October 15, 2020

Look at the band name and then the album cover and try to guess the music genre, OK, I just know that everyone screamed power metal and you are absolutely right. The wonder and beauty of power metal is that you know what you are going to get time after time and this is the same from bands both old and new. This is not a criticism as power metal is supposed to be fast, furious, symphonic, bombastic, anthemic, fantasy based and grossly over the top which is the way we simply love it. I suppose this is a long winded way to say that Terra Atlantica is a German power metal band and that this new album is, surprise, a gloriously over the top fantasy epic concept album.

The story arc concerns the return of Atlantis in the 19th century and, to quote the album publicity, ‘Atlantis arises again and, with its advanced technologies, heralds the start of the Industrial Revolution. The British Empire feels menaced by this new power and, by an act of treason, tries to eliminate the new rival in the fight for domination on the seven seas’. Come on, how can you not buy into that concept?

I haven’t come across the band before which was founded in December 2014 by singer Tristan Harders and drummer Nico Hauschildt with the simple plan to be an epic power metal band like their heroes Helloween, Edguy, Avantasia and Rhapsody. The debut album, A City Once Divine, was released in 2017 and featured nautical myths and Atlantis in particular with the band having the pirate look but this is not really the pirate rock as performed by bands like Running Wild. There were some personnel changes after the release of the debut which meant that much of Age Of Steam was recorded by the founders, Harders and Nico Hauschildt, but they now have a full complement back in place with Julian Prüfer on bass and Freddie Akkermann on guitar and with guest appearances by vocalist Oleg Rudych (Magistarium) and Gabriel Tuxen (Seven Thorns). Obviously, the nautical themes have remained and this is a great fantasy story with the return of the fabled land of Atlantis and a battle with a devious foe (that’s right, us pesky British) for supremacy.

Musically, this is nothing short of magnificent and is everything that you want from your power metal with epic orchestration, amazing soaring and powerful voices with catchy choruses and vocal harmonies in the best traditions of Shadow Gallery plus huge and crashing guitars. Praise also has to be given to Dusan Marcovic for his superb cover art and just how much better this would look on a vinyl sleeve. Given the story, the album plays out like a Hollywood blockbuster and is a fantastic work of art and, yes, it is gloriously and magnificently over the top. I just need to get hold of a copy of the debut album A City Once Divine to see how the band started but I just know there is much more to come from this hell raising power metal outfit from Hamburg, so raise the flag and, more importantly, splice the mainbrace’!

Age Of Steam track list

  1. Rebirth 1815 (1:30)
  2. Across The Sea Of Time (4:30)
  3. Mermaids’ Isle (4:38)
  4. Age Of Steam (4:55)
  5. The Treachery Of Mortheon (4:47)
  6.  Forces Of The Ocean, Unite! (5:25)
  7. Quest Into The Sky (3:53)
  8. Believe In The Dawn (5:50)
  9. Gates Of The Netherrealm (5:47)
  10. Rage Of The Atlantica War (6:04)
  11. Until The Morning Sun Appears (8:06)