Like a marriage of Evanescence's shameless pop hooks and Nightwish's goth metal tendencies, the second album by Visions of Atlantis sounds like it can't decide which band's audience it's aiming for. Unfortunately, the two camps have very little overlap, making it likely that fans of Nightwish's grandiose symphonic metal will be put off by the overbearing pop elements of would-be hits like "Cast Away" and "Lost," and Evanescence fans would find the bombastic symphonic metal of songs like "Realm of Fantasy" and "State of Suspense" irritating. New male singer Mario Plank has a much more pop-oriented voice than his predecessor, Christian Stani, and the increased focus on the male vocals at the expense of lead singer Nicole Bogner's operatic wails both makes the band more accessible and loses a big part of its musical identity. While Cast Away isn't an outright failure, it presents a young band with growing pains that hopefully will either integrate the two sides of its musical personality better in the future or allow one of them to wither away.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason