Wednesday, June 20, 2007

At Vance - VII 2007 review

At Vance - VII

AFM Records 2007

Olaf Lenk and At Vance are beginning to resemble Mr Malmsteen, not only in their Neo Classical style but also with the recent changes in singers. Though At Vance are nowhere near as prolific when it comes to rotating front men, they have had 3 different vocalists for their past 4 albums. Long serving Oliver Hartmann left to be replaced by Mats Leven. I've never been a fan of Leven, so I haven't given much time to 'The Evil In You' and 'Chained'. Along comes 2007 and Rick Altzi takes the mike. I had not heard Rick before so checked out his other band Treasure Land. That band plays excellent progressive melodic metal, and it was clear after listening to Treasure Land's 'Questions' that Rick is a talented vocalist.
Since I had not listened to their 2 past albums, I gave them a listen and 'VII' is a continuation of the vibe on 'Chained' and 'The Evil In You' but with even bigger choruses and melodies.

At Vance have always had a ton of melody in their songs but this time around the songs sound massive. Rick Altzi is all over Olaf's material, his vocals a strong mix of Hartmann and Jorn Lande. And Rick has plenty of good stuff to work with. 'Breaking The Night' and 'Golden Leaves' are classic At Vance, full speed ahead neo-classical metal that would have fit right in on their 'Heart Of Steel' album.
When seeing the song 'Cold As Ice' listed I was sure we would hear a cover of the Foreigner classic, but no. This is an At Vance original and a damn fine slice of Euro melodic hard rock. The pace is also varied by the brooding 'Friendly Fire' and simmering 'Answer Me'. The only ballad is an acoustic version of one of my favourite At Vance tracks, 'Lost In Your Love'. Unfortunately this pales in comparison to the original. I don't like the arrangement and though Rick is in fine voice on the rest of the album, he doesn't hit the mark here.

On 'VII' there is no variation of the tried and true At Vance formula. The addition of Rick Altzi is a very good move as he will fit all of the previous material as well. Olaf Lenk continues to keep At Vance in the upper echelons of the neo classical metal world and anyone attracted by this style of music will more than lap up this release. At Vance do what they do well and their seventh album is a prime example why.

Rating: 8.5/10

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