Released: 2015, Apostasy Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Despite a discography that dates back 15 years, Polish death metal veterans Lost Soul tend to get lost in the shuffle of better-known bands from the country – Behemoth, Vader, Hate, Decapitated - probably because they have not toured as far and wide and recorded for relatively obscure labels. But they are no less a bad-ass act and their new fifth album is as good as any death metal out there, Polish or otherwise.
As you might imagine, given its lofty title, Atlantis is a conceptual album, which apparently relates to Aleister Crowley's story “Atlantis: The Lost Continent” that I can't even begin to describe, so let's just leave it at that. But conceptualizing has sort of been the band's modus operandi from the beginning, so this is par for the course.
Atlantis certainly sounds like a thematic work, kicking off with the brazenly epic nine-plus minute “Hypothelemus,” by far the album's longest. most elaborate track, that opens with spoken words and chanting before blasting off into a whirlwind of technical death metal majesty. It definitely makes a statement – and the choral vocal parts courtesy of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra are a nice touch that, thankfully, are not overdone, here or elsewhere.
At roughly half the length, “Aqueous Ammonia” and “Ravines of Rapture” follow “Hypothelemus” with full death metal fury as the band bring it with a vengeance driven by Asmodeus Draco Dux's cyclonic drums and the slash and burn guitars of frontman Jacek Grecki and Marek Gołaś. The music here, and on the hookier “Frozen Volcano” and “The Next Generation,” recalls Demigod era Behemoth – especially in Grecki's Nergal-like vocal roar – but with more complexity and finesse.
“Unicornis” is full of Morbid Angel-like twists, turns and grandiosity, with more prominent choir vocals, a host of time changes and a “Where The Slime Lives” like creepy crawl that appears yet again on “Perihelion.” “Vastitas Borealis” and “False Testimony” introduce black metal into the mix with its trademark fleet guitaring, accented by some nontraditional incendiary soloing – something Grecki and Gołaś showcase with some regularity here, and with generally impressive results.
“Atlantis” concludes things by circling back to revisit the opening track's epic scale and frills, but doesn't lay it on quite so thickly or for as long. The promo included the three bonus tracks from the deluxe edition, which offer more of pretty much the same battering as the album tracks, but perhaps did not quite fit into the theme. So when all is said and done, Atlantis clocks in at nearly 70 minutes with the added material, which is an awful lot to take in in one stretch.
But better too much than too little, especially when it’s this brutally accomplished. So poke around the dark recesses for Atlantis, because it is certainly worth the effort.