Austrian metallers Visions of Atlantis go fully nautical on their new album Pirates, and because we happen to like pirates, we had to check it out.
As a lover of all things piratic and a purveyor of symphonic metal, it’s a small miracle Visions of Atlantis‘ eighth album flew under my metallic radar for so long. Released in May of this year and aphoristically titled Pirates, the Austrians take to the high seas on their new album. On the cover of the album are pirates, a pirate-y flag, cutlasses, a dude with an actual eyepatch, old-timey ships and barrels that, taking account of the entire painted picture, can only hold rum. Suffice to say then that Pirates was made especially for me.
The band has been playing symphonic, dual-vocalled metal since the dark ages of 2000 and by now they sure know what they are doing. I’ve heard snippets of songs in the past and whilst never horrible, Visions of Atlantis has failed to grasp my attention time and again. This all changed when they released their single Master the Hurricane. Here we suddenly had a band that was confidently doing their thing, breaking out into bombastic power metal with subtle operatic influences and a big and impressive chorus. Or, to speak in layman’s terms: this was some pretty good shit.
It’s obvious why the band chose Master the Hurricane as one of Pirates singles; it’s the single most powerful song on there, showcasing everything this band has in store. It’s also a smidge stronger than Legion of the Seas, which also received the single release treatment, albeit not by much. Both are excellent symphonic power metal songs with earworm choruses that cater to both the diehard and more casual (power) metal fans. The rest of Pirates‘ songs are good as well, but these two really stand out, together with the excellent, bouncy Clocks, which conjures up memories of the material Nightwish released with Annette Olzon before they unceremoniously kicked her out.
Speaking of Nightwish, Michele Guaitoli regularly reminds of Marko Hietala’s gruff-but-not-too-gruff vocal style and plays an excellent foil to Clémentine Delauney’s vocal work. She has a pleasant voice and is also capable of doing some impressive operatic wailing, but wisely employs that style sparingly so as not to become grating. Too much of a good thing can turn people away and Delauney seems fully aware of that. The material on Pirates mostly consists of upbeat symphonic power metal with some bombast thrown in where needed. It’s nothing you’ve not heard before, but the execution is spot on. It’s easily digestible music that will definitely have the more hardcore metal fans frothing at the mouth, but when you can make something fun and present it with such conviction, I find it hard to find much wrong with it.
Whilst Pirates is good, clean metallic fun, it could do with some trimming. At fifty-eight minutes, it doesn’t feel overlong, but still. Both ballads on here (Freedom and Heal the Scars) are nice but ultimately less than impressive. Especially the latter could have easily been cut to prevent the album more or less simmering out, as closing track I Will Be Gone is mid-tempo and balladesque as well. You don’t need two slow songs at the tail end of an otherwise fun, up-tempo album. Other than that, Pirates is highly enjoyable fare for fans of earlier, more metallic Nightwish and other assorted female fronted symphonic metal acts, and worth checking out.
Label: Napalm Records
Buy it here: https://napalmrecords.com/visionsofatlantis
- Pirates Will Return (06:07)
- Melancholy Angel (03:55)
- Master the Hurricane (07:18)
- Clocks (03:55)
- Freedom (04:01)
- Legion of the Seas (04:35)
- Wild Elysium (04:15)
- Darkness Inside 04:30)
- In My World (05:25)
- Mercy (04:27)
- Heal the Scars (03:55)
- I Will Be Gone (05:37)
- Clémentine Delauney – vocals
- Michele Guaitoli – vocals
- Christian “Dushi” Douscha – guitars
- Herbert Glos – bass
- Thomas Caser – drums
Review by RP
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