At Vance - Chained 3/5

Reviewed: 1-13-06


1. Rise from the fall
2. Heaven
3. Tell me
4. Chained
5. Now or ever
6. Two hearts
7. Invention #13
8. Run/Leave
9. Live for the sacred
10. Vivaldi - winter
11. Run for your life

'Chained' is At Vance’s 6th CD, the 2nd with new lead singer Mats Leven. As with the previous CD, this change in singer has had little impact on the band as Leven has a similar, strong and throaty, voice to his predecessor Oliver Harttman. Band leader and guitarist Olaf Lenk continues to write the vast majority of the tracks and this At Vance CD sounds very much like previous efforts. Therein lies the biggest problem with the CD, it is pretty much a rehash of the last 2 CDs and while some bands write exceptional enough tracks to get away with that, At Vance is not such a band. The songwriting is solid to good all the way through but never moves above good and, as such, the CDs from At Vance are starting to drag and become unnecessary for those who already have several CDs.

The tracks themselves are consistent, but rarely rise to the excellent level. At Vance has always been at their best with the superfast neo-classical tracks and that is the case here with very good tracks like “Tell me”, “Run I leave” and “Run for your life”. Even those tracks, though, are a step down from what is found on the band’s earlier CDs. The slower tracks are generally good, but as the number of them has risen they start to drag somewhat on this CD. For the 3rd CD in a row there is no ABBA cover so it looks like those days are, unfortunately, over for At Vance. There are 3 classical covers, but only Vivaldi's "Winter" from 'The four seasons' makes an impact as the others are both less than a minute and a half long.

'Chained' is a good CD that fans of the band will enjoy and those who like midtempo, and a little uptempo, metal with excellent performances and solid playing will appreciate. They are not doing anything new and they don’t stand out above the crowd enough to continue to repeat themselves and stay interesting at the same time. New fans will appreciate the CD and At Vance fans who are completists will; but it is difficult to recommend such a similar CD to those who already have several of the band’s CDs.




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