I’m a sucker for storytelling in my music, whether it’s Nile sharing ancient Egyptian texts, Bal-Sagoth spinning H.P. Lovecraft inspired yarns, or Blind Guardian penning tales of dragons and Middle-Earth. It could all be written off as a gimmick, however, if the music isn’t very good. In the case of Paris’s Atlantis Chronicles, you get some great storytelling, AND some pretty impressive technical death metal/metalcore, similar in sound to The Faceless.
Barton’s Odyssey, the latest release from Atlantis Chronicles, tells the story of a man named Otis Barton, who travels into the depths of the ocean. This tale is told through the lyrics, as well as non-musical interludes with a voice actor playing Barton reading excerpts from his diary. This story, coupled with the fantastic cover art by Par Olofsson (who has done work for Immortal, The Faceless, and Aborted) already captured my interest, but what about the music? Well, I can safely say that Atlantis Chronicles are just as entertaining musically as they are lyrically. The guitar-work is the real standout here, with sweep-picking galore, and plenty of time changes throughout each track. What I really enjoy here, though, is that despite the extremely technical nature of the music, it doesn’t feel like Atlantis Chronicles are showing off. The sweeps add an almost symphonic tone to the music (reminiscent of Fleshgod Apocalypse) that make everything sound larger than life, which compliments the story greatly. “Upwelling – Part 1” and “Upwelling – Part 2” really stand out, with melodic singing mixed in, guitar effects that sound like they were recorded underwater, and some fast, furious death metal riffs.
The production on Barton’s Odyssey is pristine, allowing for each instrument and the vocals to all shine brightly in the production. The use of keyboards when Otis is reading from his diary gives the album an even more aquatic vibe. Atlantis Chronicles have crafted a pretty harrowing tale with this record, and have backed it up with some pretty solid musical chops. If you like tech-death in the vein of The Faceless, or like epic-sounding storytelling metal similar to Bal-Sagoth, give these guys a listen.