At Vance - Dragonchaser 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-27-05


1. Dragonchaser
2. Ages of glory
3. Crucified
4. Beethoven, 5th Sinfonie
5. Heaven can wait
6. The winner takes it all
7. My bleeding heart
8. Two kings
9. Too late
10. Ases death

More of the same from At Vance. Their previous CD, 'Heart of steel', was an excellent, though slightly inconsistent effort full of classical style melodies and very reminiscent of Symphony X. Nothing has changed with 'Dragonchaser' as the band has maintained its style with no changes...

Interestingly, the centerpiece of this CD is the 8 minute version of Beethoven's "5th symphony". Unlike many other rock/metal versions of classical pieces, At Vance really does this justice. Instead of playing just the instantly familiar pieces, lead guitarist Olaf Lenk plays a good portion of the symphony and he sounds great doing it. Aided by the 2nd guitar and the bass player, Lenk is able to partially duplicate an orchestra, playing several pieces simultaneously. The drums and percussion are also used to great effect. The other highlight of the CD is a remake of ABBA's classic "The winner takes it all". At Vance has covered an ABBA track on all 3 of its CDs and this is the best one yet. Vocalist Oliver Hartman is able to really show off his great voice on this track and the rest of the band brings a power that really underscores what a well written track this is. The 2 previously mentioned tracks make it easy to overlook the songs that At Vance wrote themselves. There are some very strong tracks here and the songwriting is more consistent than on the previous CD. "Dragonchaser", "Ages of glory", "Two kings", and "Too late" are of the classic At Vance sound. And the power–ballad "My bleeding heart" is very much like "Princess of the night" from the previous CD. Other than the instrumental which ends the CD, the other 2 tracks are "Crucified" and "Heaven can wait", which are solid, standard rock tracks.

The standout tracks on 'Dragonchaser' were both written by others, but there are some very good tracks of their own here. The songwriting is a little more flat-lined than on the previous CD. The best songs are as good as those found on 'Heart of steel', but the lesser songs are much better than the end of that previous CD. At Vance has added another quality CD to their discography, but have certainly not broken any new ground.




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