Released By: Napalm Records
Release Date: May 13th, 2022
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Clementine Delauney – Vocals
Michele Guaitoli – Vocals
Dushi Duscha – Guitars
Herbert Glos – Bass
Thomas Caser – Drums
1. Pirates Will Return
2. Melancholy Angel
3. Master the Hurricane
6. Legion of the Seas
7. Wild Elysium
8. Darkness Inside
9. In My World
11. Heal the Scars
12. I Will Be Gone
Sometimes, it only takes one big album for a band to move from being promising but not quite top tier to being among the best in their genre, which is the case for the Austrian symphonic power metal band Visions of Atlantis. Their first few albums were all of the varying quality, at times showing potential for greatness but somehow falling a bit short for various reasons. Then in 2018 the band returned with a mostly renewed lineup and unleashed their sixth full-length release The Deep and the Dark, which proved to be the massive step forward they needed. They wasted little time following that triumph up with an equally impressive seventh album Wanderers, and now less than three years later they’ve delivered their eighth full-length album, Pirates, which not only keeps their momentum going, but takes their music to even further heights, and proves to be their best album yet!
For a long time, Visions of Atlantis had gone through quite a few shakeups, with an ever-evolving lineup, eventually leading to The Deep and the Dark. Since then, the only major change has been Dragony vocalist Siegfried Samer stepping out and being replaced by Temperance singer Michele Guaitoli, who fit in perfectly on Wanderers, and feels just as at home on Pirates. As with previous albums, listeners can expect a very melodic, very vocal-driven brand of symphonic metal, mixed with some power metal elements. It’s a rather light album, with a huge emphasis on the vocal melodies and symphonic arrangements, but the guitar work is very good when it kicks in, especially the guitar solos which are often fantastic. While the band hasn’t made any big changes to their overall sound, there is a slightly bigger, more epic feel to some of the tracks, and this is their longest album to date, clocking in at just under an hour. Thankfully, not a second of that is wasted, as every track is fantastic in its way, and there’s a ton of variety, from longer, more epic tracks, to fast-paced power metal tracks, a couple more folk-infused tracks (with flutes and bagpipes performed by Ben Metzner from Feuerschwanz), as well as a couple of ballads, and some lighter, somewhat radio-friendly tracks that can get super catchy (especially “Melancholy Angel” and “Clocks”.) The band pulls everything off very well, and the album is consistently excellent from start to finish.
While the symphonic elements and the folk instrumentation stand out the most as far as instrumental work goes, everything sounds excellent, with the guitar work being very subdued but also very effective when it kicks in, while the rhythm section is great as always and the production is great all around. Dual lead vocalists Clementine Delauney and Michele Guaitoli are both fantastic as always, with the former taking lead on most tracks, especially shining during choruses where she gets to showcase her full range, while the latter is largely used in verses or more explosive moments where he gets to showcase his power. The two are both excellent on their own, and when paired together they make for an amazing duo and help take already excellent songs to new heights.
Speaking of which, for the third album in a row Visions of Atlantis has delivered an album full of excellent songs, with no weak links to be found. Perhaps the one criticism I could throw at it would be that the pacing takes a slight hit in the second half, especially at the end of the album with two ballads being paired next to each other, but the first half of the album is flawless, and even those two ballads at the end are more than strong enough for it to not be a big issue.
As expected, the album kicks off in fine form with the explosive opening track “Pirates Will Return”, which has a rather lengthy intro driven by keyboards and symphonic elements, before the full band kicks in about a minute in, and it turns into a high energy, up-tempo symphonic power metal track, with verses alternating nicely between the two singers, while Delauney gets to showcase her smooth and enchanting vocals during the chorus, which is fantastic, very melodic and catchy. It’s a fun, explosive opening track that gets the album off to a flying start. Next is the second single “ Melancholy Angel”, a much lighter, more subdued track, which stays fairly calm during the verses, before opening up for one of the catchiest, most hook-laden choruses you’ll ever hear on a metal album, sung to perfection by Delauney, who alternates wonderfully between clean and operatic vocals. It’s very much a more radio-friendly track, while still having enough metal in its riffs and a fantastic guitar solo near the end, to ensure fans of the band should love it. While I tend to prefer more power-metal-oriented tracks, this one is still very much one of my favorites on the album.
Another personal favorite immediately follows, by way of “Master the Hurricane”, the third single released ahead of the album. It’s the longest track on the album at around 7 and a half minutes, and it’s another upbeat, fast-moving track with some heavy riffs at points as well as some of the most grandiose and theatrical symphonic arrangements on the album, and it also includes Ben Metzner’s flute, which sounds fantastic. The song has a much bigger feel to it than pretty much anything else the band has released before, and it’s one of their best tracks to date, offering some intense, speedy power metal for most of its duration, highlighted by a fantastic chorus, as well as an excellent lead-in where Guaitoli gets to shine. While it’s mostly a heavier track, it has a nice extended softer portion in the second half as well, and while I wouldn’t call it complex, it definitely has a lot more pieces to it than one may expect from a VoA track, yet they pull it off perfectly.
The hits continue with “Clocks”, another up-tempo track, though it mostly falls on the lighter side of things, being heavily keyboard driven and having fairly simple yet effective riffs. It has a bit of a modern Nightwish feel to it, being another very accessible, somewhat commercial-sounding track with another extremely fun and catchy chorus, which ranks as one of the best and most addictive on the album. Following two more energetic tracks, it’s no surprise the pace slows down for “Freedom”, a nice ballad, largely driven by the vocals and orchestral elements. It’s a very soft track, with a bit of a film score feel to it, especially during the chorus, and it’s one of the tracks that does the best job of showcasing both singers together.
Next is lead single “Legion of the Seas”, another epic, fast-paced power metal track with some of the heaviest guitar work on the album, paired along with more epic symphonic arrangements, and it’s one of the tracks where Guaitoli gets to go hard during the verses, singing with a ton of power and emotion, while Delauney shines as always on the fantastic, super epic and catchy chorus. Power metal fans are sure to love both this track and one that immediately follows it, which is “Wild Elysium”, a track that slows down a bit during the verses, but goes full throttle for the most frantic and intense chorus on the album, while also having some incredible vocal melodies, as always. These are both among my favorites on the album, so having them placed together gets me excited every time I listen to the album in full.
The pace drops off again with “Darkness Inside”, a more mid-paced track with a mix between light keyboards and heavy, yet subdued riffs, highlighted by yet another excellent chorus. I find the track overall doesn’t quite reach the heights of many other tracks here, but it’s still an excellent track in its own right and is certainly very melodic and catchy. Next is “In My World”, another track featuring Metzner, and it’s probably the most folk-infused track on the album, falling into similar territory as “Heroes of the Dawn” from Wanderers”, being an upbeat, fairly fast-paced track with strong folk influences throughout, and it’s another track where both singers shine during the verses, while Delauney shows off more of her operatic vocals in the lead into the chorus, which is very fun and catchy, as usual. The last fast-paced track on the album is “Mercy”, another hard-hitting power metal track, with a mix between big symphonic arrangements and some slightly heavy guitar work, and as usual, Guaitoli gets to show off some of his more intense vocals during the verses, while the chorus is very epic, and led by Delauney, who steals the show as always.
Closing out the album are two ballads, “Heal the Scars” and “I Will Be Gone”, both of which are very soft and beautiful tracks, led by Delauney who gets to showcase the softer side of her voice. Both also feature flute and bagpipes, which sound excellent and give a slight folk feels to the latter track in particular. The first of these two is on the lighter side of things, largely led by piano and orchestra, while the latter has bursts of heavy guitar work to go along with the flute, bagpipes, and symphonic arrangements. Both tracks are excellent, though I think the latter is slightly more interesting from a musical standpoint, and it does an excellent job of closing out the album.
As surprised as I was back when Visions of Atlantis managed to break through a few years ago with Deep and the Dark, the band has since managed to keep the momentum going, only growing stronger with each successive release, and Pirates stands as possibly their best release to date. It offers the same mix of up-tempo power metal and folk-infused symphonic metal as their past two releases, while also having fantastic vocal performances as expected, as well as consistently amazing songwriting from start to finish. Longtime fans of the band should find plenty to love on this album, while newcomers couldn’t find a better place to start than here. VoA has proven they’re here to stay at this point, and they’ve managed to become one of the best in their field over the past few albums.
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.