Built to Last


ATLAS comes from England with a form of AOR/Hard Rock to hook new fans.
November 20, 2023

In a historical point of view, it’s usual for writers to point to one or two bands or albums to define what a specific musical genre is, because some bands’ releases are truly a clear picture of what an entire genre or subgenre is in the end of all. To AOR, it becomes easier due some successful releases during the golden age of the genre (between the second half of the 70s and the second of the 80s), when it reigned supreme on North American parade boards and radio stations. And the names of JOURNEY and TOTO are definitive, because albums as “Frontiers” (some would say “Escape”, but’s me who’s writing this review, LOL) and “Toto IV” are the real thing into AOR, albums that heavily influenced the English quintet ATLAS, as heard clearly on “Built to Last”. These guys are playing a form of AOR/Melodic Rock (or another label the reader would chose to define this genre), with excellent catching melodies, choruses that are easy to sing along, and an elegant and silk outfit for the songs.

But this album shows some influences inherited from Prog Rock and uses a modern outfit to not be seen as something that belongs to the past. The quintet’s music sounds alive, refreshing and full of energy, with their inner individual talent fused on a solid and excellent form of music. The band’s keyboardist James Thorley signs the production and mixing of the album, while the mastering was done by the hands of the while Grammy Award winner Thomas Johannsson (that is known for his works with NARNIA, THUNDERMOTHER, WARRIOR SOUL, THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA, and others) at The Panic Room Studios in Sweden. It depicts a sonority that tries to be organic (that’s easy to be reproduced on live shows) with a very good level of clarity that allows the full understanding of what’s being played.

As usual, AOR albums are full of songs that mix Rock ‘n’ Roll energy with Pop melodies that allows the music to be swallowed easily for those that aren’t into Rock ‘n’ Roll. And to know the quintet’s music, “All or Nothing” (full of excellent melodies based on excellent keyboards’ parts and guitar riffs, and what great chorus), “You’re Not Alone” (that follows the same tendency, with powerful guitar’s parts based on solid rhythms of bass guitar and drums), “One More Night” (an elegant and Pop-like outfit is heard, with very good vocals and backing vocals laid on a fine instrumental sheath), “Tears” (a deep ballad with touches of Pop and Folk music), “Unfamiliar Love” (excellent vocals and piano-like keyboards in the clean moments), the three parts of the suite “Chasing Portraits” (namely “Lonely Hearts”, “Closer to the Picture” and “Painted Memories”), and “Best is Yet to Come” are the right ones.

This album is a case of ‘the title depicts the band’, or in other words, “Built to Last” is proof that ATLAS is here to stay. And we’re lucky for that!

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Built to Last" Track-listing:
  1. All or Nothing
  2. You’re Not Alone
  3. One More Night
  4. Another Heartbreak
  5. Tears
  6. Unfamiliar Love
  7. Just Like That
  8. Chasing Portraits I - Lonely Hearts
  9. Chasing Portraits II - Closer to the Picture
  10. Chasing Portraits III - Painted Memories
  11. Bury a Lie
  12. Best is Yet to Come
Atlas Lineup:

Craig Wells - Vocals
Howie Little - Guitars
James Thorley - Keyboards
Chris Redfearn - Bass
Ryan Briggs - Drums

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