Released 27 April 2012 on AFM Records
Last time I heard At Vance was 2009’s rather bland Ride The Sky, so 3 years on hopes were high for a return to glory days of The Evil In You, fortunately that is what I am hearing. Back is the focus, the power and melodicism that made At Vance so enjoyable back in the day. What’s more guitar and main man Olaf Lenk and vocalist Rick Altzi finally sound like a partnership that works. Couple that with drum work from Casey Grillo (Kamelot / Consortium Project) and bassist Chris Hill and this is a blistering four piece.
Opener Heaven Is Calling is fast paced, very European in nature and full of metallic charm. Melodic waters are tread on Facing Your Enemy which is home to a grandiose chorus and great solo from Lenk. Eyes Of A Stranger boasts a blistering riff and delivery. Fear No Evil may be the pick of the bunch, boasting a Malmsteen Odyssey style combination of melody and commercial sheen, Altzi delivers a fine vocal here but it’s the pomp and epicness of the track that send shivers down the spine. Live & Learn suffers a little in comparison to its predecessor but is still a fine number. Tokyo might not have the best chorus in the world but its home to some fine fretwork. The brief instrumental March Of The Dwarfis a nice addition before the double bass drum assault of Fame & Fortune sees the band firing on all cylinders.
Downsides? Ballad Don’t Dream plods on a little too long and See Me Crying also drags a little and acoustic closer Things I Never Needed sees the album out with a wimper rather than a bang. That said Facing Your Enemy sees the band enter the third decade of their career in fine shape indeed.
Fans of classic metal with neo-classical and power metal tinges pick this up asap. Welcome back.
Rating – 90%