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In the world of metal, lines have been blurred so much between genres that it’s sometimes difficult to ascertain exactly where a band fits into the scheme of things. In the case of Visions of Atlantis, one must reach completely back to Aldo Nova to find an artist of a similar nature.
Some might twinge at such a comparison, but this is however a musical reference only, which must be considered in light of this group’s pop-oriented, keyboard enhanced backbone. The female/male vocal interplay you’ll find here is much more akin to the duets which Amy Lee is known for.
In combining a majestic quality on the title track, this music is at once epic and accessible, which ensures that the crowd which is currently huddled around bands like Leaves’ Eyes and Evanescence will embrace songs such as “Send Me A Light” and “Winter Night” wholeheartedly.
The music of Visions Of Atlantis has an honesty about it that resonates deeply during “Lost”, while the effects produced by the keyboards both contribute a classical and futuristic quality at the same time. But make no mistake, this band employs metal chugging when appropriate and pays enough attention to dynamics that the heavy parts sound that much heavier when things really kick in.
Melodic enough to appeal to those who enjoy female fronted goth, while metal enough to cross all the way over into progressive metalhead’s hearts “Cast Away” delivers a tuneful, dramatic journey that is at the very least, mildly impressive.
Napalm Records has built quite a reputation on pumping out albums like this. The simple formula is getting simplistic riffing, bombastically cheesy and terrible keyboards, horrendously trite lyrics about love and fantasy, and then a female vocalist. But wait! Visions of Atlantis throws in a curve ball: A CLEAN MALE VOCALIST!!!
As all things in metal, this serves to bring down the over all power in the classification of "power metal." This dude is no Rob Halford, instead he's some sort of pop vocalist. He eagerly tries (in vain, of course) to imitate that rapper guy from Linkin' Park or Evenescence's "Bring me to Life." Elsewhere, he sounds like reject from American Idol. Then again, I'm sure that wacky English fucker Simon would love this album, so perhaps Napalm is doing the right thing. When I hear him singing, I can see my room instantly flooded with pink light. Ugh.
The female vocalist does the typcial "I want to be an opera singer" thing, and is actually competent at it. Psych! No, her vocals suck too. They don't go anywhere, and seem dreadfully out of place. Still, it feels like something you've already heard a million times, on any number of other Napalm Records releases.
Not that the other musicians in this band are any good either. There's a bit of the chugga-chugga guitar riffing, avoiding anything technical or original as if it were a bloated, plague infested corpse. There are a few "melodies," but again, nothing like Iron Maiden. Then we move onto the drummer, who just follows weakly along, providing simplistic beats with NO energy. I've heard drum machines that sound like they have more energy and enthusiasm than this dude. I don't believe that there is even any double bass on this album, which brings down the energy even more. The bassist is competent, and that's about the best thing that this album has going for it. He doesn't fuck up or do anything special, keeping his head down during this shit storm like Sergeant O'Neil in Platoon. That's probably on purpose, so that he can't take the blame for this dreadful abomination.
None of the above elements drive the music. That honor (or shall I say, "blame?") goes to the keyboards, which are utterly horrific. It sounds like the keyboardist sat around trying to recreate dumbed down theme songs from various sci-fi TV shows like Star Trek: Deep Space 9 or Spacegate or whatever the fuck else is out there. I've got nothing against keyboards, even sci-fi ones, PROVIDED THAT THEY ARE USED CORRECTLY. Metal is metal because it relys on POWER and AGGRESSION that come mainly from aggressive riffing (absent on here), energetic drumming (not to be found either) or strong vocals. One of these has to LEAD the band. In this case, you have TERRIBLE CHEESY keyboards leading the way, and around which all the music appears to be written. This is bad. This is worse than the blind leading the blind. This is an old woman trying to captain a ship of fools on a voyage across the Pacific Ocean...it sinks, just like Atlantis!
Add in pristine production that makes it so obvious how plastic and utterly shitty this album is, and you can be sure that you won't sleep an easy night after it.
"Send me a Light" kicks it off with barely a pulse. It's kind of the gallop you'd expect from a rheumatic, anorexic cancer victim. The female does most of the singing here, which is a godsend, but doesn't prevent it from sucking. The title track follows, much less in the same way, but not as fast, and with more trade offs with the vocals.
The big hit single on here is "Lost," and there is even a video for it on the disc. This is quite similar to Evenescence, a catchy chorus, but a bit faster in the old power metal vein, but we have to remember that Amy Lee has more testosterone than this whole damn band. "Realm of Fantasy" opens with utterly dreadful keyboards, announcing the vanguards of a coming invasion of Smurfs. Then it goes into simple start-stop riffing. Whoopty shit!
We are then treated to a few more songs with idiotic names, the big winner being "Last Shut of Your Eyes." Fuck, coming from Austria, you'd think they'd have better command of the English language! The ballad, "Winternight" can only be described as touching in a child molestor type way, but at least does not feature that dreadful male vocalist. All of the songs try desperately to have some sort of chorus, some sort of hook, but it just doesn't fucking catch. This thing could roll around on the floor of an ebola infested hospital with cuts all over and come out healthy. Add in the fact that it's just weak and tries so desperately to become a major pop band, and you've got a real recipie for disgusting disaster.
Visions of Atlantis make Evenescence sound like Morbid Angel. Seriously. I should have known by the fact that one member was wearing a pink shirt on the back, and it wasn't the chick.
I'm not homophobic, but when this album is playing, it definately threatens my masculinity. I run in terror and then throw on Carnivore's debut album, howling like a barbarian the whole time, and throwing things around my flat. I still haven't heard Skylark, but this is some of the worst power metal I've EVER heard, and that does include Rhapsody and the like. Visions of Atlantis are light years ahead of the competition in the cheesy weak power metal arena, but they have yet to break the barrier of ultimate sucking and actually begin to improve by being so terrible.