Send me a Light

Cast away 


Realm of Fantasy

Pharao's Repentance


State of Suspence


Last Shut of your Eyes

bonus: Lost video clip

  Nicole Bogner – vocals
Mario Plank – vocals
Miro Holly – synthesizer
Werner Fiedler – guitars
Mike Koren – bass
Thomas Caser – drums

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS: "Cast away"         visions of atlantis                

produced by Peter O. Moritz

Interview with Melissa Ferlaak - 2007


review  by Marco "Norman Knight" Signore____   

Good music, well recorded and not boring.  Just time to mature is needed 

Visions of Atlantis is a new band that tackles the problem of female vocals in the metal (with power metal hints) landscape. And I must tell that this band manages to tackle the problem quite well. Maybe will not surprise you that Vision of Atlantis managed to tour with Epica, another male/female vocal metal band.

However, this Cast Away is the first work of this promising band, and shows some maturity – yet it also shows that Visions of Atlantis have (of course) some work to do. But let’s take a “look” at the tracks, and let them speak for the band.

The album opens without the “usual” and given for granted intro (a great thing to start), with a pulsating synth fade in, that plays the dominant riff of the first song called “Send me a Light”. A cadenced start that becomes more driving as the starting vocal line sung by Nicole becomes strenghtened by Mario (the male vocalist). The two duet in the chorus (which is easy to remember, thus I’d say successful!), with the synth by Miro creates a pattern with the guitar, bass and drums rhythmical work. The change of pace makes this opener quite interesting to listen to. The guitar solo by Werner is played with simplicity and yet is interesting; it gives room to a sort of vocal bridge, always sung in two voices, that develops again into the chorus. An interesting song.

Epic instead is the beginning of the title track, “Cast Away”, with a sort of fanfare in major key, that welcomes the entrance to a cadenced rhythm well played by Thomas on drums, beginning in minor and opening in the passage of chords to major. The voice of Nicole is here more lyrical than in the previous song, and the opening somehow brings to memory hints of Jethro Tull melodies. The chorus is appreciable, with the rhythm accelerating only a bit, and leaving the proper place to the two voices. And again the guitar comes to a solo underlined by a typical 8-beat rhythmic pattern. I’d dare to define this song quite commercial, was not for the intricate melody which puts it above the “standards”.

Again a synth loop with percussive sounds introduces the third song – called “Lost”, but this time the innovation is brought by the intelligent use of lyrics and voices. The driving rhythm built by Thomas on drums and by Mike on bass makes this song very enjoyable, never boring. The chorus and the fascinating voice of Nicole, counterpointed by the interesting vocal capabilities of Mario make this “Lost” one of my favourite songs of this album. I also liked the tiny arpeggios of keyboards intelligently placed here and there in the song. The solo is this time performed by a double guitar with a small insertion of synth that becomes then the driving engine behind the rhythm as the song approaches to the conclusion. Not bad!

Another epic introduction gives us the way to the next track called “Realm of Fantasy”. Again the whole band shows to be a perfect machinery on which the voices of the two singers develop melodic stories and musical patterns. This time the song is somehow “banalised” (but never too much) by the chorus which is, however, still enjoyable. An easy listening song, indeed. Werner here performs a technical solo with his guitar, valiantly supported by the pads of Miro and the rhythmic session of Thomas and Mike which never loses a step.

We come to my favourite song (and not only for the title!), called “Pharaoh’s Repentance”. The keyboard intro sounds very much like the Eighties (and for me this is a quality, not a flaw!). Again Nicole performs like a lyrical singer, and the song develops quite well, with cadenced and yet driving rhythms that allow themselves even some playtime with sincopato tempos. Good, good indeed. An epic, well performed song which won’t fail to the lovers of this genre!

A melancholic piano creates the mood for the following “Winternight”, a moving and romantic song, which shows all the capabilities of Nicole’s voice and Miro’s keyboards. There is little to say about this song, except that you must listen to it to appreciate the “mood” it creates, moving towards the cadenced finale in which drums, guitar and bass enter to form a path for the keyboards to endlessly play the main theme and to call back Nicole’s voice that surrounds the listener in a melancholic embrace that make you “feel” the cold of the winter (I love winter nights…).

State of Suspence” is once again introduced by patterns of loop synths that create a darker mood respect to the rest of the album. Minor chords are followed by the entrance of drums, guitar and bass. A great instrumental work with synth phrases welcomes Mario’s voice, as the chorus is announced by a vocal bridge by the charming voice of Nicole that again shows her ability with the most difficult instrument in the world. The chours itself, moving to major chords, is a sort of episode in the cadenced and enjoyable pattern of the song.

Strings and driving rhythms with quite well managed changes of tone call for the voice of Nicole in the next song, “Lemuria”, which describes this mystical (well, actually not too mystical, as it was “created” in the XIX century) land. This song flows like ocean water between the synth strings insets and the never oppressive guitars. A good work, interesting and pleasant to the ear.

The album is closed by another melancholic song, “Last Shut of your Eyes” with piano and strings counterpointed by an acid guitar picking and a bass drum like a heart’s pulse. Moody, and communicating a sense of sadness lost into a sort of nostalgia, this song is maybe the best way of ending this album that mixes epic and romance in a pleasant way. Or so you’d think. Because suddenly the rhythm becomes hard, and the song becomes stronger and driving as the distortion on the guitar powers up, and the same delicate notes sung just a moment before become different and yet the same in the second, hard, section of the song. A good choice and good idea to close this nice album! Again I found myself saying “Well done!”

In style with Epica and with the bands that make the contrast between female and male voices, Visions of Atlantis produced a good work. I am not a terrible fan of the genre, but I prefer Visions of Atlantis to more famous bands like Nightwish (which, can be argued, are a bit different) or Lacuna Coil (which I find terribly boring). This album is clearly aimed to a precise kind of audience, and most possibly will be quite liked. From a “neutral” point of view I think that this “Cast Away” deserves more than a single listening; it is a sort of pause between harder stuff if you like it. A sort of moment of thinking, and even (forgive this term) a sort of “easy listening” metal. Honestly, even though I could not like the genre, I liked the album, and this I think is the best a band may hope for: to appeal to different kinds of audience.

Said that, of course Visions of Atlantis need their time to mature. While the album is very well recorded and the sounds are well balanced, the voices (especially Mario’s) are still a bit immature in a sort, and not well characterized. Of course, being a band which is based on vocals, the instrumental parts may seem not extremely technical -  but quite well arranged. And I personally don’t care about technique when the music is good, and this is exactly what Visions of Atlantis do: they DON’T become boring. I think that this is a good quality indeed.

All in all, Vision of Atlantis will have time to mature, to create more original ideas (but those expressed in this album are already quite good!), and I think we will hear about them sooner than you can expect.

rating: 7/10


Marco Signore    06.12.2004 
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