At Vance


No Escape

At Vance - No Escape ©1999 Crazy Life Music
1. Flying High
2. No Escape
3. No Speak
4. Die In Your Arms
5. All For One, One For All
6. Money, Money
7. Antonio Vivaldi; Four Seasons - Summer
8. Lost In Your Love
9. Power & Glory
10. Seven Seas

What is it with Germans and power metal? It seems like every time you turn around there's another German power metal band staring you in the face. At Vance came on to the scene in 1999 with this debut album of stylish melodic power metal.

There are definite Stratovarius influences obvious from the get go. The comparison is perhaps inevitable when one comes to looking at a power metal band that tries to blend in elements of speed metal. There is a lot of this style of metal out there. You can't throw a rock in Germany without hitting some power metal band member in the noggin. This is a debut disc and it has the debut feel to it. There is a lack of direction and cohesiveness and the level of confidence is not up as high as it is on the next disc.

I like the short instrumental pieces on the disc, especially the nod to Vivaldi. This band could really go somewhere if they ventured further into the neo-classical realm, but this disc does not push their limits. After you've heard the play style, you know they are capable of so much more. Some of that potential is realized on Heart Of Steel, making it the disc of choice if you are considering giving At Vance a listen.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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Heart Of Steel

At Vance - Heart Of Steel ©2000 Crazy Life Music
1. Prelude
2. Soldier Of Time
3. The Brave And The Strong
4. Heart Of Steel
5. S.O.S.
6. King Of Your Dreams
7. Princess Of The Night
8. Goodbye
9. Why Do You Cry?
10. Don't You Believe A Stranger
11. Chopin / Etude No. 4

At Vance gain a bit of ground on this disc. There is a heavier leaning toward the neo-classical, progressive metal that was a faint glimmer on No Escape. I still wish they had taken the idea a few steps further, but growth is growth. This disc is a great collection of songs put together by a band still feeling their way toward where they want to be. The band plays with far more confidence on this disc and the music is tight, complex and fast. The singing is taken a notch or two higher and the band moves with a unity of purpose throughout the disc. The degree of improvement over No Escape is very noticeable.

The first two tracks segue into each other and start the disc off with a solid rocketing tune. The third track is an anthem of steel in the vein of Hammerfall or Edguy. The interesting inclusion is a cover of Abba's "S.O.S.", giving a metal interpretation to a dance hit. Whether or not it works I leave up to you, but it is highly unusual to find such a song covered by a metal band.

It's tunes like that and the opener / closer duo that give this disc a feel for experimentation while looking for a sound on which to settle. I'd be interested to see what a third disc from these guys would offer. Neo-classical, guys, I'm telling you, it's your definite strong point. (As though they'll ever read this.)

If you're looking for another good speed metal disc with progressive overtones, give this one a listen.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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