbert, and Thomas, are just as good, wrapping their sounds around the lyrics like a loving embrace. VOA has matured musically and lyrically over the past two decades, becoming a major force in metal. They are indeed one of the giants now.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 10
- Overall – 10