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Project Atlantis: Braving The Elements

It’s quite fitting that the debut album from Project Atlantis arrives under the moniker Brave The Elements, because judging by the scrapes on the promo’s digi-pack cover and the bashings to its spine, my CD, which was released in 2018, has obviously been exposed to more than its design ever intended. Indeed I have begun to question if it hasn’t been in transmit for the three years between its release and arrival at SoT for review???

Anyway, down to the important stuff and that is that this trio of Scott Lang (drums), Brad Stensland (bass, keys, midi-pedals, vocals) and Stevey B Karr (guitar, lead vocals, keys, midi-pedals) clearly share some passions. A quick look at the album art (which kind of suggests a certain Snakes And Arrows - Live release…), the heavy use of midi-pedals and the trio configuration they employ, all reminding of a set of Canadians that used to be in something of a hurry. Now, yes, it’s perfectly possible for all of these aspects to align and for Project Atlantis not to be huge fans of Rush, but let’s just say that once you experience this album you’ll know that there’s no such thing as coincidence.

Going after that 80s sheen that served Rush so well, the toms clatter and the bass (and pedals) roam and hum, while the guitar comes to the fore on occasion, adding numerous splashes of colour. It has to be said, especially considering its source’s popularity, it is something of a surprise that fewer bands use this style as their progressive inspiration and yet Project Atlantis possibly illustrate just why. After all, if there’s one thing for sure and certain, it’s that sounding like Rush and carrying it off sure ain’t easy.What doesn’t help are the unsteady vocals from Karr which lack for the clarity, focus and the confidence truly required to sit within such an intentionally open environment. Musically the trio are hugely skilled and massively capable but with the production on the likes of “Parallel Universe” muddy at best, the effect is made even harder to truly convince with. Add in that opener “Stormchaser” finds the balance between the different instruments to be somewhat uneven, and in all honesty, everything here is starting from a tough spot. That’s not to say that some of the guitar lines and bass runs on “Turn The Tide” aren’t tasty as hell, or that the busy but never overbearing percussive forays from Lang don’t catch the ear, because they all do. However, with few true standout compositions, the lack of a sparkling sound really does leave the otherwise interesting “Rogue Element”, where the vocal issues truly manifest, floundering.

Brave The Elements is an album that clearly had a lot of love and attention poured into it, hence I take no pleasure in giving it something of a rough ride. With a better production (and possibly the influence of an outside producer) and a truly enigmatic vocal presence, this album would maybe just have had a chance. As it is, it’s more a case of flawed if decidedly well intentioned.

Track Listing
1. Stormchaser
2. Turn The Tide
3. Parallel Universe
4. Rouge Element
5. Stealth Armada
6. Archaeology
7. Time Wave Zero
8. Solar Winds
9. Majestic Voyager

Added: August 19th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Project Atlantis on facebook
Hits: 927
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Project Atlantis: Braving The Elements
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-08-19 16:10:21
My Score:

Project Atlantis is an American progressive metal band with a debut album titled Braving The Elements, released in 2018. The three piece consists of Scott Lang (drum ensemble), Brad Stensland (bass, keyboards, midi-pedals, vocals) and Stevey B. Karr (guitars, lead vocals, keyboards, midi-pedals).

The band play heavy rock music with some AOR elements but mostly stay on the prog metal path starting with the midtempo rocker “Stormchaser” having an expanding template of keyboards, interesting drum patterns and crunchy hard rock guitar riffs. It’s a good beginning although I found the vocals to be a little flat. With “Turn The Tide” the melodic guitar riff is catchy and the lead vocals recall Geddy Lee. In fact, Rush comes to mind musically as well with the guitar and bass providing plenty of power. I like the thick bass and relaxed vocal delivery in “Parallel Universe” and the keyboards are ever present, including background choirs. “Rogue Element” has five parts and continues the band’s progressive metal tendencies. It’s another solid slice of prog metal. “Archaeology” is one of the heavier tracks but still has some nice atmospheric moments and a creative vocal arrangement.

Braving The Elements, while having a homemade production and shows a band still finding their way, is an enjoyable listen. Hopefully, with a few tweaks, the band can follow this one up with something even more special.

» Reader Comments:

Project Atlantis: Braving The Elements
Posted by Brad Stensland on 2021-08-11 05:28:29
My Score:

OOOF!!! I have honestly never seen the Snakes And Arrows Live album, let alone the cover...
now that IS close.

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