At Vance

Ride the Sky

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If one didn't know better, it would be easy to assume that Ride the Sky was a reissue of an old power metal recording from the '80s. This late-2009 release certainly sounds like it could have been recorded around 1983, 1984, or 1985. But Ride the Sky is no reissue, and the fact is that At Vance didn't exist during power metal's '70s/'80s heyday; the band's original lineup wasn't formed until 1998. At Vance have had their share of personnel changes along the way; on Ride the Sky, the 2009 lineup consisted of Rick Altzi on lead vocals, Wolfman on bass, and founding member Olaf Lenk on guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards. But their sound hasn't changed much, and the power metal recipe on Ride the Sky is best described as Helloween meets Iron Maiden meets Holy Diver-era Ronnie James Dio (with elements of Deep Purple at times -- Altzi's gruff vocals definitely have a David Coverdale-ish quality). It's a derivative recipe, certainly; nothing occurs on Ride the Sky that power metallers weren't doing 25 years earlier, and At Vance remain oblivious to post-'80s developments in metal. But while melodic tracks such as "Wishing Well," "Farewell," and "End of Days" aren't exactly groundbreaking, that doesn't mean that this 48-minute CD isn't enjoyable. Although At Vance's power metal classicism offers few surprises, the tunes are spirited and well-crafted on Ride the Sky.

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