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At Vance - Chained (CD)

At Vance
by Grigoris Chronis at 10 April 2005, 7:35 PM

At Vance is the kind of band you like a lot, without being able sufficiently explain why. Not that the band doesn't deserve such a praise; it's just a fuzzy feeling of satisfaction to talk about them, read their news & updates and - last but not least -  expect each album they release with a certain nice emotion. Be it their low profile, their remarkable discography or their undemanding attitude, I was happy to get the promo copy of Chained to check out if the same feeling would carry on.
Not to forget: I also like the band's logo. Metallist-ic to the bone…
At Vance must be the brainchild of guitarist Olaf Lenk, judging from the band's official bio. I still remember the impression I got the first time I listened to an At Vance album - Heart Of Steel (2000) was the title. This musician features a rare ability of solving 100% melody into 100% power and producing another 100% Heavy (no noun…). I couldn't judge the album's song neither as happy nor as raw. Still, the word Metal had stuck into my mind, weird for a band that had no relation with the principles of e.g Exciter or Saxon. Anyway, after five years the ex-Velvet Viper 6-string-axeman's outfit offers a brand new release with enough highlights to chat about.
The roster: Mats Leven - an ex-Y. Malmsteen survivor - is handling the vocal duties as in 2003's The Evil In You, while former Gallow's Pole/Scanner bassist John ABC Smith and premier skinsman Marc Cross (ex-Spitfire/Metalium/Helloween/Winter's Bane) fill up a cast really breakin' loose! The entire band's in great shape and it must be a helluva good time for the lucky ones who'll catch up with the upcoming Brainstorm/At Vance/Mercenary April-May mini European tour!
The music: It's a fact that I didn't expect something else from a band like At Vance. Powerful melodies, proper usage of keyboards for sufficient atmosphere, double-bass drumming where needed and - in general - a set of well structured tunes of all tempos (mid, up, fast, slow etc). This for some may be a minus, since inventiveness is surely not a familiar term. This is up to what your relationship with the specific sub-genre is… Mine is average, so I must confess that some (few) times I felt a little bit tired. Sorry!
The production: kick-ass sound, built for proper headbangin'! Nothing more to say!
If it clears up things, I like At Vance way better than bands like Edguy or Heavenly, still one tiny step above them is Brainstorm or Metalium. Judge the style, the heaviness and the sound for yourself. For the faithful, Chained is a nearly-must have. It tastes good!

3 Star Rating

Rise From The Fall
Tell Me
Now Or Never
Two Hearts
Invention #13
Live For The Sacred
Vivaldi Winter
Run For Your Life
Olaf Lenk - Guitars
Mats Leven - Vocals
John ABC Smith  - Bass
Marc Cross - Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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