Audiovision - The calling 3.5/5

Reviewed: 1-26-07





Tracklist:

1. The calling
2. The king is alive
3. Evil or divine
4. The rock of my soul
5. Road between the lines
6. Face to face
7. Show me the way
8. Love is like oxygen
9. Hold me
10. Colors


Audiovision is another side project from vocalist Christian Rivel (Narnia, Divinefire) and Lion's Share guitarist Lars Chriss. The sound is basically melodic traditional metal. There's some nice meat on the riffing on this, but as with all of Rivel's work that I have heard, it is quite catchy and melodic. Also like Rivel's other work, the lyrics are Christian themed. This is also a bit of an all-star CD of sorts with some notable guests including Jeff Scott Soto, Mats Leven, and Bruce Kulick, among others. The production is crisp, clean, and powerful which is a plus.

As noted, the songs are basically traditional, melodic metal with some hints of power metal thrown in. Opener and title track "The calling" gets things off to a rousing start. The introductory, main riff is very reminiscent of the last few Bruce Dickinson CDs, so we have a good first impression right away. Rivel's vocals are clean and melodic and he adds a bit of gruffness at times to go along with the general heavy riffs in the track. Generally the CD stays in the midtempo with some forays into faster material, but the CD never plods as they mix the tempos nicely to keep the songs from running together. "The king is alive" has a heavy driving riff and a catchy chorus. "Evil or divine" opens with some heavy riffs and spacey background keyboards, but transitions into a very melodic, sing-a-long chorus. "The rock of my soul" has a distinct Masterplan feel to it. "Show me the way" is probably my favorite track, as it's very reminiscent of classic 80s power metal not unlike, say, Phantom minus the more screechy vocals and with a bit more of a pretty chorus. The band throws in an enjoyable cover of Sweet's "Love is like oxygen" which is fun. One other standout track is "Hold me" with its cool harmony guitars and very resounding chorus. Hard not to sing along here, regardless of your faith or lack thereof. The CD closes with a little bit of a whimper with an instrumental called "Colors". Basically it's a lot of lead guitar with piano providing most of the background. It's ok, but definitely the weakest track.

Like Divinefire, I enjoy Audiovision more than the Narnia I have heard. It's a nice mix of Rivel's sweet melodies with a definite harder, riffy edge to it, and it doesn't have Narnia's sugary sweetness or boring progressive parts. I probably slightly prefer Divinefire due to it being more in line stylistically with my tastes, but this is pretty strong and recommended for Rivel fans.



JOHN




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