Visions of Atlantis: Delta
Visions of Atlantis is an Austrian symphonic metal band on the Napalm Records label that I have been following for about two years. I have all of their albums, except for the Morning in Atlantis album. I have been watching all of the changes they have been going through since their last album Trinity, which is my favorite, as well as the process of selecting a new female vocalist. They have chosen Maxi Nil, a Greek singer from the band Moonspell. She does a fantastic job of taking over the reins and her showcase, "Reflections" is one of the highlights of this album.
Martin Harb's keyboards and Thomas Caser's drums are excellent throughout this album. The guitars are solid and Maxi Nil brings a whole new spirit to the band. There is more raw emotion and passion on display throughout this album than I think most of their previous albums. So far, this is one of the better releases of the year.
Play it loud!
"Delta" opens with a full rush of pounding drums, guitars and synths on "Black River Delta". The almost orchestral beginning on this album makes this one of the best tracks. Shortly after this triumphant opening, we hear Maxi's first vocals on a VoA album. Maxi's vocals cry triumphantly "I won't leave this world alone." This album leaps to life after the long frustrating wait for its release. There is a pent up passion that springs forth immediately from those drums and soaring electric guitar chords. The triumphant orchestral keys and synth support is overwhelming and really lights up the soundscape, especially when played at full volume. Off to a great rocket-launched start!
Then, they slow things down a little with an early anthem, from Maxi's vocals, "Memento". This song opens with what sounds like a small orchestra of strings and synths before Maxi sings, "The shadows that fade in me. Is this the reality?" More strings, synths, and pounding drums follow, before Mario Plank's vocals forcefully break through. The drums and roaring guitars fly high as Maxi's vocals join in, creating unbelievable power and emotion to elevate the sound of the piece. Maxi's high pitched vocals are just beautiful, and you can hear why she was the perfect match for this band. Together Maxi and Mario share a brief operatic vocal duet moment which just has to be heard and experienced. Maxi's vocals call us to "follow me", triumphantly.
"New Dawn", blasts out with full blown speed drums and those symphonic keys and crunching guitars. Maxi's vocals again are full of emotion as she leads the rhythm and melody, and the listener on the journey. This song must have been especially pleasing to Maxi and the entire band as it coincides with a 'rebirth', or new dawn for the band. The emotion and thunder in the passion of this song makes it the third of three solid songs to open this album.
Deep, low piano keys open "Where Daylight Fails", before even cooler synths, horns, and strings take over. Then Mario and those powerful drums and guitars are back. Maxi joins in the chase with her beautiful melodic voice filling in the background soundscape. "It's a frozen situation. The final storm. Stand tall. Cry out." A great power cry to fight on despite the odds.
"Conquest of Others" is the darkest of all the songs on the album, complete with screaming male vocals. Obviously the tragic chapter of the story. The opening is complete with dropping bombs, orchestral horns and drums bringing back memories of "Mars, The God of War" from ELPalmer. Not my favorite song, but very dramatic and full of emotion. Maxi's backing vocals soften the rough nature of the song.
"Twist of Fate" brings back the pounding drums and crunching guitars. Some of Maxi's best vocals can be heard amid the roar of the drums and guitars, "What are you crying for? What is your desire? How can I help a poor soul?" The sympathy in her voice is so sincere. The synths and drums are full flame on this track. Mario and Maxi join together in vocal harmony, "It's never too late for a twist of fate." Did I mention emotion and passion? This song is full of it.
Beautiful symphonic horns and synths open "Elegy of Existence", before Mario's screaming vocals take over. The speed and pace of the story picks up again. Maxi and Mario interchange vocals in a good versus evil vocal debate.
My favorite song on the album is "Reflection", and Maxi's vocal showcase is a wonderful composition. Opening with beautiful piano and keys, then Maxi sings, "Like waiting for Adana, an inner confidence, like ignorance to miss the chance tonight." That beautiful operatic voice fills the room and you wish there had been more of these showcases throughout the album. The symphonic strings and piano support Maxi well. When she says, "you will prevail" the emotion gives you confidence to do just that. Werner Fiedler's guitar solo is another excellent highlight from this song. But Maxi steals the show here. Her voice is incredible.
Sounds of "Sonar" open this short instrumental interlude. A perfect showcase for Martin Harb's keyboards and Mario Lochert's bass. The choral like vocal support really adds an anthem like effect to the piece.
The power driven closer, "Gravitate Towards Fatality" opens with heavy bass, power drums, majestic keys and grinding guitars before we hear Maxi's voice pivot off the hard edge. Mario joins in and he and Maxi trade off vocals. Martin Harb's keyboard solos and the entire spectacular guitar work by Werner Fiedler come together to create a dynamic sound. Then Maxi's beckoning, "come closer stranger, I will make your dreams come true." A fantastic closer to bring this first new chapter of the VoA story to an end.
1.Black River Delta
4.Where Daylight Fails
5.Conquest of Others
6.Twist of Fate
7.Elegy of Existence
10.Gravitate Towards Fatality
Added: February 21st 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
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