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One of Poland’s perennially underrated and vastly underestimated death metal bands is Lost Soul – who formed in Wroclaw, Poland in 1990 as Hades initially – a band that, due to continual line-up fluctuations, lack of proper exposure and plain bad luck, is only on to their fifth full length release despite existing for nearly a quarter-century. ‘Atlantis’ is, once again, a resurrection for the band. Jacek Grecki has seen other outfits of his region, sometimes undeserving, grow in profile and stature while his own band persistently remains behind. ‘Atlantis: the New Beginning’ should, once and for all, position Lost Soul firmly among the elite of the Polish – and global death metal scene.

630870_logo‘Atlantis: the New Beginning’ is the first Lost Soul album for German label imprint Apostasy Records and the successor to the critically acclaimed trio of ‘Immerse In Infinity’ (2009), ‘Chaostream’ (2005), and ‘Übermensch (Death Of God)’ (2002). From the 2009 line-up only Jacek Grecki (vocals, lead guitar) and Damian Czajkowski (bass guitar) remain. ‘Atlantis’ is the recording debut for Marek Gołaś (lead guitar) and drummer Jonathan Garofoli who was preceded by illustrious figures as Krzysztof Szałkowski and Adam Sierżęga. Garofoli brings an Italian sense of flair and stylishness to Lost Soul’s impressive percussive arsenal. Grecki and Gołaś trade solos and lead parts in what is arguably the band’s most potent guitar tandem since the pairing with long-time partner Piotr Ostrowski.

To say that ‘Atlantis’ is the most ambitious and comprehensive Lost Soul album to date would be an understatement. Grecki, who always drew more from raw emotion than sheer technical showmanship, eclipses his preceding work thanks to a greater prominence of, and reliance on, his distinct melodies, and his expressive mid-to-low grunt. The purely supplemental orchestration and choral parts by the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra give the melodies, riffs and solos a deeper dimension. ‘Atlantis’ finally accomplishes what ‘Übermensch (Death Of God)’ tried to do in 2002. Over the course of its last two albums Lost Soul has been diligently building towards this moment. Now that all the pieces have fallen into place ‘Atlantis’ is the crowning achievement in Lost Soul’s career. The album is a high-water mark not only for the band, but for the entire Polish scene.

‘Atlantis: the New Beginning’ is the crowning achievement in Lost Soul’s career

The lyrics, the highpoint of any Lost Soul release, for ‘Atlantis’ are based upon a paleoastronautic concept that chronicles a line of Atlantean kings inhabiting inner and outer planets within the solar system over the course of millennia on their way to the sun. Each track represents a specific planet, next to having its own history. To say that Grecki has constructed a compelling narrative concept layered with a multitude of nuances and details with his well-researched lyrics would be an understatement. It is the next evolutionary step and the most logical expansion upon the celestial, cosmic and innerworld themes that were explored on the preceding album ‘Immerse In Infinity’.

Lost Soul writes no inferior material and as such there is no weak track to speak of on ‘Atlantis: the New Beginning’. Ravines Of Rapture, The Next Generation, Perihelion, False Testimony, and Atlantis have some of the best soloing on the record. Unicornis starts off with some of the most incredibly diverse drumming, incorporates clean singing, choirs and even has a guest flamenco guitar solo by none other than Dave Suzuki (Churchburn, ex-Vital Remains). Vastitas Borealis not only has a multitude of rapturous solos, while housing some impressive bass licks to boot. Grecki puts more emotion in the barely two-minute and a half False Testimony than some bands manage to put in an entire album. Lost Soul has consistently proven to be one of the most gifted Polish bands. The band’s melodic sensibility and flow is only matched by that of long defunct Swedish powerhouse Luciferion. It makes one wonder what Jacek Grecki and Wojtek Lisicki could produce if ever put together in a creative environment.

As before ‘Atlantis’ was recorded at Sound Division Studios with Jacek Grecki and Arek “Malta” Malczewski producing. The album was mixed, no less than four times, and mastered at Hertz Studios by genre specialists Sławek and Wojtek Wiesławski. The production was everything that ‘Immerse In Infinity’ was but with richer, deeper, warmer tones and added textural depth, clarity and range. As always the production is thoroughly bass-heavy with all the crunch and crisp one could hope for. The digital artwork by Piotr Szafraniec surpasses even that of ‘Chaostream’, and ‘Übermensch (Death Of God)’. The standard edition has ten songs, while the deluxe edition comes with three exclusive bonus tracks: Red Giant, Sonidos del Apocalipsis and Supernovae.

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‘Atlantis: the New Beginning’ should, once and for all, position Lost Soul firmly among the elite of the Polish – and global death metal scene. Over the course of 25 years, and five albums, Lost Soul has proven to be the most reliable, consistent and gifted bands of the Polish scene. ‘Atlantis’ surpasses the best works of Behemoth in terms of artistic depth, and exceeds Yattering in levels of sheer technicality. It is, without a shred of doubt, the crowning achievement in Lost Soul’s career. This is a record you’d wish Nile, or Morbid Angel would write, but somehow never do.

Forget what you think you know about Polish death metal. A new king shall be crowned. A new standard has been set, the bar has been raised. ‘Atlantis’ is the sound of the future. The Chaostream churns…

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Wouter Roemers Wouter Roemers is a self-professed elitist, music critic, and death metal purist from Belgium. Known for his outspokenness and frank opinions on all things metal, bands and industry alike. Proprietor of Least Worst Option where he spends inordinate amount of time analyzing records three people care about.