Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:58
Artist: Visions of Atlantis
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: symphonic metal
Ethera is the fifth studio album of the Austrian symphonic metal band Visions of Atlantis, the second album starring Maxi Nil as their female vocalist.
After years of line-up difficulties, Visions of Atlantis seems to have found a stable configuration again, resulting in the albums Delta in 2011 and Ethera now in 2013 (will be released on April 9th).
The original inspiration of Visions of Atlantis was the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. And just like Nightwish have digressed from their original operatic work, Visions of Atlantis have turned to a darker, more rock-oriented sound, although still by and large infused with symphonic elements.
As compared to their very successful second album Cast Away, the musical style of Visions of Atlantis has become darker and more melancholic, with less fast-paced double-kick passages. The lyrical themes of the story of Atlantis have remained, and the result is a very balanced, symphonic metal album.
A few years ago, I proclaimed that female-fronted symphonic metal was dead, except for Epica. Visions of Atlantis made me realize with Ethera that I might have been wrong.
The vocal work on Ethera is of the highest level. The combination of female (Maxi Nil) and male (Mario Plank) lead vocals blends into the music and adds many more possibilities than your average female-fronted metal band.
The 11-track album is packed with great metal songs and power ballads, most of them relatively short (around 4 to 5 minutes in length). A few tracks that are certainly worth to be mentioned are “Machinage”, with it's catchy chorus, the power ballad “Vicious Circle”, the prog-inspired “Tlaluc's Grace”, with vocals that invoke Stevie Nicks and Annie Haslam and the ethereal “AEON 19th”.
In short, if you like symphonic metal bands with female vocals, such as Lacuna Coil, Sirenia or Epica, Ethera might be a great surprise for you. Check them out at your local store in early April (YouTube material is not available yet).
Pre-order Visions of Atlantis - Ethera