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Promise and fillers - 60%

kluseba, May 9th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Napalm Records

The thing that strikes me most about Visions of Atlantis' extended play Maria Magdalena today is that four fifths of the line-up have already left the building and that the sole remaining founding member of the band is drummer Thomas Caser. Even though I believe that the current line-up is also the best in the band's history, the one that performs on Maria Magdalena showed some promise as well. Maxi Nil's melodic female vocals harmonize very well with Mario Plank's charismatic, energetic and raw style. The guitar riffs are equally powerful and epic. The keyboards don't take too much space which makes for a pleasently heavy and organic sound. The vibrant production is also quite decent in that regard.

The main issue remains the songwriting department. The six tracks sound like leftovers from the Delta recording sessions and I wouldn't be surprised at all if that were actually the case. Most of the songs rush by without leaving a deeper impression due to a lack of catchy choruses, average musicianship and worn-out structures. The worst offender in that regard is the smooth and sleep-inducing closer ''Beyond Horizon - The Poem Pt. II''.

The most decent original song is certainly ''Melancholia''. It's no surprise that this is also the longest track on this output. The song takes its time to craft a melancholic and melodic atmosphere with smooth changes and transitions. The female and male vocals harmonize splendidly here and show the entire potential of this short-lived line-up.

The true reason why most people, including myself, have come here however is the cover of Sandra's ''Maria Magdalena''. It's one of the most beautiful pop songs of the eighties with its enchanting melodies and mysterious vibes. The original song is a great example that successful pop music can be innovative and profound. Visions of Atlantis have managed to keep the elements that made the original song so unique and have added their own style very fittingly. The guitar riffs add some welcome heaviness while the keyboards focus on the song's atmospheric side. The female vocals are airy and enchanting while the male vocals are passionate and raw. This is how a cover song needs to be done.

At the end of the day. Visions of Atlantis' first extended play Maria Magdalena includes a very good cover song and a great original tune. The record gets however progressively weaker and thus ends with the most vapid tune. My suggestion would be to download the first two tracks and ignore the rest. This release shows some promise but is only for avid genre fans in my opinion.