|Review: At Vance - Ride the Sky|
|Ride the Sky|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: September 15, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
for:Ride the Sky
Good old At Vance, always a dependable act delivering their delightful, neo-classically tinged Power Metal hymns – whilst never flat-out amazing (except a few cuts from crowning achievement Only Human) At Vance retain a sound that's never really changed over the years – which is what is increasingly beginning to harm their recent output. The fact of the matter is, I believe At Vance achieved the height of their current sound with the aforementioned Only Human – released seven years ago might I add. On first listen of current opus Ride The Sky I wasn't surprised that this sounded like everything they had put out beforehand. This is At Vance by the book, no surprises (although a few worthy tracks) and severely lacking in originality. It seems At Vance are stuck in a rut, which is niggling to say as I'm a big fan of albums such as Dragonchaser and Only Human. A lot of the time this album seems to wander, like they sort of just pressed the automatic button whilst songwriting, churning out the same old stuff which has had a sore impact on my enjoyment of the release – seriously guys a little bit of bravery and creativity wouldn't go to miss – these guys were a top notch band.
Fortunately whilst things have a familiar feel, there's a few diamonds to be unveiled amongst the track listing. "Last In Line" is a damn cool galloping romp in Power Metal, featuring a sublime verse that you wouldn't expect and a raunchy pre-chorus – the chorus itself is pretty sweet with the guitars following the vocals. "Salvation Day" is pretty fresh, adding a certain Running Wild feel to the show – more tracks like this and "Last In Line" please. Of course die-hard fans who can't get enough of that At Vance sound will be pleased to hear the title track and "Power". These cuts sound a lot like the glory days of Oliver Hartmann handling vocal duties. Main offenders include an oh-so-predictable cover of "Wishing Well" which sounds completely out of place standing at track four on the card. The love them or hate them homages to classical music appear – something of a tradition for an At Vance album – are certainly not left out on Ride The Sky – this time around we have "Vivaldi - Summer 2nd Set" which is certainly a great performance and piece, however they need to stop putting these in the middle of the albums, it kills the flow. The rest of the tracks are predictable standard fare with a sleep-inducing ballad thrown in between which certainly hurts this release a lot.
Overall if you're an At Vance fan you'll know what's in store. If you can't get enough of their sound then see the score as a 4/5. For everyone else I'd give this one a miss, with two killer tracks out of 11 it's hard to justify a purchase and even harder to recommend. If you've yet to check out At Vance, I suggest picking up Only Human which stands as their finest release to date and an album all Power Metal fans would do well to look into. Otherwise I'd say avoid this.
Standout Tracks; "Last In Line" and "Salvation Day"
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