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A long 4 year wait since the last album Trinity, Visions of Atlantis are back and more exceeding than ever before with a new collection of songs and again a new female singer. The band has really worked hard creating Delta and stands as being their greatest achievement to date.
As with many (and most) metal fans who have listened to VoA before, the band has been criticized for the lack of originality and constant comparisons to the leading symphonic band Nightwish. I have given Delta many spins and still feel that originally is still a problem, so if you're here and looking for something different than your ordinary female-fronted symphonic (Nightwish) sound, you won't find it here.
Onto the music, the elements here on Delta are much more dynamic and a much stronger use of powerful orchestrations which brings out the magic and force of the album. Orchestrations in metal now are getting quiet overused like, for example, the bands Dimmu Borgir, Edenbridge and SepticFlesh, who have all used a real, full orchestras. For VoA, they rely most of the sound of their orchestrations on keyboard synths, which again brings back the early Nightwish influences.
The guitar and bass work haven’t really changed that much since previous album Trinity, but still packs a strong boost of power and heaviness throughout the album. The drumming is not too bad either with lots of blasting beats in trademark power metal style. Still, this is typical, but a very solid symphonic power metal sound.
The vocals have generally improved thanks to the new female singer, Maxi Nil, who is a fine vocalist and does a superb job singing. Her voice has moved away from the previous operatic style of the last singer and into more of a rock style which finally brings them out of the opera metal category. Mario (the male singer) also does great as his vocals are much more aggressive than before and even with sounding a slight tinge of heavy metal vocals.
The tracks are set out evenly throughout the album with some of those overlooked fillers that many pure metallers may avoid. Songs range from a 1 and half minute atmospheric interlude to an over 6 and half minute epic. As you play the first song (Black River Delta) of the album, you are immediately hit with keyboard orchestrations, full-on power metal blasts, and Maxi Nil's voice all in 30 seconds. Already the albums starts off great and promising and maybe you'll listen further. I won't give away much else, so it's your choice to listen to the rest. The album doesn't give away many surprises, but it does play lots of fun and catchy tracks for anyone to pick their favourite and repeat, but all this positive talk does come with its price. Because of the band being too similar as other bands, after about 3 or 4 listens of the whole album it can get pretty boring and you may want to skip to something else.
Delta all in all has its highs, but also has its lows which brings my rating down. Such as that in some of the tracks, it feels like it's just cut off and unfinished, like the band got bored with editing and decided to leave it as it is (maybe not the case, but who knows?).
Although the vocal duties are used in as duets in some songs, you have Mario singing a bit more than Maxi does. Some of you may like more male vocals, others may get tired of the same vocals. And then there's that huge originality problem again which has the biggest affect on the band. Feelings of the same old song structures, same old sound (musically and vocally), and the lyrics, which aren't so bad, but are a little cheesy at times.
Visions of Atlantis has reached their top game here with Delta, maybe not a masterpiece of symphonic metal, but a rock solid one at that. Will the band maybe do something different next time? Time will tell. Overall, this is a big recommendation to any fans of female0fronted metal, melodic power metal, and orchestral/symphonic music.