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Articles Home » 2002 Articles » At Vance - 2002 Only Human
At Vance - 2002 Only Human

Oliver Hardmann - vocals
Olaf Lenk - guitars
Rainald Koenig - guitars
Jochen Schnur - bass
Uli Mueller - keyboards
Juergen Lucas - drums

One of the busiest melodic metal acts returned in 2002 with their fourth album. At Vance's previous album 'Dragonchaser', the follow-up to the masterful 'Heart Of Steel', was a major disappointment. The song-writing felt tired, as did the performance. Thankfully on 'Only Human' the German neo-classical metallers seem to have found a second, even third wind, and are definitely back into the groove. If you're still unfamiliar with At Vance, these guys take their sound from the usual the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Rainbow, and even the odd bit of Abba, especially in the harmonies. However, on this album there isn't the usual Abba cover, but Rainbow's classic 'I Surrender'. A fantastic version. That actually comes at the end of the CD, so I guess we better deal with what comes before.

The Songs
A big church organ sound opens 'The Time Has Come' and then it's straight into melodic metal overdrive with break neck drumming and Olaf Lenk's scorching solo's. Keyboardist Uli Mueller gets to shine as well. Title track 'Only Human' lets me know that 'Dragonchaser' was only a slight slip in quality. A massive rocker with an equally massive chorus. On the blazing 'Take My Pain' the band have conjured up a sure-fire live winner. Headbanging riffs aplenty. Another immense rocker 'Fly To The Rainbow' comes storming through the speakers, and then it's onto the very Yngwie sounding ballad 'Hold Your Fire'. I've found that At Vance usually hit or miss with their ballads. This is one of their better efforts. Their best is still 'Lost In Your Love' from the 'No Escape' album. 'Take Me Away' is another good At Vance rocker, while 'Time' is the second ballad, more on the traditional side of metal ballads. Though there are no Abba covers on 'Only Human', At Vance show the influence from the Swedish pop stars on 'Sing This Song', which has a couple Abba-esque moments. Though 'Witches Dance' is another good neo-classical metal song, I think it is this track that best illustrates the change in approach that Olaf Lenk has taken to his soloing. Throughout the album it's clear that Olaf is trying a few more styles, less neo-classical and more attention to melody rather than speed. It takes some guts for a melodic metal band to include three ballads on an album, but At Vance have backed themselves with 'Wings To Fly'. Not a brilliant song, but not shabby either. If it wasn't for the bonus track of 'I Surrender' on this version, the album would have ended on 'Wings To Fly'. I'm not a fan of ending albums on slow songs, so I'm quite pleased to have their barnstorming rendition of 'I Surrender' to end proceedings. Naturally, where At Vance is concerned, amongst all the vocals tracks there are two instrumental tracks for Olaf to go nuts on.

In Summary
I was so disillusioned with 'Dragonchaser' that I had very few expectations for 'Only Human'. I would have liked to see a couple more rockers than three ballads, and the first half of the album is stronger than the latter, but all told 'Only Human' is an excellent neo-classical metal extravaganza that has gone quite a way to restoring my faith in Oliver and the boys.

Track Time: 63.00

Track Listing:
01 The Time Has Come
02 Only Human
03 Take My Pain
04 Fly To The Rainbow
05 Hold Your Fire
06 Four Seasons/Spring
07 Take Me Away
08 Time
09 Solfeggietto
10 Sing This Song
11 Witches Dance
12 Wings To Fly
13 I Surrender

Related Articles:

At Vance - 2000 Heart Of Steel

At Vance - 2001 Dragonchaser

At Vance - 2002 Only Human

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#1 | swazi on November 07 2013 17:45:28
Hmmm ..., I just saw At Vance at the Heat Festival in Germany last sunday. What can I say ... terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE!! Definitely not meant for my ears.Zip Itthumbs down
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