The metal band from Styria, Austria, formed during 2000 around the same time as Nightwish, fascinated by the myth of Atlantis. Werner Fiedler, Thomas Caser, Christian Stani, and Chris Kamper decided to work out a concept inspired by the secret of Atlantis.
It has been four years since their last singer Nicole Bogne died during 2013 and the members went moved on to various projects Thomas Caser – the only remaining founding member – completely overhauled the line-up with vocal duo Siegfried Samer and Clémentine Delauney plus returning veterans Chris Kamper, Werner Fiedler, and Mike Koren.
Now, these reborn symphonic power metal giants have only one thing on their minds: to revive the glorious sound of the band`s first three albums Eternal Endless Infinity, Cast Away and Trinity! Heralding an upcoming full-length album is the EP Old Routes – New Waters which features immortal fan favorites and classic moments from said records – completely re-recorded, remixed and re-master the sound and a thrilling glimpse of new shores awaiting these shell-backs.
Siegfried took time from the bands busy schedule while performing in Europe to talk about the new album and have the original members and new singer Clémentine Delauney
IMM: Hi Siegfried, the new album is bolder in its sound yet fresh. During 2013 the band members left for various reasons and the death of Nicole Bogne. Thomas Casey the founder asked if the original members would get together again. Who decided to ask Clémentine Delauney to join? How did the energy and synergy when you all got together to work on the new album?
SS: The original plan was for the original instrumentalists to come back and write the music for the new album, with Clémentine and myself being the “newcomers” in the fold. The idea for Clemi’s recruitment came from our band boss Thomas Caser, since he knew Clemi from her work with Serenity, and figured that she would be an ideal fit for Visions of Atlantis.
So the guys came back and we joined in 2013, and we tried to work on new songs, mostly trusting to the songwriters on the previous albums, notably guitarist Werner Fiedler and keyboardist Chris Kamper to write the new music. However, times change, and with most of the guys being in their mid-thirties now, other responsibilities with jobs and families come up, and after a while we had to realize that the songwriting process would not work that way, which is why we then started to work with our producer Frank Pitters on the music for the new album.
This ultimately also led to yet another lineup change, with our former live session musicians Herb Glos and Christian Douscha joining as full-time members now.
IMM: The songs are all new or some have been re-arraigned?
SS: The songs are all completely new songs, written by our producer Frank Pitters for this album, and Clemi and I worked very closely with him on the arrangement side of things, notably the vocal lines and harmonies.
IMM: I was listening to Clémentine talk about this album and what stood out to me is that all of you hit a wall on the music and asked for input from others not in the band for lyrics and music?
SS: Exactly, however, we only looked for help in respect of the actual music arrangements. That’s where our producer Frank came into play. He’s been a part of the Austrian metal scene for many years, working for Edenbridge in the studio for many years, as well as having his own band “Dignity” (including among others Jake E, formerly of Amaranthe), so he knows the ins and outs of the scene very well.
IMM: How many songs written for this album or just the ten for this album?
SS: Just those ten songs for now; however since the reception of the new album was really good, I think the motivation is now very high to continue on that path and work on a follow-up really quickly, haha!
IMM: The songs on this album based on the myth of Atlantis, surrounding areas and on current themes of current social and political topics? Including confidence in yourself and relations?
SS: That pretty much sums it up. In truth, the more “mythical” aspects are toned down on this album, as the lyrical content was to a large part determined by Clémentine, since it was the first time in any of her bands that she was able to have that kind of input. So the lyrics are really very close to her personal ideas and experiences, and we worked them out together for the album. So there’s everything in there from interpersonal relationships in “The Deep & The Dark” to more mystical themes in “Ritual Night” and also some social and political nods in “Words of War”. I think it’s pretty diverse.
IMM: The song “Return to Lemuria” based on mythology and place. an ancient civilization which existed prior to and during the time of Atlantis? Physically, it is believed that Lemuria existed largely in the Southern Pacific, between North America and Asia/Australia also called Mu, or the Motherland.
SS: Actually, for us the song signifies more the “return” to the musical roots of Visions of Atlantis, harkening back to the “Cast Away” days, as on that album, there was also a song called “Lemuria”, and the “new” one was written as sort of a throwback and tribute to that, while still illustrating the evolution of the band with this new lineup.
IMM: Who is the Indian singer and on which song?
SS: There are some ethnic vocal elements on Book of Nature, however I was not present in the studio when the singer recorded her parts, so I am afraid I can’t tell you the name at this time.
IMM: Are there more videos planned from this album and any of the shows?
SS: There will be another video coming out for the title track “The Deep & The Dark”. We expect it to be released sometime in March.
IMM: You are currently performing 15 shows across Europe with Serenity, Sleeping Romance, Secretrule and Evenmore. How does it feel to have the band on stage again There will be more shows this year and headlining any of them?
SS: I’ve actually just come back from that tour, and it was a great experience, especially to finally be able to perform “our own” new songs, as opposed to just old tracks from previous albums that neither Clémentine nor myself were actually part of. The reception of the new material by the fans was great too, so all in all it was a very successful tour – even in spite of the fact that half the band got really sick halfway through the tour, and we even had to cancel to shows on doctor’s orders. But there will be more dates coming up in the fall, so we hope we can make up for those missed shows then!
IMM: And plans for shows for North America and other countries?
SS: Currently there are not specific plans for the US, as it is always hard for European bands from our genre to tour there, but obviously we hope to be back as soon as possible. Maybe we can make it to Prog Power USA some day, or return to 70.000 Tons of Metal, which we played back in 2016. That would be awesome.
IMM: How many songs on this tour are from the new album and from the previous albums?
SS: We put a strong focus on the new album on this tour since in the previous three years, we were only able to play older songs anyway, haha! So we had a total of 7 new songs in the setlist on this tour, as well as 3 “classics”. We might add some more older songs if we play longer sets at festivals in the summer.
IMM: How are the decisions made on which songs to perform from this album and the previous albums?
SS: We discuss this well before any upcoming shows or tours since we don’t all live in the same place and everyone needs to prepare well in advance for rehearsals.
IMM: And the setlist is same for all shows?
SS: On a particular tour yes, since our rehearsal time is very limited due to the fact that not all band members live in Austria. So we need to focus on a particular set of songs. However, we change the set list up every once in a while, to keep things interesting.
IMM: Maybe to record some of the previous songs again and songs that have not been released with Clémentine for another album or EP?
SS: That’s currently not planned. We released the “Old Routes – New Waters” EP mostly to give fans a first impression of what the new vocal duo will sound like, but now that we finally have the first new album with this lineup released, we will continue to focus on more new stuff, and only perform the classics live, but not re-record them. I think the Visions of Atlantis discography stands well for itself, and the classic records should also remain as they are, with the voices of the original singers who performed on them.
IMM: This album has re-booted the band and with more music, you all can keep releasing and for more performances?
SS: Hopefully so! The first receptions of the new album have been great, even leading to a chart entry in German, which is a first for the band, so the spirits are high and we will try to continue riding this wave!
IMM: Thanks for your time and let’s hope the band can make it over to North America to perform.
SS: Thank you as well, and I agree! We hope the fans out there enjoy “The Deep & The Dark”, and keep supporting Visions of Atlantis.