Riddles of the Sycophants

Ghosts of Atlantis

All in all, “Riddles of the Sycophants” certainly isn't a bad album in any particular way but it also isn’t one that I found to be very memorable or exciting.
November 30, 2023

GHOSTS OF ATLANTIS are a symphonic metal band from UK who formed in 2019; "Riddles of the Sycophants” is their second full length album. I was a casual fan of their debut album—it was solid but didn’t really blow me away either. “Riddles of the Sycophants” is a pretty similar sounding album that offers everything the first one does, just turned up a few notches. Their symphonic style has grown even more bombastic but it’s combined with a more extreme approach than some in the genre do, such as NIGHTWISH. However, they definitely aren’t as brutal as FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE or SEPTICFLESH. I would say a good measuring stick to compare them with would be EPICA, as they take a similar approach of combining melody with death metal without going too far in either direction.

So depending on how you feel about their first album will probably be how you feel about this one. I don't think I’ve heard a band release an album this year that is so similar to their previous one, it is somewhat difficult to tell them apart. If I played these albums back to back, I’m honestly not sure I'd be able to tell when one ended and the other began. That’s a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. As for me, I don’t mind the album being so similar to previous stuff. However, my biggest complaint is the songs just don’t grab me. They sound great at the moment but after I was done, I didn’t really have many compelling reasons to go back and revisit anything. At 50 mins in length, it is a hefty album but there weren't any moments within those minutes that really stood out to me.

The album opens with “March of the Titans,” as it builds up steam with symphonics that burst into heaviness around the 30 second mark. I do enjoy Phil’s extreme vocals quite a but I’m not overly sold on his cleans. I enjoyed the sudden burst of speed around the 1:51 mark and the solo near the end is pretty tight. “Empires Burn At Dawn,” brings back much of their speed and the quick, sharp keys go a long way in heightening the atmosphere. This is one of the more catchy songs on the album and one of the few times where I enjoyed the placement of the clean vocals. The opening to “The Alkonost” is immediately sweeping and it transitions to a melodic passage with some great deep growls. For me, this is one of the best songs on the album as their death metal side melds very well with the symphonics. The back half of the song is pretty emotional when the clean instrumentation comes in and it shows off the dynamics of their sound. If every song was like this one, I’d definitely be rating it higher. This one just clicked with me.

Unfortunately after this song, not much else clicked with me in the second half of the album. None of the remaining songs are bad but they just kind of blend in together. All in all, “Riddles of the Sycophants” certainly isn't a bad album in any particular way but it also isn’t one that I found to be very memorable or exciting.

5 / 10









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"Riddles of the Sycophants" Track-listing:
  1. March of the Titans
  2. Lands of Snow
  3. Empires Burn at Dawn
  4. The Lycaon King
  5. The Alkonost
  6. Sacramental
  7. A Maiden's Scorn
  8. Behind the Wall
  9. Riddles of the Sycophants
Ghosts of Atlantis Lineup:

Al Todd - Bass
Rob Garner - Drums
Dex Jezierski - Guitars
Colin Parks - Guitars, Vocals
Phil Primmer - Vocals

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