Ride The Sky
posted on 11/2009 By:
German power metal outfit At Vance remind me an awful lot of EA Sports. Once establishing their brand, they are more than happy to churn it out year after year, with slight alterations and roster updates. It's all the die-hard fans really want, and should they replace those paint-by-number power chords or make the A button kick instead of B, then there is going to be anxiety.
At Vance do have quite a specific market, appealing to the Europeans as much as kissing the next person you meet on both cheeks, but with very little understanding anywhere else. So despite a rather sore-thumb cover of Blackfoot's southern-rocker “Wishing Well” primly positioned on the run of play, this is either really you're thing; or it really is not.
Ride The Sky (At Vance '09) is the band's 8th album, and second with singer Rick Altzi who does a fairly admirable job of belting out some powerful choruses and awful lyrics with a rough and manly Jorn Lande style tone. “Torn: Burning Like Fire” in a particularly fine example of the kind treacherous lines Altzi is forced to sing and joins the unforgivable alumni of songs that rhyme "fire" with "desire", as it is dragged along by a rather tepid guitar line that was rejected from Megadeth's Youthanasia.
Tempo is a rather frustrating aspect of the album, as the ability to stay interested is drastically reduced when the pace is taken to anything less than a gallop. “You and I” is a tedious attempt at longing emotion, whilst “Falling” is a struttier go at the same vibe, that works a little better.
“Last in Line” is probably the strongest track on the album, and bursts out the starting block with a riff that was almost worth recording and an admittedly belting chorus. There are truly some pretty nifty moments, notably the jiggy intro to “Salvation Day” and the way the chorus of the title is almost copy and pasted in to wring a bit of action out of a blank-face opener. However, moments that remain, nothing ever combines to make something awesome, and the whole affair feels like a very poor man's Symphony X.
Uninspiring guitarist Olaf Lenk fosters “Vivaldi. Summer 2nd Set” as this edition's neo-classical feature, completing the familiar formula that matches the last At Vance album, and will match the next too. If next year they could keep it fresh by adding a manager mode, I vill head owt to buy eet at vance!
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