Terra Atlantica – “Age Of Steam” (Pride & Joy Music)
Battle Helm Rating
Following up on their 2017 debut “A City Once Divine” comes “Age Of Steam”, continuing the saga of Atlantis, which has risen again in the 19th century to create an industrial revolution that threatens the British Empire, who go to war with it! Notwithstanding the concept, Terra Atlantica’s music is something else altogether, being an excellent brand of German power metal laced with stylish symphonic aspects that make this sophomore well worth a listen. Inspired by the likes of Gamma Ray, Avantasia and Freedom Call, the band was formed in 2014 by singer Tristan Harders and drummer Nico Hauschildt to combine memorable choruses, catchy polyphone vocals and epic orchestrations, which they’ve pretty much succeeded in on the 11 excellent tracks here. Touring with Majesty, Stormwarrior, Grailknights and Victorius, “Age Of Steam” features a range of guests from guitarist / singer Alex Hunzinger (Aeternitas), who once again is arranging the orchestral elements, while singer Oleg Rudych (Magistarium) and Gabriel Tuxen (Seven Thorns) appear as contributors. Mixing and mastering was handled by Marc Wüstenhagen (guitars, Thunder And Lightning) and the cover artwork was created by Dusan Marcovic (Dragony, Symphonity). As a gentle piano introduces ‘Mermaids Isle’, Frederik Akkermann’s clean guitar brings forth its classy melodic riffs to accompany Harders’ flowing vocals in building to the hugely soulful chorus, followed by exquisite soloing and all to a slick rhythm too – wow! Increasing the speed and epic guitar melodies on ‘Age Of Steam’, Harders’ soul, backed by vocal shout outs from the band along the lines of old school Riot, is really given some finesse by Akkermann’s neo-classical work as Hauschildt rolls in his double bass drums to cap off superbly. Rocking back and forth as if on a stormy sea is ‘Forces Of The Oceans Unite’, basking in epic glory through its stirring riffs, passionate orchestrals and rhyming lyrics all leading up to another massively catchy singalong chorus that will simply go down a treat live, complete with a sea of swaying arms aloft! Not forgetting a ballad, here with acoustic guitars and violin driving the emotion on ‘Believe In The Dawn’, Harders’ singing really shows its measure along with the rest of the instruments adding just the right balance into this truly moving song. In contrast is the fast and furious power metal symphony of ‘Rage Of The Atlantic War’ with its glorious chorus lines of ‘…across the skies came an army of demonic knights…’, neo classical breaks and then a cool vocal mix of clean and gruff vocals as the riffs and drums battle it out – although the melodies remain as beautiful as ever. Ending this impressive release with ‘Until The Morning Sun Appears’, it’s all the winning elements brought together in a finale reminiscent of Freedom Call from Harders’ heart calling vocals to the deep, flowing soul of the riffs and melodies, all backed by Hauschildt’s ceaseless double bass drumming that soars with uplift and an abundance of feelgood energy. Truly an enjoyable album with so many good songs, the name Terra Atlantica will long stay with me, even if the British Empire feels menaced by it all ha ha!