Visions of Atlantis – Delta (2011)

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Music

Symphonic power metal has always confused me a bit. Is it classical? Is it neo-synthesizer rock? Is there supposed to be violins or not? Far too many questions for what should be the most widely broadcast sub-genre of heavy metal. Heck, even the name “symphonic power metal” is a bit of an oxymoron. Modern power metal almost always has the symphonic/operatic epicness to it, so why describe the same thing twice? It’s like saying “wet water.”

The scene is filled with hundreds of bands – mostly from Europe – but there are really only a handful that truly standout. Firewind, Angra, Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, and Nightwish are truly the top of the list when it comes to these types of bands. New bands come and go by the dozens each year, with few – if any – cracking the elitism the aforementioned bands represent. That said, there is a new name to be added to the list of the “best” – Visions of Atlantis.

Visions of Atlantis return with their appropriately titled album Delta (the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet). The band continues their successful venture into melodic and symphonic power metal, well established since 2004’s Cast Away and made complete with 2007’s Trinity. Unfortunately, another thing has not changed: the position of female vocalist has continued to be a revolving door. This time it’s Greek vocalist Maxi Nil, and she’s continues the fine heritage of beautiful operatic voices the band has always had.

I’m not sure how much there is to say about this new Visions of Atlantis album. The path they tread is constant. Certainly, things could be said to be heavier, especially listening to Twist of Fate or Elegy of Existence. Yet, all this is tempered with symphonic grandeur. Also, on the male vocal side, Mario Plank seems to pursue a rougher side. This makes me wonder of Visions of Atlantis is hoping to capitalize on whole ‘female versus male death metal vocal’ motif in the future (ala Deadlock). If so, I fear I would lose my interest: it’s simply to cliche.

Nevertheless, Visions of Atlantis can still inspire. While Ms. Nil seems to be getting either left behind by the music or beat up by the male vocals, she shines on Reflection, a beautiful piece which combines majesty with power. Also, Black River Delta and Conquest of Others deliver on a level only the most seasoned peers could expect.

Vision of Atlantis’s Delta is pure European melodic and symphonic power metal in its best form. The band is adept at blending the male/female vocal contrast to efficient and entertaining effect over some quite bombastic arrangements. While hardly novel, Delta is consistent, strong, and quite entertaining. I would expect no less from a band that has quickly risen to the top of the heap.

Tracklist:
01 – Black River Delta
02 – Memento
03 – New Dawn
04 – Where Daylight Fails
05 – Conquest Of Others
06 – Twist Of Fate
07 – Elegy Of Existence
08 – Reflection
09 – Sonar
10 – Gravitate Towards Fatality

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Download (256kbps): Link

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