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Visions Of Atlantis – ‘Ethera’ http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/23/b9/d3/Visions-Of-Atlantis-34-1372430658.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     June 28, 2013    
 
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This cracking album could be the start of an exciting chapter in the bands story.

If they happened to have passed you by, Visions Of Atlantis are an Austrian Symphonic Metal band. They have had a slightly turbulent history on the line-up front since they were founded in 2000. Vocalist Maxi Nil joined the band in 2009 and they released their fourth album ‘Delta’ and EP ‘Maria Magdalena’ in 2011. Nil, along with Mario Plank, has given the band some continuity and stability on vocals for the bands fifth album ‘Ethera’.

Although this is unmistakably VOA with their dual vocals, tech styled synth and driving progressions, there’s differences that set ‘Ethera’ apart from their previous releases. The biggest change comes with the drumming which more often features a traditional approach with less reliance on the previous continual double drumming. It’s still there and appears in many outbursts, it’s just less of a focus and constant driving force than before. The guitar has also crept up in prominence and depth which gives ‘Ethera’ a harder edge. It feels crunchier despite the fact that when you directly compare to it to ‘Delta’ there actually isn’t that much difference. It opens with the ‘The Ark’ with its deep, grinding riff powering things along. ‘Machinage’ is very futuristic and features another dense progression but the song has a catchier chorus with a higher tempo. ‘Vicious Circle’ has several time changes and begins with a soft acoustic tune that flows into a power ballad chorus. After the second chorus the song erupts into a gallop full of guitar and striking keys. ‘Burden Of Divinity’, ‘A.E.O.N. 19th’ and ‘Clerics Emotion’ are more traditional VOA styled songs with lots of double drum explosions along with a mixture of bass, swirling keys and grinding guitar. Two favourites are ‘Avatara’ and ‘Cave Behind The Waterfall’. ‘Cave…’ starts like a sixties acoustic ballad drifting dreamily along to an emotional charged chorus. It cranks up piece by piece, building to a fantastic finale. Eastern instruments gives a false quiet feel to ‘Avatara’ before the guitar rises out of the background erupting into an awesome guitar and keys duel. The verse is slow and aggressive running up the gears to the memorable chorus which is made all the better by the return of that whopping progression.

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As far as my ears are concerned, this is the best VOA album so far and it’s a splendid record. Nil and Plank are on top form throughout and very well suited together vocally with Nil really finding her place in the VOA sound. The axe work from new guitarist Christian Hermsdorfer is equal in quality to the vocals whilst the production is spot on, with crisp mixing and everything at the right level. ‘Delta’ was a good record with some tracks that were a little easier to instantly absorb but ‘Ethera’ is a far superior album.

VOA have flirted with being one of the biggest names in Symphonic Metal, this cracking album could be the start of an exciting chapter in the bands story.

Dave Scott

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