Visions Of Atlantis – Wanderers
Visions Of Atlantis is a symphonic power metal band from Austria formed in 2000. Built from a love of the water and a fascination with seafaring people (pirates, not just average sailors), they’ve created a sound and a style that work for them. In 2019, they released an album that was supposed to take them around the world, touring everywhere they could. Alas, a pandemic hit, and live music was canceled worldwide. The tour with DragonForce was stalled by two full years, but at least it finally happened. If you think this band is good pre-recorded, you should see them own the stage live.
- Clémentine Delauney – Female Vocals
- Michele Guaitoli – Male Vocals
- Christian Douscha – Guitars
- Herbert Glos – Bass
- Thomas Caser – Drums
Wanderer is VOA’s seventh full-length album and the first with male vocalist Michael Guaitoli. Clementine Delauney returns for her second disc along with Christian Douscha and Herbert Glos. The veteran Thomas Caser, the only remaining original member, rounds out the cast on this record. There is more ballad-like material on this disc. The previous record has a regular and a power ballad. This one has more. The tale is lighter, and the cover art reflects that, using softer tones and images.
- Release My Symphony
- Heroes Of The Dawn
- Nothing Lasts Forever
- A Journey To Remember
- A Life Of Our Own
- To The Universe
- Into The Light
- The Silent Scream
- The Siren & The Sailor
- At The End Of The World
- Bring The Storm
- In And Out Of Love (Armin van Buuren Cover)
This record opens with an ethereal, haunting piece on keys. “Release My Symphony” has a hard-driving riff. The verses are more subdued, relying more on the keyboard than the guitars. The vocals stay relatively separate for the verses, then join for the chorus. The rhythm is nice and heavy, though slightly light on drums in some areas. The harmonies from the two voices are pretty good, and the background vocalizations add a lot of character to the song.
“Heroes Of The Dawn” again opens gently. This time, they have a wind instrument bring the song to life, using that same piece to carry over into the song and effectively introduce the riff. This is more power metal, less symphonic metal. The melodic riff leading into the guitar solo is really nice. I like the placement of the twists and turns VOA use on this album. It feels like it was carefully thought out, not just slapped together to create a series of noises.
“Nothing Lasts Forever” is the first ballad on the record. Leaning towards the power ballad, the guitar work is nice and heavy while not trying to overpower the rest of the song. The solo is measured and tempered, adding in just enough flair to qualify for power over a standard ballad. The layered strings and keys add the extra bit of symphonic this piece really needed to make it sound just right.
The opening to “A Journey To Remember” is more bombastic. It crashes in with a ton of flair dynamic grandeur. The riff is nice and chunky. The rhythm is faster and fuller than the previous track, definitely more into the power metal end of their repertoire, though it does not ignore the symphonic; instead, they maneuver through the shifts with expertise and precision.
We get more heavy music with “A Life Of Our Own.” Both vocalists show off their power and prowess. They go from airy and tempered to belting in a heartbeat on their own and come together for excellent harmonies around the chorus. The trade-offs between the male and female vocals in this song are some of the most pronounced, possibly because of the changes happening around shorter phrases. Either way, it works very well for them.
“To The Universe” is a hard-driving rhythm with a lot of flair in the keys and strings during the intro. We hear more fascinating harmonies on this one. Michele and Clementine have a chemistry that works for them. They can keep pace with each other with ease. And they both fit well into the music. These songs are written to their strengths, highlighting their abilities and challenging them to be their best at any given moment.
The next ballad is “Into The Light.” Opening with haunted, ethereal piano and Clementine using a lot of breathiness in her lower register, this excellent song displays another facet of the band. Quiet and melancholy, this song is a moving transition from the bombastic offerings to VOA’s more melodic music. The little runs and vibrato movements of Clementine’s voice really showcase a skill set that does not get highlighted as often. She pulled out all the stops for this one.
Going back to heavy, “The Silent Scream” heads in a more power metal direction while showing a bit of symphonic skill with the keys. Alternating individual and paired phrases on the vocals is something you don’t hear often, but they do well. Of particular note in this song is the short but very well-paced guitar solo. This one is solid and beautifully placed in the music.
Opening with the symphonic sounds, VOA do so well, “The Siren And The Sailor” is a big song. The keys are used in the intro to create a lot of oomph for those notes. The riff is killer, a bit choppy, but solid as any on the record. It gives the song a rapid-fire feel over a consistent barrage. Then, “Wanderers” goes back to light and melodic. The lone piano is full of despair and melancholy. You feel the longing in this song without a single word. When the lyrics kick in, you hear it and feel it. Not all bands can do this. VOA does it beautifully.
“At The End Of The World” almost steps into glam metal at one point but jumps back into the power metal arena with those drums that come in hammering hard. The keyboards and guitars are not the stars of the show here. The rhythm actually comes to the forefront and seizes the spotlight. They do this very well and again show another facet of what VOA is capable of.
Back to the heavy, they dare to “Bring The Storm.” Michele goes dark with his vocals, venturing lower into his register for the first verse. When Clementine comes in, they both head up and go full belting. The verses are murky and hint more at the depths of the waters, then the chorus heads for the surface, but the roiling seas keep it rough. This is a fun song. The shifts aren’t the most dramatic on the record, but they are very present and well done.
“In And Out Of Love” closes the record out. The only cover tune on the record, they give it an excellent VOA treatment. Clementine uses a lot of emotion in her vocals, going through major progressions with just her instrument. She almost whispers, she belts, she runs, she cries. She does it all. This may not be the biggest test of her vocal capabilities, but it is an impressive display of her prowess and a great way to wrap this disc.
Much of this record reminds me of the middle section of the Nightwish discography. I hear late Tarja era melodies and early Annett vocal influences. That said, do not try to pigeonhole this band into a single genre or style. They are fully capable of moving in, through, and around as they please. I really like how VOA can effortlessly flow back and forth from power to symphonic. There is never any question about their skill level as musicians or songwriters.
Having seen them live recently, I can also attest to their excellence in performing these songs live. They write songs that translate very well on stage. You can feel the band’s chemistry when they perform. One of the things I liked about the show is that they had the sound turned down just a bit, which often gives the advantage of being able to hear everything more clearly. VOA sounded really good live; the mix was phenomenal. The guitars did not overshadow the bass, and the drums hit with just the right amount of power. Neither vocalist overpowered the other. It was a terrific show. Visions Of Atlantis is an all-around band.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.60