Review of 'Wanderers' by Visions of Atlantis

Review by Ryan Murray | Feb. 10, 2020

If you’re looking for a great symphonic/power metal band, look no further!  From the vocals, harmonies, and instrumentation, this band is a breath of fresh air in the symphonic/power metal genre!  They remind me of bands such as Nightwish, Symphony X and others!  Clémentine Delauney and Michele Guaitoli really sound amazing together!  Their vocals really compliment each other and really blend well!  The guitar solos are really great as well!

I found out about Visions of Atlantis last July on Facebook.  I don’t always check out the bands I see on Facebook, but I decided to give this band a chance.  I was immediately glad I did, and couldn’t stop listening to them.  

Below is my track by track review of their newest album called “Wanderers”.

Release My Symphony

This opening track has a :36 second ethereal sounding intro, which gives off a great vibe for the start of the album.  Hold on to your seats though because at :37, a crescendo comes in which kicks into the main riff which is a combination of drums, heavy guitar riffs and symphonic sounds.  This riff for me is the hook, and it lives up to its name.  It’s really catchy and pulls you in wanting more!

Clémentine starts off light and airy, but don’t let that fool you!  Michele comes in next, and then they share a beautiful harmony together.  The chorus is really catchy!  

“Release my symphony 
Of innocence and poetry
Reveal the remedy
In melodies and words
Escape the tragedies
These rhapsodies unheard
Ode to the souls
That yearn to unfold”

Both of these voices, while they seem drawn back, are powerful even when singing a softer portion of these songs.  

This song, for me, is about releasing who we are to the world, and not letting anyone hold us back.  There are those that want to try to hold us down, but we need to release that and not let it hold us back.  

“Battles I Lead
Cherish the strength that I fight with
Tears I have shed
But I hope for bright tomorrows will swipe away the sorrows.”

We all have an inner strength that we draw from different things.  This inner strength can help us to look past our sorrows and to learn and grow from them.  

Heroes of the Dawn

The intro to this track has a light Celtic feel to it, but the guitars kick in :12 seconds in and really kick this song up a notch.  Michele opens up this song vocally starting off the first verse and Clémentine follows not too far behind.  This song is also really catchy with catchy melodies, vocal harmonies and riffs.  This song kinda reminds me of Nightwish’s “I Want my Tears Back”.  

Nothing Lasts Forever

This track takes it down a few notches with an amazing power ballad.  As I had noted earlier, even when the vocals are pulled back, there is a true strength to them.  That rings true all throughout this song.  This is one of my favorite tracks on the album! To me, there is so much raw emotion in this song, and the listener can feel that. 

This song starts off with just a keyboard and Clémentine.  Vocals are pulled back, but still powerful.  And the backing strings bring this song to a whole different level.

When the chorus hits, so do the drums ever so lightly.  And Michele joins in with harmony.  

For the second verse, the band is now all in and Michele takes the verse this time.  

I absolutely love the guitar solo just before the final chorus/outro as well! 

This song for me is about how precious life is and how limited our time is.  The title is straight forward and really speaks to the theme that nothing lasts forever.  It speaks to how if we don’t spend our time wisely, we’ll grow old without accomplishing anything of significance.  Looking back on our old selves, would we regret what wasn’t done or what wasn’t said?

“The beard of the old man, all soaked with his tears
Each single one falling for one of his years
Of running the races in quest of a place still unknown
It’s called home”

This part really hit me.  Life is so fleeting and happens so quickly.  In the blink of an eye it could all end.  

“Nothing lasts forever
It all will be gone
Could you still remember 
When your life began?
Cherish the moment
Without a regret
Nothing lasts forever
It’s never too late.”

While we can’t change the past, it’s never too late to change the here and now.  Make your time here count.

A Journey to Remember

Here we go again, hang on!  This track kicks up the tempo again for another catchy, upbeat song.  The strings and guitars really make this one a great symphonic metal track!  The hook really does pull you in to want to hear more and more of this track.  I’ve played it on repeat several times!

Clémentine and Michele harmonize a lot in this one.  

For me, this song is about the fear that we all have about being successful and the journey that leads to that success.  A journey to success is never without difficulties and are usually filled with those who want to knock us down. 

“The message is clear
The trap is to fear
They’d damage what I hold dear.”

Those who want to knock us down try to use fear to tear us down and to unravel us.

“Set sails
This is the day
Stars align to show you the way
A journey to remember
A quest to find your treasure land
Buried in the sand
The key to your own chains.”

When we decide to not let fear trap us and we separate ourselves from those who try to knock us down, this is when we can break free from those chains of fear. 

A Life of Our Own

Release the Kraken!  This song has a really catchy beat to it.  This power metal song kinda gives me an Iced Earth vibe.  This time around, we hear Clémentine using a bit more of an operatic style voice.  It’s not over bearing and sounds really nice.  It blends really well with Michele’s vocals.

This song, for me, talks about difficulties that we face in life and facing our inner demons of fear.  It talks about a true heart being the only lighthouse to those fears.  

“Here it’s presence I feel as I tumble and reel
The fear I will have to resist
This danger awaiting, the storm unabating
I can’t ignore it exists
Sailing far away from common paths
The truth as the cause to espouse
We will face our demons, the worst of their wraths 
A true heart, the only lighthouse.”

For me, this talks about the presence of fear in our lives and how we have to resist it.  Ignoring our fears and hoping they will just disappear doesn’t do anything but set us up for failure.  We need to face our fears head on and face our demons.  

To the Universe

I really like the riffs and melody on this track!  This song really leaves me with a Symphony X vibe.  The vocals yet again really shine and show how well Clémentine and Michele compliment each other.  

This song, for me, is about taking a deep dive into ourselves and seeking out who we are supposed to be.  

“This one time, the universe will see
Deep inside, who I am meant to be
It will reveal the stars and the path I have to take
And all of what I will forsake.”

Sometimes we get lost and lose our path.  We feel beaten down by difficulties in life and we let those who kick us down hold us back from pressing on.

“If we find who we are meant to be
If we take the path no one can see
We would banish the forces 
That nail us to the ground
We should give it a chance
The world’s in our hands”

When we let those around us hold us back, we allow them to hold us to the ground and we feel stuck.  We can stop them from holding us down by taking the higher ground and discovering who we are meant to be outside of their toxicity.  We can move on and overcome.

Into the Light

This track brings it back down a few notches with an absolutely beautiful, mostly keyboard/strings ballad.  This song sees only Clémentine on vocals, and she sounds very enchanting!  The keyboard and strings really compliment each other very well.  The band joins in at 2:55 with a nice guitar solo!  The song ends with the band dropping out and an outro with just keyboard/strings with Clémentine softly finishing this beautiful song out.  

This song, for me, is about the loss of someone very close to us.  We would do anything to get just one more day with a loved one that we’ve lost.  It also seems to be about how this person, while no longer physically here, residing in our hearts and memories forever.  

“I’ll steal from time
Just one more day
Into the light of your heart
I’ll pray the stars
For you to stay
Forevermore.”

What would we say to someone if we knew today was the last day we’d ever see them?  What would we give to spend one more day with them after they are gone?  We need to live every day as if it’s our last with the ones we love.  

The Silent Scream

Now here’s an epic sounding track!  The hook honestly reminds me of the first heavy part in Nightwish’s “Poet and the Pendulum”!  It has the same epic vibe, and makes you want to move!  Melodically and musically this is one of my favorites and it has been on repeat on several occasions!

This song, for me, is about how we as mankind are abusing the earth.

“Wasteland we will leave behind
Forests to cultures. It’s fading away
Truth must be shown to the blind
As the world’s fate and ours are entwined”

We leave behind wastelands, we litter in mass quantities and destroy a lot of things, but we care less and less about forests/nature.  The words suggest that many need to awaken to the truth, as our fates are “entwined” with the world’s fate.  

“Change, now the time has come
Losing the light, losing the fight
Falling apart, it’s coming undone
Earth, it’s silent scream I’ve heard
There is a way that we can take
To repay all the hurt”

The song seem to urge us that it’s not too late to change.  The earth is “silently screaming” out.  We can take steps to “repay all the hurt.”

The Siren & the Sailor

In this song we hear Clèmentine with a slightly more operatic vocal again.  This one has also got some time signature changes, which really add to the feel/complexity of the song.  

This song, to me, seems to be about self greed and what it does to us when we let it continuously tempt us.

“Tempted by the charms
The beauty, the game
Your greed is the call
That leads you to shame
They guide you to the dark
These very steps that you take
Away from your heart.”

Greed leads to so many negative things.  It can guide us into the darkest places and warp our sense of what is truly important.

“Fallen in disgrace there’s no one to blame
Come down save me
Wisdom is the key to your redemption
Come down save me
Too bad, it will never be the same.”

We tend to want to blame others for our own greed and the problems that it causes.  With wisdom, however, we can grow beyond that.  Once we take responsibility for our own greed, we can grow and learn from it.  

Wanderers

The title track for this album.  Let’s bring it down a few notches to another beautiful ballad with keyboard/strings.  This one also only has Clémentine on vocals, and again she sounds enchanting!  The vocals, keyboard and strings blend very well together and are powerful!  

This song, for me, is about the constant search to fill a void in our lives, and constantly wandering around trying to fill that void anywhere and everywhere with anything and everything.

“Despite all the loving arms
And all the friendly smiles
We still find a giant void
Tarnishing our minds.”

No matter how many friendly people we surround ourselves with, we still wander around trying to fill a void in our lives.  For some, the fill for that void is found in a romantic relationship.  For others it’s religion.  For me as a Christian, I have found the fill to that void in my relationship with God.  

At the End of the World

It’s time to kick it up a few notches again!  This song starts off kinda heavy, but backs off a bit for the verse. Michele starts this one off, but Clémentine isn’t too far behind.  They then meet in yet another display of beautiful and well balanced harmonies.  The chorus for me personally is the hook.  It’s a really catchy melody, and lyrically speaks to me as well.  

“We will make our life
Like the pirates we once were
Paradise we will find
Right at the end of the world
We will start in this place, we will end on the Sea
There is nowhere we’d rather be
Than away, far away
You and me.”

To me, this is about making and finding true happiness with the love of our lives.  It doesn’t matter where we start off in a relationship, we can always bring it to new heights. We can always grow closer, and we can always build a relationship stronger and stronger as long as we do it as a team with our loved one.  There is no where I’d rather be in the world than being with my wife, no matter where that leads us.  

Bring the Storm

This song has a :06 second distorted bass intro, and it’s really cool!  Then the band and synth kick in!  The main riff has a pulse pounding feel to it, and really draws me back to  it to want to hear it more!  This one is another favorite for me.  The melodies really hook me in and I find myself listening to this one a lot as well. 

This song, for me, is about two worlds colliding in a relationship without mutual trust.  When trust isn’t mutual in a relationship, it makes things extremely difficult.  You can’t have a relationship without mutual trust in each other.

“True love is all I want to know
True lies is all I got to live
I sense what you don’t want to show
I’m losing faith in you when you tend to deceive.”

When you’re lied to in a relationship, it’s beyond hurtful.  When it becomes consistent lies that just get bigger and bigger, it starts to decay a relationship.  True lies become the norm, and it breaks you down.  When our significant other lies and deceives all the time, it becomes very obvious and visible and we start to lose faith in them. 

“Two worlds collide and with reason aside
We cannot explain. Damage done.
As you take from me all I give to you
And it seems it’s never enough
Anger divides and we’re crossing the line
We cannot escape. Bring the storm
As you lie to me, as I lie to you
As we lie to everyone else
But it feels like peace is never far away.”

When one constantly gives, gives and gives and the other only constantly takes and takes, it’s extremely draining.  It begins to feel like we can never give enough since the relationship isn’t an equal give and take.  As the lies and deceit continue, anger comes to the forefront and we begin to cross a line.  Before we know it, we’re both lying to each other, as well as to others around us who are concerned about the issues as well.  

In & Out of Love

The final track.  There are two things that really hook me with this one.  First, I love the border line dance groove which starts out subtly at 1:00 and grows from there.  Also, I really love the strings towards the end as well! They start out subtle, but really jump to the forefront at 2:23. 

Overall, I would give this album a 4.8 out of 5.0!  This group has a lot to offer the symphonic/power metal genre and I really look forward to seeing where they go from here!  If you haven’t heard this album yet, or anything from VoA at all, I highly recommend them!

On a more exciting note!  VoA will also be in the USA VERY soon!  They will be with DragonForce, but then they will be doing a small headlining tour!  I’m from NY and one of the headlining shows is less than an hour from me at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ on Sunday March 22nd, 2020! I’m very excited they will be here and hope to see many US sailors come out as well!  I already have my tickets!

Review of "The Best of Tarja" in Prague

Review by Jessica Clingempeel | 21.01.20 | © Photos & Videos belong to me, J.C.

Tarja had two special shows, one in Romania which was filmed for DVD, and one in Prague which I attended. She played the best of her solo career in new arrangements that would only be heard at these shows. I was looking forward to this show so much wondering what would be in store. Attending the soundcheck gave me a glimpse of what was to come that night and it made me even more anxious.

The show was about 2 hours long and included 16 talented and wonderful musicians. The setlist included songs from every album, some performed many times on stage and some rarities that were missed including Naiad. Tarja has always shown just how professional and dramatic she is at her shows, putting on the best and giving her all to her audience, even when sick or just about burnt out. This was no exception and of all the shows I have been to, this by far was the best.

Every musician gave a flawless performance and you could see that each of them had good chemistry. If there were any mistakes, I did not really notice nor did anyone else as the audience continued to get louder and give more love through each song. The only complaint I would have would be the lighting. The lighting was beautiful, but at times flashed so much that it was hard to see the stage and musicians and was, at times, hurting my eyes.

One of my favourite performances of the night was ‘You and I’ as it is one of my favourite songs by Tarja. Beautifully written and beautifully performed. Other favourites included Love to Hate, Diva, I Feel Immortal, and Tears in Rain which was performed alongside with Clèmentine of Visions of Atlantis. Clèmentine did such an amazing job and her voice matches Tarja’s perfect. Falling Awake was performed with Toni Turunen, Tarja’s younger brother. He has much range in his voice and you can tell music runs through this family’s blood. Naiad was another great performance where all joined in together including Chiara Tricarico. You can see the full setlist below.

You can tell a lot of work was put into these shows and into the new arrangements of these songs. Having seen photos from the show in Romania I cannot wait to have a copy of the DVD in my hands. I only wish the show in Prague was also recorded as the atmosphere of the audience was wonderful, the theatre was beautiful, and the show was just top notch. Maybe they will put some of the fan’s clips onto the DVD as a bonus. 😊

Setlist

Some videos/clips I took

Shadow Play
You and I
Demons in You
Diva
Falling Awake Clip

Interview with Melissa Ferlaak

—From Our Archives— *Old Interview*

Interviewed By Jessica Clingempeel

At what age did you start singing? When did you realize you wanted to be a singer?

When I was very young, but didn’t think of being a professional singer until college. I’d always loved music, but in high school, was training to be a professional figure skater actually.

How did you get into the metal scene?

Through Earl Root, guitarist for Aesma Daeva and my dearest metal brother. He introduced me to the music (prior to that, I hadn’t even really known that metal still existed!) and I instantly fell in love with it and it became my favorite genre of music.

What would we most likely find you listening to after waking up?

Gosh, depends on the day. Right now I have Amy Winehouse, Rasputina, Ulver and Wolfpack Unleashed in my car so generally those lately.

Have you done any or thought of doing any Operas? What is your favorite opera?

Yes, I’ve performed in quite a few operas (Hansel and Gretel, Candide, Seijo, La Boheme) and many opera scene programs. My favorites would be Penderecki’s “Devils of Loudin”, Puccini’s “La Boheme” and “La Rondine”, R. Strauss, “Salome” and Wagner’s “Die Walkurie”. I could actually go on about my favorite operas…there are many.

How did you find Aesma Daeva and what is the story with them?

John and I went to school in River Falls, WI together, we were both music majors. I was actually quite intimidated by him at first…he was the guy on campus who actually had a recording and a very cool group that all the singers wanted to sing with. I think it was between my junior and senior year that he asked me to record on Eros. I was blown away he even knew my singing! Haha! So, after I moved to Boston to go to school there, John called me up and said he wanted to make AD a band and play shows and asked me to sing. So for four years I did that. The end, well, it was just time for a change. The VoA gig got offered to me and it felt right at that time to end my days with AD and move to VoA.

What about Visions of Atlantis? The beginning and ending…

VoA was introduced to me through a mutual contact to Napalm Records. I liked the direction I heard they wanted to take (I thought songs like Realm of Fantasy needed to be stricken from the earth forever…. So we got going on that, did an album that was heavier than the rest and was with them for 2 years. The end, well, I’ve pretty much said what the end was. And the end has really just been a new beginning.

On a personal level, has there been any one song that you’ve sung that has really connected with you? If so, what and how?

Well, Return to You from VoA, which I wrote about my niece. Its extremely personal and very hard for me to sing and even listen to. Its just too personal and brings up emotions of the event that happened that she was taken from us here. With AD, Since the Machine was always a good one to sing because it is so relevant to our world today, even if it was based on the book 1984.

Do you like touring? How does it reflect on your personal life and being away from home for so long?

I like doing shows, I like touring too. I like seeing new places, but on some tours, its hard to see the places you are playing. I generally like traveling a lot.

What are you plans for the future?

Wolfgang and I are writing for a new album currently…though we are taking it a bit slow because our personal lives are a bit busy at the moment. : ) but once the wedding is over, we will be focusing on music a lot more with plans to release an album with a new group by the end of the year.

I know a lot of singers of techniques for preparations before shows; do you have any techniques, rituals, etc.?

I try to stay relaxed. I get really anxious to get on stage, not scared, just super excited. So I have to try and keep those in check. Right before going on stage, I try to meditate to ground myself, connect with my band mates and connect energy with the audience. I also do the usual vocal warm ups, stretching and doing makeup and hair.

Do you still see yourself in the music business ten years from now?

Of course. Its what my life has been dedicated to. Though I don’t imagine I will be in the metal world anymore (will be too old I think), but the classical world more probably.

Have you always wanted to be a singer or are there other goals you have in life?

I’ve had many goals. Originally in college my major was elementary music education, I wanted to teach kids to sing and play music. And currently as the Education Manager of the MN Shubert Center, I’m still realizing that goal by helping to provide free dance and music education to schools throughout Minnesota as well as giving private singing lessons. The goal to sing professionally is of course something I will always have in my life as well.

As a kid, what did you listen to and who were your role models?

Oh god…um, I loved Dolly Parton and Crystal Gail…as a child you tend to listen to what your parents listen to though. When I started picking out my own music, I loved Poison (the whole men in drag thing rocked my world), Samantha Fox, Paula Abdul (such a child of the 80s). Strangely though I also used to get the kids together in the neighborhood to “stage” the Phantom of the Opera. I was in love with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford and the whole dark love story. I remember performing it in my garage for our parents. Haha! I can imagine it wasn’t the best performance of the musical in history. Teenage years…I really got into Indigo Girls, and Grrrl rock.

Are there any singers you would like to work with? Maybe duet?

Well, the last two years, my life was nothing but duets with Mario. I have recorded two duets for a band called Withering Soul and another called Drachen with another recording on the way with a band from Croatia. But I’m always open to duet work.

Now moving onto training. Have you had any vocal training? If so, how long and what school(s) did you attend?

Yup. Bachelor degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Masters from New England Conservatory in Boston, MA in Vocal Performance, Opera Emphasis. Since then I’ve trained with various coaches and teachers here.

Are there certain drinks or food you avoid to keep your voice strong?

No. Though I don’t have any dairy before singing because it mucks up my throat and I definitely don’t drink before going on stage. But no, I’m not particularly sensitive to food, drink or much actually in general.

Do you have any family members who are also in the music business?

Nope. Well, my godfather is a polka accordion player.

~Personal Issues~

Sex & Love, well how is your love life going? Also, what do you feel, as a woman, should our limitations be to sex? Prostitution, Public display, etc.?

Haha, love life is going well! Getting married in 2 weeks!

Hm, limitations…well, I don’t know. Everyone woman is unique and I cant possibly put myself in the mind of a prostitute or stripper. I don’t understand it but I’m not about to chastise it. I think people should make decisions on their own about whats best for them, BUT should always ask themselves if they would regret that decision later.

Fortune & Fame, nowadays for many celebrities and plain folks like myself, it is all about the money and who is the best. How do you feel about this issue?

I think that is a shit attitude. I mean, yeah you gotta live, you gotta keep your ass out of debt and you have to have food to eat. But to place your sole existence on making money and the attitude of ‘he who makes the most money is the best’ is trash. See my blog on What is Success and you can see what my thoughts on that are.

Looks, a lot of people are pressured to be thin or to be beautiful and the best and because of it a lot of people are turned away from their dreams, what are your feelings to that? Do you believe in plastic surgery and anything related to this?

I think it is sad people place so much emphasis on appearance when we have so many other issues that are not self-centric in the world. Sure I would like to have bigger boobs but I would much rather spend that money on donating to a cause like keeping arts education in the schools or eliminating non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which my best friend suffers from. I think people should look at the things that REALLY matter in the world, and spend less time on focusing on their personal appearance.

Friends, do you still talk to any from before you became famous?

First, I’m not famous. Second, of course I do. And not just friends from the past, but new friends that I’ve met on the road as well. Meeting new people is one of my favorite things and creating new friendships is the cherry on the cake. But I do spend a lot of time with my closest and dearest friends and family.

Children, how do you feel about them and do you have or want any?
What about abortion?

Yup, definitely want 2 or 3 of them. : ) I love kids and have 11 nieces and nephews. Abortion, again a personal choice. Who am I to judge someone’s situation?

Violence, do you feel the people (presidents, government, courts, etc) have done all they can to eliminate the craziness in the world today or do you think there is more they can do?

I think the leaders need to move onto other tactics, such as conversations, talking out issues and differences. I think people don’t believe in the power of words anymore, which is sad. I hate violence/war, I don’t understand it. I’ve never been a violent person so I cannot possibly understand why someone would resort to such barbaric behavior.

Religion, are you a very religious person and what are your beliefs?

I used to follow a pretty rigid Wiccan belief, but now I guess I would call myself spiritual. I think all religions preach the same message for the most part, but all carry hypocrisies that I just cannot accept. So I guess I consider myself spiritual, that’s all. I just believe that you should treat others and the earth with respect and treat yourself with respect. It also feels like maybe if people would stop looking up at the clouds looking for heaven, and started looking right in front of them, here, on earth, and MAKE earth your heaven, we might have less conflict in the world.

Abuse, be it spousal or child abuse, do you think justice for abusers and molesters should be more severe than it is?

Well, that is hard. right now, there is a movement to allow the death penalty for child rapists. In some places, there isn’t any justice for such abuses. I don’t believe in violence, but I do believe in experience and I feel sometimes that if someone does something like rape a person, that person should find out what that feels like back. Eye for an eye I guess. I don’t know, I’m not really qualified to answer that question really….but if I was in a situation where I was raped, or my child was raped, I would want that person to suffer the same as I did. Maybe it would change their thinking in a more profound way.