ATLAS – In Pursuit Of Memory (2018)
Released via AOR Heaven tomorrow, “In Pursuit Of Memory” is the full length debut CD by ATLAS, a Melodic Rock band from the North of England that is comprised of 5 young musicians, i.e. James Thorley (Keyboards, programming and percussion), John Moss (Lead Guitars), Howie Little (Lead Guitars), Chris Redfearn (Bass Guitar) and Craig Wells (Lead Vocals).
Keyboard player Thorley founded the band in early 2017 with the intention to create music centered around around the AOR / Melodic Rock genre whilst delving into other areas of like Hard Rock and lite Prog.
Atlas are a quite unique band in today’s Melodic Hard Rock scene: their kind of AOR is heavily inspired by the ’80s UK movement of the genre, but with the addition of strong riffs (at places edgy) and guitar solos proper from hard rock, plus progressive passages rich in melody.
“In Pursuit Of Memory” brings to my mind a long time abandoned sub-genre known as ‘proggy AOR’.
However, Atlas is much more AOR / Melodic Rock overall, with a punchy output that reminds me of very early Eclipse works.
With really interesting arrangements and versatile songwriting, “In Pursuit Of Memory” never bore you.
‘Bad Habit’ is one of the songs that better describes Atlas music; there’s pretty edgy verses, the chorus is pure UK AOR circa 1987, while the mid-section has a proggy feeling, think Balance Of Power or early Dream Theater, Images & Words era, before returning to that cathcy chorus again. Very strong stuff, and as said, unique and original.
Opener ‘Samsara’ jumps at you with its joyful rhythm, ‘Breathe Me In’ adds a poppy touch for its midtempo pace (akin Last autumn’s Dream), then ‘Flesh and Blood’ (a highlight) is a ballad with powerful vocals and a swirling, melodious guitar solo.
‘As Time Goes By’ and later ‘Lock and Key surprises with its modern AOR sound in the vein of current Scandi greats, followed by the anthemic ‘In The Frame’, recalling Greeks Wild Rose or Lionville.
‘Seasons Change’ is another sample of Atlas’ versatility, mixing punchy melodic rock with hard rock groove and yet another infectious chorus.
‘Signal Of Hope’ bring to the fore orchestrated synths and some acoustic for a very good power ballad, and closer ‘Live and Forget’ expands even more the band’s styles with a busy instrumentation
Atlas is a singular band, an a really welcomed act to the current Melodic / Hard Rock / AOR scene, offering something different. “In Pursuit Of Memory” is varied, exciting, very well performed and recorded.
The band surprises you from track to track, and while their mix of styles are not new, the way they craft and arrange the songs is always captivating.
That’s exactly how elaborated, contemporary AOR / Melodic Rock should sound like: – Atlas, welcome into the arena.
02. Bad Habit
03. Breathe Me In
04. Flesh and Blood
05. As Time Goes By
06. In The Frame
07. Lock and Key
08. Seasons Change
09. Signal Of Hope
10. Letting Go
12. Live and Forget
Craig Wells – Vocals
James Thorley – Keyboards, Programming, Percussion
John Moss – Guitar
Howie Little – Guitar
Chris Redfearn – Bass Guitar, Acoustic guitar
Sam Millar (Bigfoot) – guest Vocals