Sometimes a little tricky to review, this is one of those stop-gap re-recordings EPs that Napalm and other companies are so keen on when a band get a new singer. Visions Of Atlantis are probably keen to do this too…because they’ve got a new singer (this is Clementine Delauney’s first outing with the band, though she has been a part of the band for a good while now)., but also it heralds the return of some past members back into the ranks so I guess doing some re-recordings is a logical choice. Personally though, I find this review a little tricky because I must confess that I didn’t really like Visions Of Atlantis on their first three albums, sporting the customary soprano singing style of the time (plus clean male vocals too) as they did, mixed with melodic, symphonic metal. It was very well executed, but it just didn’t click with me. 2013’s “Ethera” was more to my liking however, so here I am welcoming another excellent singer to their ranks.
So what do we get? Re-workings of 5 tracks – ‘Lovebearing Storm’ from their debut, ‘Lost’, ‘Winternight’ and ‘Last Shut Of Your Eyes’ from the follow-up “Cast Away” and ‘Seven Seas’ from third album “Trinity”. ‘Lovebearing Storm’ opens proceedings and still has it’s jaunty symphonic style, with a call and response male/female verse and a musical updating whilst staying respectful of the original. It’s nice to hear that new vocalist Clementine gets to come out of the soprano style late in the song which I hope they will encourage her to do more frequently when she gets to record a full album of originals. Which brings me to my gripe for this release – what a really shitty task to give your new singer! To re-record a load of songs in a vocal style that they don’t really do any more that was sung by a singer who passed away far too young. No pressure eh? And I’m not really sure what message the band are sending with this – is it a sign that they are returning to this style?
I was actually pleased to here a new(ish) version of ‘Lost’, one of their best tracks from the early days, which stands up really well nowadays and gets excellent treatment from all involved. ‘Winternight’ is a rather standard ballad that is totally saved by the addition of cello/orchestration and a fabulous vocal performance from Clementine that gives a poignancy to the track when you remember the original singer is no longer with us. The third track from that album is ‘Last Shut Of Your Eyes’, which closes both the original album and this EP. It gets a similar updating to remaining track ‘Seven Seas’, nothing remarkable, some nice touches that fans of the band should appreciate, but on the whole just more examples that leave me thinking “Why Bother? Just get on and record the album and then we can see what you are really about”.
There’s nothing here that’s any better than anything on their 2013 release, but OK I understand it’s been a while and this is a way of getting the band back in the media again. This is a nice enough trip down memory lane for the band and their fans, but it really doesn’t do their new singer any favours because at the end of the day she is just singing someone else’s songs and vocal lines. That said, she is fabulous throughout, brings as much of her own influence as she can and I would like to give her performance 9/10, but unfortunately, as a release on it’s own merit it falls rather short of that. Thank goodness they included ‘Lost’.
(6/10 Andy Barker)