The trio that calls themselves At Vance returns for another feast of melodic power metal anthems on their latest AFM release Ride the Sky. Rick Altzi (vocals), Olaf Lenk (guitars, bass, drums, keyboards), and Wolfman (bass) once again do what they do best, deliver a bevy of catchy hooks and memorable songs, all housed within a hard rock/power metal framework.
Altzi is quietly becoming one of the stronger vocalists in the genre, as his husky bellow soars on the raging title track and the emotional "Torn-Burning Like Fire". Lenk on the other hand (who handles the bulk of the instrumentation here), offers up plenty of meaty riffs and Malmsteen inspired flashy neo-classical solos. The speedy "Last in Line" sees the guitarist deliver some tasty harmony lines and crunchy riffs, and he shows he can scorch as well on some bluesy material, evident by the cover of the Free classic "Wishing Well". There's a strong Rainbow/Rising Force feel on "Salvation Day", and the wild instrumental "Vivaldi, Summer 2nd Set" lets Altzi display his guitar and keyboard chops in what ultimately turns into a dark, neo-classical shred fest. For some though, the meat of this release will be the heavier, power metal fare, which can be found in "Power", "End of Days", and "Farewell", each one a standout and featuring a multitude of crunchy riffs, pounding drum work, memorable melodies, and strong vocals.
Though Ride the Sky is very solid from top to bottom, there's not a lot here that's going to make you stand up and go 'wow' unfortunately. Seeing that there are so many other bands out on the scene toiling a similar path, At Vance are really going to have to come up with something really special to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Ride the Sky sees them getting closer, but they are not quite there yet.
Oh, and love the artwork from Gyula Havancsak.
1) Ride the Sky
2) Torn-Burning Like Fire
3) Last in Line
4) Wishing Well
5) Salvation Day
6) Vivaldi, Summer 2nd Set
8) You and I
9) End of Days