Visions of Atlantis – Old Routes – New Waters (Napalm Records)

Sunday, 17th April 2016
Rating: 7/10

Austrian melodic/symphonic power metal act Visions of Atlantis delve into the archives with their current lineup for this five song EP, appropriately called Old Routes – New Waters. Especially given the fact that the current male / female vocal tandem of Siegfried Samer and Clementine Delauney weren’t in the group during the earlier discography from which this collection captures (2002’s Eternal Endless Infinity plus the follow ups Cast Away and Trinity), the updates probably give the long-time supporters a chance to hear these songs in a better light. Experience and seasoning make you wiser as a performer -or at least in theory should.

Reaching back to their debut album for the seven-minute opener “Lovebearing Storm”, Clementine uses more operatic notes against Siegfried’s playful melodies, his voice more theatrical in a bard-like sense while keyboardist Chris Kamper and guitarist Werner Fiedler have a spirited lead break duel during the extended instrumental section. Three of the songs come from their second album Cast Away, including the very commercially catchy “Lost” and closing semi-power ballad “Last Shut of Your Eyes” – almost a prerequisite in this genre for dynamic separation.

Cultural hooks come into play on the nautical number “Seven Seas” – the guitar riffs ebb and flow between the verses and chorus while the keyboard layers swirl about as if navigating a never-ending ocean trip through calm, mid-tempo passages. Pristine, clear production values probably improve the original takes, and hopefully this latest set of singers (#7 and #8 since 2000) will stick around, as their capable versatility should allow the band to move in a lot of directions for melodic power and symphonic/ operatic metal.

In the end, Old Routes – New Waters can be a good introduction to Visions of Atlantis for those unfamiliar – but probably won’t launch them to a level of Epica or Within Temptation headlining status. This scribe prefers a little more heaviness in the guitar department and less keyboard aural activities dominating the landscape. Promising to be the last and final lineup of VoA ever (states drummer Thomas Caser), let’s see where the next studio album takes us.

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