Review: Terra Atlantica – Age Of Steam
Pride & Joy Music (August 14th 2020)
Reviewer: David Pearce
Terra Atlantica are Tristan Harders on vocals, Nico Hauschildt on drums, bass player Julian Prüfer and lead guitarist Frederik Akkermann. To give depth to the concept album ‘Age of Steam‘ they invited Alex Hunzinger from Aeternitas, Oleg Rudych, the lead singer of Magistarium and Gabriel Tuxen of Seven Thorns aboard and set sail for uncharted waters. Their new album ‘Age of Steam‘ continues the story of Atlantis from their debut album ‘A City Once Divine‘, as its growing influence concerns the British Empire in the 19th Century and plans are made to eliminate this would be rival for good.
‘Rebirth 1815‘ is a suitably bombastic start to this concept album as overblown narration competes with a soundtrack to a pirate film of the 1950s. This is followed by ‘Across the Sea of Time‘ which pounds out of the speaker with an Iron Maiden style guitar attack and lyrics that are reminiscent of one of their more fantastical tracks. It is an absolute blast to listen to as it builds to a crescendo with a dazzling guitar solo.
‘Mermaids Isle‘ is more of a melodic rock ballad in the style of Europe as the album really starts to get into its stride. ‘Age of Steam‘ is pure Rick Wakeman style prog rock with the keyboards being put through their paces and anchoring one of my favourite tracks on the album. ‘The Treachery of Mortheon‘ sounds like an offshoot of Wakeman’s King Arthur album and returns to the guitar and drums of heavy rock to great effect.
‘Forces of the Ocean Unite‘ once again delves into Prog Rock as it uses a powerful chanted vocal style to presage the battle to come. ‘Quest into the Sky‘ revisits the melodic rock style of ‘Mermaids Isle‘ as the album draws the listener further into the story and continues to capture the imagination, at the same time the sheer musical quality of Terra Atlantica blows you away.
‘Believe in the Dawn‘ is a gorgeous song, very reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Paradoxically, the restraint of the vocals and the music really gives the song its power and it is my favourite track on the album. ‘Gates of the Netherrealm‘ starts off with a Viking chant before developing into a soft rock track of real quality. ‘Rage of the Atlantic War‘ powers through your defences with its heavy metal guitar and a really fine lead vocal which oozes quality. The return of the Viking chant gives it another layer that tells you that we are reaching the climax of the quest.
‘Until the Morning Sun Appears‘ is the final track of a marvellous album which starts with a Roy Bittan style piano that sets up a melancholy finale. The wistful vocals at the start remind me of Wind of Change by The Scorpions, but soon the song gets faster and louder and it is fitting that this track gives the chance to all the musicians and vocalists to shine.
Like all really good concept albums, ‘Age of Steam‘ draws you into its world and gives you a clear narrative but never forgets the importance of great music. Terra Atlantica are clearly steeped in the history of the concept album and they have added another classic entry to the genre.