Originally released in 2012, Atlantean Symphony is now being reissued under Minotauro Records. Complete with remastered music and two bonus tracks, Dreamfire brings their brand of neoclassical ambience with gorgeous soundscapes, chanting vocals, and an atmosphere that inspires both fascination and awe. Interestingly enough, Atlantean Symphony is not a metal record, and Dreamfire is not a metal band. Rather, Dreamfire is the one-man project of Osirion, who did the entire album on his own, and what you get is an expanse of music that is easy to get lost in. The album has no lyrics, so all you can do is listen and be captivated by the ambiance, the instruments, and the mood the album sets.
Now, Atlantean Symphony reminds me of film music scores, similar to the Lord of the Rings soundtracks, the Game of Thrones soundtrack, and – the one that really comes to mind – Epica’s The Score – An Epic Journey. The album would not be out of place as a soundtrack to a film or a TV show about Atlantis, as its highly symphonic nature makes the listener think of the ocean and, of course, the mysteries of the legendary island. The music is expertly arranged, where it conveys emotion with nuance and the instrumentation allows the listener to project their own thoughts and emotions into it. Woven into the melodic structure are chanting, rain and thunder, and what sounds like a ship’s horn, as if calling to the voyagers to come explore the island. This adds layers of ambiance to the beauty of the record, allowing for a feeling of weightless to come through and weave the listener in and out of consciousness.
However, the best parts of the album happen towards the end, as “Through Fire Into Legend” brings some heavy strings and fast-paced music that heightens the feeling of adventure before sinking back into tranquility. The last track, “An Epitaph Graved into Water,” also brings in a piano, and you can hear the sounds of the waves crashing into the shore. The piano eventually drops off, leaving the listener to only hear the sea and what sounds like footsteps on the sand before ending. Because this is the remastered version, you also get two bonus tracks: “The Rains of Castamere” and a reworking of the final song of the album, “An Epitaph Graved into Water MMXVIII.” Continuing the theme of water, Dreamfire’s version of “Castamere” has heavy rainfall and a piano that slowly increases in volume before strings come in and give the song a sorrowful edge. This is easily one of the best arrangements of the song that I’ve heard, as it stays true to the theme of the original (sans vocals) while adding nature sounds and heavy drumming to convey destruction. Meanwhile, “Epitaph MMVXIII” sounds more ethereal and has a higher pitch than its predecessor. It also sounds more melancholic, as there is more emotion in this track than in the past 46 minutes. This time, the piano stays in the background, playing until the very end of the song.
Despite the music, the ambience, and the expertise that went into the music, the biggest issue is this album has is it drags. While the album is beautiful in its scope, the music doesn’t have a lot of variety that allows it to be more of a moving piece. It also blurs together, which, while helps diving into it, can quickly become stale. Given how the album places all the best parts towards the final four songs on the album, the lack of variety can quickly cause the listener to lose focus and perhaps move on to something else. This is nothing against the music, but it could use more attention grabbing tones that would allow for an easier listening experience.
All in all, Atlantean Symphony is an album that film / TV music lovers will enjoy. It’s a beautiful listening experience that allows the listener to appreciate expert instrumentation. If you enjoy film scores with fantastic execution or how music can add to the ambience and heighten the emotion of a scene, then this album is for you.