Audiovision - Focus 2/5

Reviewed: 9-1-10





Tracklist:

1. Invitation
2. Keep the fire burning
3. We are not alone
4. The son will come
5. You are the reason
6. Fruit of love
7. We will go
8. I will belong to you
9. The way
10. The gate
11. Focus


I've enjoyed Christian Rivel's side projects more than Narnia. Narnia was always a bit light in the loafers for my tastes. I particularly like the intense power metal of Divinefire. But, I also liked the first Audiovision CD with its heavy toned guitar riffs mixed with catchy melodic metal choruses. This CD falls short for me. It's not a radical departure style-wise, but it just comes off as bouncy and cheesy a lot - particularly in the choruses.

"Invitation" gets off to a good start with a catchy riff and peppy tempo. Rivel sounds good, and the chorus is catchy, though it's a little on the cheesy side. "Keep the fire burning" is a cool midtempo song, but I really hate the chorus. It sounds like some hair metal chorus I would have heard in the 80s. "We are not alone" is a better quick tempo song that reminds me a lot of more traditional metal from the 80s, but the backing keyboards here are a bit of an unwelcome distraction. The chorus is better in that it's catchy, yet doesn't have the annoying cheesiness. "The son will come" is a slower more riff-oriented song, which again has some keyboards that don't add anything. I actually like the main melody of the chorus, but the shouted "the son will come" makes it fall flat. "You are the reason" is a much better song with heavy riffs, catchy gallops and some compelling melodies. "Fruit of love" is a bland, tepid ballad that is a struggle to sit through. I like "We will go". No doubt, we once again have a cheesy chorus, but this one is pretty infectious. Plus, I find the idea of Jesus as the "king of rock 'n roll" to be amusing in an endearing way. "I will belong to you" is cool with a middle eastern style riff. I also like the chorus in this one: catchy without any of the 80s cheese. "The way" is a Stryper cover. Not having been into Stryper back in their hey-day, I can't enjoy it with the proper context. But, I do think the song is pretty cool, and it's not exactly shocking to discover that Rivel is a fan. "The gate" is the longest track at a little over 7 1/2 minutes. It's a slower paced song that strives for epic, but comes off as overly long power ballad. The CD closes with "In focus" which is a quiet instrumental of guitar with backing keyboards. It doesn't do much for me, but I would have appreciated it more in my youth when I was more into instrumental stuff.

This was a difficult review for me, as I had a hard time mustering up much of a strong opinion about this CD either way. On the one hand, most of the music is fine, it's stylistically similar to the first CD (which I enjoyed more), and I continue to like Rivel's vocals. But it just seemed a little to "cute" at times, particularly in some of the annoying choruses. Having said that there are still some good songs, and most of my criticisms are pretty subjective. So, if you are a fan of Rivel's other work (including Audiovision's first CD), you should probably check it out.



JOHN




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