Atomic Symphony are a symphonic metal band from Switzerland with a female singer. Naturally they are going to draw comparisons with Nightwish, partly because it is the same genre but primarily as they both have female leads. What Atomic Symphony manage to achieve very early in this album however, is a sound that, yes, clearly is symphonic (and progressive too) metal, but a sound for themselves where the vocals blend in and compliment the music very well.
There are many different aspects which stand out when listening to this album for the first couple of times; the virtuoso of the playing is second to none, great solos, arrangements and musical breaks. It’s very symphonic, darkly so, not doom exactly (although there are some grandiose doom moments to enjoy) but in its cinematic sweeps there is a darker sound than some of their contemporaries which I like and thirdly is that the vocals work lyrically but are also very much used as an extra instrument and the timing and emphasises of the vocals on many tracks compliment the instrumental aspects of the songs rather than taking over and you away from the magnificence of those arrangements.
Redemption opens with ‘Lost Eden’ a cinematic fanfare that you could imagine being used over the scenes of marauding armies. This is only further enhanced by what is to become a very characteristic lead riff style on the album by guitarist Roberto Barlocci. These lead riffs along with the progressive and symphonic style really help to define Redemption, I mention these lead riffs rather than the solos because they are very much a progressive story telling style of lead, the sort of solo Iron Maiden have been mastering for years.
It is on second track ‘Abyss where you really see the great interplay between the vocals and music and I guarantee after a couple of listens to this song and you will love the chorus, the way that singer Jasmin Baggenstos draws out the chorus and punctuates with the music which changes pace for this segment. ‘Abyss’ is one of the stand out tracks on the album and the reason for this is that it has so many elements to draw you in; that chorus, several pace changes and musical bridges including a middle doom segment, which is always going to be a bit of a winner with me. Several technically very very good guitar solos but what is amazing with bands like Atomic Symphony is that they still manage to pull these elements together to make one overall sound and song and not sound bitty or that they just showing off. What’s more impressive is that this album is also self-produced. It’s clear to see why this is the lead single
‘Walk Through Fire and Pain’ again has the militaristic drumming as we saw in the opening track which migrates into a progressive chord changes sequence heralding Jasmin to call for the soldiers to grab their swords and enter the battlefield. The imagery in the lyrics on this album suits the imagery created by the music very well. I am always a fan when the music alone can tell the story and this is very apparent on Redemption
‘Face the Evil’ introduces a new pace to the album, up until now we have been treated to loud bombastic openings whereas ‘Face the Evil’ has quiet reflective guitars and soulful vocals. As you would expect with Atomic Symphony, on this track; the nearest they come to ballad; as the track progresses the overall band sound is slowly introduced with the soulful vocals increased onto an even higher emotional plane. This is enriched further by a central piano solo which then accompanies those soulful vocals again. The highlight of this song is still probably the ending though where that fantastic Iron Maiden style story solo takes us to the end of the song.
Delusive Dreams is the only instrumental on the album and is another stand out track. It has a central riff played on the synthesiser that is attractive and played just enough to carry the song but not overplayed. This central theme is interplayed in and out with chunky guitar parts and then a lead solo playing this same riff along to the synthesiser. As you would come to expect of this band, there are plenty of solos on this track and technically it can’t be faulted. The one to end the song is worth listening to for this reason entirely
‘Abyss’ may be the lead single but my favourite track on the album is definitely ‘Asylum’. Right from its drum solo start, a relentless pattern that remains throughout the opening of the song to when the subtle synthesiser and vocals are introduced. This opening slowly build ‘s into a bridge and chorus that is not only catchy but highly addictive and used to great effect throughout the song. There are some great pace changes again in this song (much like Abyss) that at times remind me of Muse. Again each segment works as an individual piece of music and in the track as a whole.
There is a lot to impress on this Atomic Symphonies debut album and the fact that the album is self-produced just makes it that more impressive. It would be great to see them perform Redemption live and hopefully we will be hearing more of the band in 2016. Nightwish and others may just want to start looking over their shoulders as symphonic metal has a new band looking to take that crown and Atomic Symphony comes with their own sword bearing marauding army so watch out.