Review: Souls of Diotima – The Sorceress Reveals Atlantis

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Written by Eddie Z.

The album opens with the sound of a clock ticking, a fire crackling and a music box tinkling. You can hear footsteps as a mother walks over to her daughter’s bed to tuck her in and tell her it’s time to sleep. The child requests a bedtime story. The mother begins a tale of a story-telling Sorceress who loved Atlantis. The music starts.

The dialogue is creepy. I’m quite positive it wasn’t intended to be, but the child is voiced by an obviously grown woman attempting to emulate a child’s voice. Generally speaking, all the voice acting on this album is far from spectacular (best described as uncomfortably awkward). However, the concepts are still conveyed and that’s the REAL point. What we have is an orchestral metal album, not a theatrical stage production. So, if we focus solely on the music and forgive the mood-ruining voice acting, we have a great deal to be thankful for.

The music is fantastic, with the orchestral arrangements laying out gorgeous narratives as the album unfolds. Claudia Barsi’s voice is strong and fluid. The mix is exquisite. The Sorceress Reveals – Atlantis is a real treat for the ears.

Track 14, “Zeus Unleashed (Interlude),” has a prominent bit of dubstep which really drags you out of the symphonic environment that the rest of the album lays out. It’s jarring and uncharacteristic, but it’s also interesting to hear since you rarely ever are presented with that mix (perhaps clash) of dubstep, orchestra and metal.

Yet what bothers me the most about this album is I can’t find any credits for additional performers or musical contributors. The band does a phenomenal job with performing their parts. Truly, their performances are delicious, but this is a concept album and the orchestra is often taking center stage. The ethereal orchestra sweeps the audience off their feet and we haven’t a single name to thank for it.

Are there other guests on this album? Was the narration entirely voiced by Claudia? Who voiced the male characters? Are we to assume the producer Johan Örnborg is the one who orchestrated and arranged the orchestra/synth, entirely performed and recorded it all, and also created the electronic/dubstep parts? What about the wind instruments/ethnic horns? Was there some kind of accordion on the album, or was that synth? If it was an accordion, then who performed it? This lack of guest acknowledgement is what kills the album’s credibility for me. The album itself is great.

If bad acting and album trivia is of no consequence to you, and all you care about is the music itself, this is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, an album that ranks high on the list of “best releases of 2016.” But if you crave realistic acting, and if you’re a details hound, you’re screwed. 8/10

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