Atlantis was started in 2006 as a solo project by Gilson Heitinga taking influences from film scores, noise, doom, 70‘s psychedelia, ambient & electronica as well as Massive Attack, Nine Inch Nails, Neurosis, Portishead, SWANS, Clint Mansell. After hearing a number of demos Atlantis were signed to Field Records to release the debut album 'Carpe Omnium' in 2007 receiving great reviews. To support this release a live band was formed and their first show was at the Dutch ZXZW Festival.
Since then Atlantis have played across Europe including the UK. Sharing stages with 65daysofstatic, Oceansize, Caspian, Maybeshewill, Motek, ‘EF’, Pure Reason Revolution and many more. In 2009 a limited vinyl edition of 'Carpe Omnium & San Diablo' was released on VOD-Records from Germany. This was released as a double gatefold LP of 'Carpe Omnium' accompanied by the new 4 song EP 'San Diablo'. 2010 was completely focused on the writing and recording of the new album ‘’Mistress Of Ghosts’’ mixed by Wouter Nagtegaal and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna, Switchblade, Ef...) which will see it’s release in April 2011.
Lately, the Nottingham based label, Field Records have been putting out and championing some quality releases from bands like Maybeshewill and most recently, the now much loved debut album from Alright The Captain.
Now, introducing Atlantis. Beginning as a solo project of Gilson Heitinga and releasing the 2007 debut Carpe Omnium, a full live band was eventually formed and Atlantis morphed into something new.
Mistress of Ghosts, the follow up effort, is a riveting listen, it has to be said. There’s a rich texture to nine these compositions that feature orchestrations and hypnotic synths that weave in and out of intense riffs. There a darker cerebral shades to Atlantis but for the more part this album exudes a lush yet no less invigorating beauty.
The album opens with the foreboding electronics of White Russians and seeps into the enigmatic guitars of Mata Hari’s Kiss. It once again swoops in and out of lush keyboards and more and more spacious guitars. This staggering air is one that’s repeated throughout the album.
A track like Inhale The Sun opens with vigorous beats and scales methodically and cunningly to a breathtaking and eerie crescendo. Meanwhile the six minute sprawl of Mascara unwinds with elegant strings and keyboards.
Conversely, the album is peppered with trenched, downcast passages like Sweet Venom and the opening refrains of To Catch A Voyeur. The latter erupts after four and a half minutes of soothing meandering and soars to some neck craning peaks.
Mistress of Ghosts is a potent album and is rich layered, there’s a film score quality to these nine soundscapes that draws the listener in. Perhaps Atlantis won’t be to everyone’s taste but there’s dynamic here that is worth exploring as undoubtedly you’ll find something that reels you in completely.
Drop-d Rating: 7/10
Mistress of Ghosts is a fluctuating album. You come across harsh guitar riffs leading to electronic soundscapes flavored with fragile (especially compared to the guitars) vocals to only be hammered with rough guitar riffs all over again.
Among the other reviews of Atlantis on web, they mention Neurosis, Clint Mansell, Portishead and Massive Attack as their influencers. They are certainly not a combination of these bands, they do however have delicate affinities between them.
Getting back to the album, for us the vividness of drums and guitars are the essential elements that would attract listeners. Especially riffs in “She Loves All” and “Mata Hari’s Kiss” are extremely captivating. Arrangement of songs in the album is very much alike to a concert playlist. Songs are not connected to each other yet it is quiet pleasing listening them one after the other.
Also the first song, “White Russians” is an exceptional opener for the album that’ll surely get listeners excited.
“Mistress of Ghosts” might not have high tension throughout the album, however when the tension rises, we are certain that it’ll rise for good and exhilarate the listeners.
One of the down sides of the album is the lack of variety in electronic elements. Listeners come across similar electronic tones and elements in most of the songs. In some songs it even makes you say “Wish this was only guitar, drums and bass”. “Year Zero” album of Nine Inch Nails could be a good reference for this album’s electronic tone. But we must also note that acoustic instruments were recorded in an exceptional drone album quality.
Mistress of Ghosts is the most delicate and meticulous work of Atlantis who has worked with Oceansize, Caspian and Maybeshewill since 2006. The man behind this project, Gilson Heitinga spent the entire 2010 preparing this album with the cooperation of Magnus Lindberg of Cult of Luna for the album’s mastering. Seeing that Magnus Lindberg has a hand in this project makes it easier to understand why the guitars are so brutal and striking. “White Russians”, “Inhale The Sun”, and “She Loves All” are the favorites of Offprint in Mistress of Ghosts which will be released by Field Records on April 2011.
The opening track of Atlantis’s second full-length studio album on Field Records, fizzes and clangs with an industrial hue beneath a wash of synthy fuzz that perhaps wouldn’t sound out-of-place on the Blade Runner soundtrack. It sets the tone for what is in the main, a largely over-produced collision of analog and digital instruments in the vein of 65daysofstatic but with its own very distinctive character.
Having supported some big names and landed a slot on the formidable ZXZW festival, Atlantis could easily gather a reputation to match their gigantic sound. The bleeps and throbbing saw waves are complimented by heavy guitars that mosh along at a slower pace than that of any 65DoS record and so the easy-to-make comparison crumbles quickly. ‘She loves All’ establishes its self with a gargantuan riff, only to drop for a spooky and surreal female vocal that leads the track to its end across a pure stadium-rock lick backed by a gorgeous soft-synth.
There’s enough eclectic instrumentation here too with reflective piano arpeggios and live kit chopped up and splattered amidst glitchy breaks and splashes of colour. The electronic influence is nicely braced against the foundation of a heavy, 4/4 staple.
On the down-side, mid-way track ‘Sweet Venom’ builds up nicely with a mantra-like repetitiveness, only to drift off to a some-what disappointing end. It is quickly redeemed however by the dark and almost dubstep style kick and snare swing of ‘To Catch a Voyeur’. The 808 beat on this standout track transits smoothly in and out of a roomy pre-programmed live kit that facilitates the track’s infectious plod as if it had one foot on the stage of some epic stadium concert and the other on the dance floor of some grimey urban club.
Penultimate track ‘Inhale the Sun’ gives one-time label mates Maybeshewill a run for their money as it alternates between pounding, crispy IDM-style beats and vast, string-laden majesty.
The album closes with ‘Give Me One More Hour’, which follows an effective yet linear crescendo starting with a quiet dynamic characterised by a disturbing breathy synth sound and a bass line that jogs along unobtrusively until it builds towards a bluesy clean guitar lead and finally culminating a brief drop before exploding with loud, heavy climactic riffery reminiscent of Red Sparowes.
All in all, this is a powerful record and is likely to appease any fans of epic, electronic, instrumental rock (even if there are many like-minded bands of this ilk knocking around). It is by no means unique but not in the least bit generic either and well worth a listen!
Rocked Up 4/5