Ryan Murray | Chief Editor
Symphonic metal band Visions of Atlantis is set to release their eighth studio album “Pirates”, and this album is poised to top the charts and become an instant classic that you won’t soon forget!
“Pirates”, a follow up to the band’s 2019 release “Wanderers”, finds the band with their most mature and strongest sound ever! With soaring vocals from both Clémentine and Michele, insanely heavy, yet intricate guitars, haunting, epic choir-like sections, heart pounding bass and drums, as well as some stripped down ballads, this album is a true masterpiece. It also sees massive swells of symphonic bliss, with rich orchestral arrangements that blend with the metal creating walls of sound that you’ll just want to hear more and more of! This album is an epic soundscape from start to finish. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this album quickly topping worldwide charts after its release!
Delauney has said during an interview with MetalKaoz that they had much more time to write this album than originally anticipated due to the Covid lockdowns. Once Guaitoli started writing the new songs, they were heavier and darker, so they wanted to push the boundaries both lyrically and musically, and it shows! The time that the lockdowns lended to the writing process allowed the band to dig deeper, push harder and step outside of their comfort zone.
If you’ve been a long time fan of Visions of Atlantis, you’ll know that sailing the open seas, and even the pirate theme isn’t anything new, but with their latest work, Delauney has said that for her, the idea of being a pirate is about being an explorer and that everything is a metaphor for inner work, spirituality and growth. The demons we face on the outside as pirates are the demons we face inside of us as well. She also said that being a pirate is about the idea of people who dare to have their life in their own hands. People who aren’t following others, but having the power to rule their own life the way they want to.
VoA isn’t looking to be just another symphonic metal band, and this couldn’t be more clear. Symphonic Metal always runs the risk of being filled with the same nuances over and over again, but VoA has gone out of their way on this album to change it up, and this easily is heard all throughout “Pirates”! Get ready for some surprises on this voyage, sailors!
As we set sail, “Pirates Will Return” hears the wood creaking as the ship puts to sea, followed by eerie keys and soft non-lyrical vocals, creating an enchanting yet eerie intro. This gives way to the band coming in with full symphonic metal bliss.
A choir-like chorus sings “Come to the land where pirates will return. Under strong command see the world expand, famous names to earn. Brave men will stand, ‘til powder-rooms will burn. As the ocean’s waves are the only graves for free men on the stern.”
“Melancholy Angel”, the second single released from “Pirates” is another really catchy song with a hook line that easily gets stuck in your head! “There you are, my melancholy angel. Taking me from grace to sorrows. Lust has gone and future is a stranger. Buried are all doves and swallows. I can see through the shadows of your mind. Poisoned tongue, magnetic monster. I will kill my melancholy angel, waking from my darkest nights.”
“Master The Hurricane” sees Ben Metzner (Feuerschwanz) on flute! His additions to this album are absolutely amazing! This song is a beast and is absolutely a highlight of the album. This song is explosive and is an in your face relentless sonic assault. The band and orchestral arrangements are perfectly balanced. It wouldn’t surprise me that this track ends up elevating the standards of symphonic metal moving forward. Not only does this song have the power to keep up with the top symphonic metal bands around the world, but this track sees an energy and a sound that hasn’t been felt in a long time from other symphonic metal releases. Towards the end of this song we hear “Raging storms, bring the rain. How can I master the hurricane? Solid stone turns to clay. I fear the way to my cove will fade away. I’ve learned to master the hurricane! Healing wounds from decay. I am the force at the core that never shakes!” While this song isn’t as long as Nightwish’s Ghost Love Score, this song reaches that same level, is just as epic, and I’m sure even Nightwish would agree!
“Clocks” is a really fun song with a really catchy melody! The “Time as you know, let it go with the flow. Make a golden play out of everyday, as the tick-tick-tock from the clock is never ending” is heard through the song and tells us that we can’t stop time from passing, so not to waste our time fighting the flow, but to make every day your best day and to make “golden plays” to make the most out of our time.
“Freedom” and “Heal The Scars” are the two softer ballads on the album, but you won’t want to miss them! These songs gave me absolute chills. While Delauney and Guaitoli always symbiotically blend their vocals so incredibly well, “Freedom” truly shows the versatility of both singers. While Guaitoli is known for his amazing range and power with his power metal style vocals and Delauney for her belting vocals and sometimes operatic technique, “Freedom” finds both singers drawn back with power and emotion, yet with soothing vocals throughout. While these songs are completely stripped down, the gentleness juxtaposed with intensity and such emotion vocally really adds to the beauty of these songs. “Freedom” also has an amazing choir-like “oohhh” section which would be absolutely stunning with live audiences singing it at the top of their lungs!
“Legion of the Seas” is probably one of the heaviest songs on the album! Released as the lead single for “Pirates”, it was clear the direction this album was going to take! This song starts with an epic wall of sound with rich orchestration, driving guitars and epic choir-like vocals throughout! This song even saw a pretty good size circle pit form during the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida show while on tour with DragonForce!
Charging ahead with “Wild Elysium”, this song has a powerful, in your face intro, yet sees a slightly held back vocal from Delauney and Guaitoli, but once again, their blend and balance is just simply perfection. This song has an instrumental hook that keeps coming back that’s enough to get anyone’s heart pounding. This song, for me, is definitely reminiscent of Kamelot from the Roy Khan era.
“Darkness Inside” is really an intriguing song, opening with just keys with a really catchy melody throughout. This song sees a dive inside of our own darkness. Instead of running from it, it shows that facing it and growing from it is the only thing that will allow us freedom from the paralysis that inner darkness can bring. “Lightening the darkness inside, I walk away from my mind. The deeper I’m diving, the greater I’m growing, and I will never bleed again. Lightening the darkness inside, relieve the burden of mine. Change for the better, change is forever. And I will never bleed again! The darkness inside!”
“In My World” yet again sees Metzner on flute, and this song is enough to get even the mild mannered concert goer jumping pogo! This track is really catchy and has some really great instrumentals, while “Mercy” sees a bit more intensity with the vocals and instrumentals. Heart pounding drums, great arrangements and a bass-heavy undertone really drive this track home.
As our voyage ends for now, with the ship coming into harbor, “I Will Be Gone” this time sees Metzner on both bagpipes and flute. Being part Irish myself, you’d think I normally love bagpipes, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I usually can’t stand them, especially when they are out of tune. Metzner, however, brings an amazing instrumental with the bagpipes throughout, beautifully harmonizing with his flute parts and I couldn’t imagine this song without them! Metzner’s use of the pipes has definitely changed my view on not only their sound, but on their usage within symphonic metal! This adds a whole other level of beauty and authenticity to the song!
With a writing team that consisted of Delauney, Guaitoli and producer Felix Heldt, the writing for this album is braver, stronger and more free than ever! While the pirates theme has pretty much always been there, Delauney has said that now they will live free, being who they are no matter what or who tries to stop them.
Symphonic metal can be difficult to not repeat the same stuff over and over. Visions of Atlantis not only made sure they didn’t just do another symphonic metal album, but created an absolute masterpiece in the process. With power, versatility and strong symphonic arrangements, along with absolutely stunning vocals from both Delauney and Guaitoli, this album is going to catapult the band to new heights, pushing them up along side bands like Tarja, Epica, Nightwish & Within Temptation.
“Pirates” will release worldwide on Friday, May 13th and will be available on all streaming platforms!