AT VANCE – Ride The Sky

AT VANCE - Ride The Sky
  • 8/10
    AT VANCE - Ride The Sky - 8/10


AFM Records
Release date: September 18, 2009

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Ten years have passed since the release of Germany’s At Vance’s debut classic No Escape. All that was left of that era is none other than the band’s powerhouse mastermind guitarist, Olaf Lenk, and of course his own vision of how melodic Metal music should be forwarded on. Between No Escape and the new package of Ride The Sky, six additional albums were released and all were dedicated to the Neoclassical side of EU Power Metal yet different than other EU acts with the blending of Hard Rock with the spirit of the 80s. Lenk’s visualization of Metal music, with sensational slow tunes to the side of cut throat shredding, came with the genre’s roots to classical music compositions and by adding occasional speed and the warm feeling of old Hard Rock, made At Vance’s ongoing career a high rated experience for every listener that will get to know it.

What is intriguing about At Vance, besides the musical factors that are amazing, is the band’s past vocalists. Back in the band’s first five years, Lenk took on one of the best vocalists in Hard Rock and Melodic Metal, Oliver Hartmann. His voice pattern probably seemed striking and exceptional for Lenk, a probability that most likely led to the assumption that after Hartmann’s leaving of At Vance, Lenk explored for a fairly similar style of vocalist. Before the recording of Evil In You, he found the great Mats Leven, who also participated in Malmsteen’s band, the late Abstrakt Algebra and others. Leven’s singing on albums after Evil In You was great and strong, especially on his last performance on an At Vance album – Chained.

After Leven’s departure from the band, Lenk brought Rick Altzi, who is the closest thing to Hartmann’s lovely vocal model (at first listen, without looking through the current lineup, it is like “wow, did Hartmann reunite with Lenk?”). Altzi, besides being on At Vance, takes the vocal roles on several other melodic Metal acts such as the Finnish Thunderstone, Spanish Sandalinas and the Swedish Frequency – talk about a busy man!

Coming to the point of Altzi’s role on Ride The Sky, his performance is more than just customary, yet his good vocal endurance is lesser than Hartmann’s glory days in the past. There are the same emotional touches that can be noticed on David Coverdale and Jorn Lande’s performances, along with his own AOR type of singing on softer occurrences as the album’s ballad, “You And I”. In general, the coming of Altzi, since the VII album, was a great move for At Vance and Lenk in particular, yet when linking it to Ride The Sky, it could have been channeled in a better way.

After dissecting the vocals of At Vance, the music remains at your feet. After VII, and even due its course, At Vance’s music started to drive away from being EU Power Metal, especially Neoclassical Power. Ride The Sky features the more Hard Rocking side of Olaf Lenk’s inventive view. As it strongly shown on featured tracks such as “Torn – Burning Like Fire”, the great choosing of a well reserved 80s classic as Free’s “Wishing Well”, “Salvation Day” and the amazingly constructed “Falling”, At Vance’s music got deeply inspired by Hard Rock as the years passed by. If you compare it to the first two albums, you might acknowledge that Speed / Power were, in a way, turned down for the good of great 80s rockin music. On the other hand, Lenk didn’t dismiss his favorite Power Metal characteristics and he presented tracks as “Ride The Sky”, “Power”, “Last In Line” and “Farewell”. The difference between these three to past Power Metal outcomes by At Vance is that even if they are powerful and speedy, as EU Power should be, Hard Rock is breathing through their cores.

A great addition to almost every album of At Vance by Lenk is the administration of Classical music acts as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, Bach and others. On Ride The Sky Lenk is showing his performance playing Vivaldi’s “Summer” of the “Four Seasons”, an admirable piece led by an outstanding performance by a true glorious guitarist. Another addition is the ballad, “You And I”. Here it must be said, it got a bit banal, both lyrics, and in many ways… the music. The act is good by the members yet it is so expected and too commonplace until the point that it even gets a bit boring.

Overall, Ride The Sky, is a good album, yet since this album marks the band’s eighth release and the somewhat anniversary to No Escape, it should have been slightly better with even wonderful tunes. The creativeness of Lenk is something to be envious of, his efforts over the years to create and establish a stance for At Vance are well noted, without a doubt he will make good on their next release.

Highlights: “Falling”, “Salvation Day”, “Summer”, “Last In Line”, “Torn – Burning Like Fire” and “Farewell”.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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