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Articles Home » 2000 Articles » At Vance - 2000 Heart Of Steel
At Vance - 2000 Heart Of Steel

Oliver Hartmann - vocals
Olaf Lenk - guitars
Reinald Konig - guitars
Uli Muller - keyboards
Jochen Schnur - bass
Jurgen 'Sledgehammer' Lucas - drums

I'd been hearing good things about these guys for ages so I thought it was about time I checked them out for myself. In the past couple of years there have been quite a few notable releases that have brought melodic Power Metal back to the fore. You can definitely add 'Heart Of Steel' to that list.

The Songs
Fronted by one of the best voices I've heard in many a moon, Oliver Hartmann, At Vance have created a real belter of a metal album. There are times when the speed of the material is breathtaking, but it has to be said that the melody is never sacrificed. This is displayed perfectly on 'Soldiers of Time', a blistering track that showcases Jurgen 'Sledgehammer' Lucas's impressive drumming ability along with a strong melodic guitar line. A choral-style chorus punctuates another fret-burning track 'The Brave and the Strong'. Title track 'Heart of Steel' slows things down a notch but still stays hard and heavy with a forceful riff and layered, catchy chorus. 'S.O.S' is the surprise of the album. Yes, it is a cover version of the Abba hit and At Vance do a great job. After you hear this you'd have to acknowledge that Oliver Hartmann is a star in the making. He has such a pure voice that suits the song perfectly. At Vance's interpretation is so melodic that I'd love to hear the band pen a few more straight ahead melodic rock tunes. I think the end result would be memorable. 'King Of Your Dreams' once again showcases At Vance's ability to combine speed, power and melody followed by the albums one and only ballad emerges in the neo-classically influenced 'Princess of the Night'. The neo-classical influence is evident again on the albums remaining tracks - 'Goodbye' (strong heavy rocker with a memorable chorus); 'Why Don't You Cry' (straight - ahead rocker) and the albums highlight 'Don't You Believe A Stranger' (great, Iron Maiden style riff and superb chorus). The instrumental track 'Chopin/etude No.4' takes us out, once again at full speed.

In Summary
As you can gather I am quite taken by 'Heart of Steel'. Each time I listen to this album I am amazed how the wonderful melodies that have been created have not been lost when partnered with the sheer velocity of the material. Oliver Hartmann stands out with an exquisite vocal performance, especially on 'S.O.S'. The remainder of the band must also be congratulated for laying such a strong platform. To anyone who enjoys melodic, neo-classical metal - this is an absolute must.


Track Listing:
01 Prelude
02 Soldier Of Time
03 The Brave And The Strong
04 Heart Of Steel
05 S.O.S.
06 King Of Your Dreams
07 Princess Of The Night
08 Goodbye
09 Why Don't You Cry
10 Don't You Believe A Stranger
11 Chopin - Etude No. 4
12 Logical Song

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