1. Heaven Is Calling
2. Facing Your Enemy
3. Eyes Of A Stranger
4. Fear No Evil
5. Live & Learn
6. Don’t Dream
7. See Me Crying
10. March Of The Dwarf
11. Fame And Fortune
12. Things I Never Needed
Rick Altzi (v)
Olaf Lenk (g, k)
Chris Hill (b)
Casey Grillo (studio d)
Tim Breideband (live d)
May 30, 2012
Facing Your Enemy
© 2012 AFM Records
12 tracks - TT 50:06
release date: April 27, 2012
It’s obvious that the opinions about melodic metal band At Vance differ a lot. Personally I think that the band reached its peak with the “Only Human” album in 2002. Lead vocalist at the time was Oliver Hartmann, but shortly after the release of that album he left the fold due to lack of motivation for touring. He was replaced by Mats Levén for a couple of albums, but since 2007’s “VII”, it’s David Coverdale and Jorn soundalike Rick Altzi who’s fronting the band … and with each album, he seems to go from strength to strength. Presented with one of the nicest album covers I’ve seen in quite some time (courtesy of the great Thomas Ewerhard), “Facing Your Enemy” counts 12 original tracks recorded by the band’s main man, guitarist Olaf Lenk. Worth mentioning is that the drums were played and recorded by Kamelot’s Casey Grillo, giving the catchy material an extra kick. What I like about At Vance’s 9th studio album is the diversity of the material. The band once began as a neo-classical outfit and there are still various influences from that corner, but today At Vance has turned into a full-blown melodic metal band, with hints of melodic rock. Highlights include mid-tempo tracks like “Facing Your Enemy” and “See Me Crying”, heavier cuts like the opener “Heaven Is Calling” and “Fame And Fortune” and ballads like “Don’t Dream” and “Things I Never Needed”, on which Olaf Lenk is taking over the lead vocals from Rick Altzi and proves that he has a good singer in his own right. One thing is for sure: this is the best At Vance album since the recruitment of Altzi. (CL
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This Cd is definitely not my favorite of the At Vance catalog. But I think the part that bums me out the most is the not so great recording sound. It sounds like they had no budget. The songs are good, the playing excellent as usual but the production makes me yearn for something else more crankable.
A bit dissapointment because "Ride the sky" was their best since "Evil In you"... More neo classical tunes like "Saviour" and "Heaven Is calling" please!!! :)
i hope this one will grow after a few more spins
In 2009 “Ride The Sky” was a fine return to the top for AT VANCE with an updated and more mature, or more Classic Hard Rock, sound, they released their best album since "Only Human"… Back then Rick Altzi (also very busy with SANDALINAS / FREQUENCY and THUNDERSTONE) was the trigger for the new start.
The Swede is such a great singer with amazing abilities combined with a spectacular range and a truly moving sensibility, but despite his Lande / Coverdale similarities, the attentive followers of the band surely will noticed that this time again, Altzi sounds almost like the original singer: Oliver Hartmann (CENTERS / AVANTASIA / HARTMANN / IRON MASK / EMPTY TREMORS / GENIUS) but also like NARNIA / DIVINEFIRE’s German Pascual this is quite obvious in the low-register… This is a good point in my mind!
This album is a little more Power Metal oriented than “Ride The Sky” was, and if the five first tracks + “Fame And Fortune” are killers (with blasting drums played by KAMELOT’s Casey Grillo) some others songs like “Don’t Dream” or “See Me Crying” are still striking… Simply more in the RAINBOW / WHITESNAKE style… The title track as an example, is the perfect 2012’s AT VANCE flag song with big chorus and a simple unless stunning reduplicate riff. The keys are present in the overall and refined sound without weakened the rhythm guitar tone and gave to the album a full & rich yet sophisticated production.
“Savior” is more like the earliest albums and quite similar to STRATOVARIUS's “Episode” era! “Tokyo” is a very interesting cover track originally recorded by CRAAFT’s mastermind Klaus Luley’s early AOR band TOKYO. Strangely Luley is back to the frontline as his new solo album “Today’s Tomorrow” was released some weeks ago and as no-less than 4 TOKYO’s CDs were re-released last year! “March Of The Dwarf” is a short Neo-Classical instrumental in the true tradition of the genre and as always a good display for the quite impressive melodic lead-guitar work provided by Olaf Lenk (aka Olaf Jung). Not a weak track so far, for me the last one with the acoustic pace is a pleasant ending for this downright recommended platter.*****
(originally written for www.metal-temple.com)
Yes more diverse and less neo classical but unfortunately there is a common theme in that every genre attempted on the album be it ballads, hard rock, neo classical or a few heavier songs is of the poorest quality I have heard for some time.
For a band that have been so unsuccessful it's amazing they are still allowed to record. At least the production is better than their last outing but this is a quite unlistenable album with no merit.
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