Visions of Atlantis – Pirates (Album Review)

Release Date: May 13th 2022 - Napalm Records

Visions Of Atlantis - Pirates

Disclaimer: This one here is NOT a Pirate Metal album. Visions of Atlantis are an Austrian Symphonic Metal band that has been around for some 20-odd years now, and this just happens to be a pirate-themed Symphonic Metal album. So if you came here looking for Alestorm-y Yo-Ho-Ho’s, accordion leads, and campy lyrics, well, you’ll be a bit disappointed. In saying all that, “Pirates” is a very solid album, especially in a genre that has gone relatively stale in the last 10 years. I have always seen Visions of Atlantis as a rather unlucky band in a few ways: They have had countless lineup changes in their history (I think around 9 singers, both male and female, have been part of the band so far), and they are a band that has lived a few of their years in the shadow of bigger more famous Symphonic Metal acts, they suffered the very sad death of original female singer Nicole Bogner, and they are one of the few Metal acts that got very honest and real about the way the pandemic affected them financially, almost reaching a point of bankruptcy. In saying all that, I am happy to see that they have found some stability and are back with full force, playing shows everywhere, and releasing quality albums, so let’s dive into “Pirates”.

The album starts with “Pirates Will Return”, the perfect way to start a Symphonic Metal album I believe. A bombastic intro to set the mood, very catchy vocal lines, and a slower and anthemic chorus. The middle section works perfectly too. All in all, a winner. Right away you can notice that female singer Clementine Delauney is a perfect fit for the band, with a voice that is sweet and powerful at the same time. Michele Guaitoli handles the male vocals masterfully as well. “Melancholy Angel” comes next, and boy what a song. This one is a single-sized track that will stick to your brain like flies to honey. The Vocal duo sounds perfectly matched in this one. One of the best songs the band has ever written in my opinion. “Master the Hurricane” is another masterpiece, this song is what Symphonic Metal should aim to be. A slightly longer song rewards us with some of the best songwriting the band has ever done. The choral arrangements are on point and Clementine’s vocals are extra powerful here. “Clocks” is a little bit too much on the cheesy side of metal, but might put a smile on your face with its playful and whimsical vibe. Excellent guitar work and solo on this one. “Freedom” is next, and as you might know, I’m not a big fan of ballads, but this one has a folky feeling with its harp background that I actually enjoyed a lot. I love what they did with the final chorus by making it super uplifting and epic. “Legion of the Seas” is another perfectly fine Sympho-Metal song. Everything is in place and works but doesn’t bring anything new to the table. With a crushing main riff, this song veers more toward Power Metal waters than the rest.

After a fantastic first half, I was very excited to see how the band would keep up the quality and vibe of the album towards the closing songs.

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Unfortunately, the 2nd half is not as big as the 1st one, but it still delivers some very good quality music.

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“Wild Elysium” is a song that can easily be mistaken for a Kamelot B-side, straight out of their universe, with a punchy rhythm and a very anthemic chorus. “Darkness Inside” is a more mellow song with an 80s pop vibe to it, kinda like an Abba song made into Rock. It is definitely the least heavy track in the album, not as memorable but still enjoyable. “In my World” is a sappy song that is pretty much skippable in my book. A bit too generic in every aspect, trying to grab elements that Nightwish has perfected but without the power or lasting appeal of the previous songs. “Mercy” is an intense Power Metal song with a pounding rhythm section and male vocals that give me strong Marko Hietala vibes. The chorus is a standout and the solo sections are amazing, but the second part of the song feels somewhat anticlimactic. “Heal the Scars” is another ballad, and while it is very well executed I found it a bit less interesting than “Freedom”, although that middle section with the pipes is beautiful. All of a sudden, we find ourselves at the end of the album, with the closing track “I will be gone” in charge of this. To be honest, I expected a much more powerful end to an album that bleeds epicness, but instead, the last song is rather mellow and slow.

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It has a massive chorus and a thick choral background but it just lacks the intensity that I wished for in an album of this caliber.

The production of this album is nothing short of excellent. Most of these songs sound like they have many tracks working in the background and I am happy to report that they are mixed perfectly so everything is crystal clear to the listener’s ear. Everything is balanced and still remains heavy and pounding as you would expect from a big-budget Metal album. All in all, this is a very good album, and probably the best one Visions of Atlantis has ever released. This is the album that could see them do that jump to the big leagues of Metal, and it should, as there is a very palpable quality here. And while it is evident that the 1st half is more inspired than the 2nd one, that is only true because the 1st half is truly astounding. This album deserves to be in the collection of anyone who likes its Metal melodic, bombastic and epic.

Album highlights: Pirates will return, Melancholy angel, Master the hurricane, Wild Elysium

For fans of: Nightwish, Xandria, Delain, Kamelot

Visions of Atlantis: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: Napalm Records
Category: Album
Country: Austria

Reviewed by Roman Ibarra