|At Vance - 'Facing Your Enemy' (AFM Records)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 04:30|
This is the ninth album in a little under 13 years from this prolific German band built around guitarist Olaf Lenk, and the third on which the axeman has teamed up with vocalist Rick Altzi.
'Heaven Is Calling' kicks things off apace, a galloping workout which shows off Lenk's not inconsiderable skills and also showcases Altzi's stunning vocal work, the latter of which is actually the highlight of the entire album, with a voice reminiscent of some of the great AOR singers, such as Paul Sabu, Jack Blades, Lou Gramm and even Joe Lynn Turner.
The rhythm section of bassist Chris Hill and drummer Casey Grillo, are competent and efficient, forming a solid foundation for Lenk's sometimes superb and fiery but all too often formulaic riffing and solos - but it is Altzi who lifts the songs, the majority of which, again, are unremarkable in themselves, up to the next level, making the likes of 'Facing Your Enemy', 'Fear No Evil' and 'Live And Learn' more listenable than perhaps a weaker vocalist would have done.
There are some great moments, the aforesaid 'Fear No Evil' and 'Live And Learn', as well as the punchy 'Saviour', and there are those that do benefit from repeated listening, such as 'Eyes Of A Stranger' and the slow-burner grower that is 'See Me Crying' (as well as some complete dross, such as the truly cringe-worthy 'Don't Dream') but all in all this a mediocre album elevated above that descriptive by an amazing and criminally under-rated vocalist.
To pick up a copy of 'Facing Your Enemy' - CLICK HERE