Released: 2001, Shark Records
Editor’s Note. Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of MASTER OF PUPPETS, POWERSLAVE or SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards our 10,000th review and the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
2001’s DRAGONCHASER was At Vance’s third kick at the power metal can, and second straight album with the same line up. In a few short years that type of stability would elude the band and main man Olaf Lenk, but back in 2001 the band was solid and cementing their name in power metal circles.
Accordingly, DRAGONCHASER kicks off with three of At Vance’s absolute best power metal songs; the ripping title track, the anthemic “Ages of Glory”, and slower, stomping “Crucified”. All are top quality examples of what the band has to offer. From there, though, the album crashes badly, starting with an overlong symphonic instrumental. Look, I know the band loves their classical music, and I certainly recognize the brilliance required to arrange and metalize Beethoven’s 5th, but at 8 minutes, it’s just too long. Worse, the band follows it up with three plodding songs, one of which is yet another ABBA cover song. Oliver Hartmann does his thespian best with them and almost manages to save the songs, but ultimately there a huge section of 4 songs in the middle of this album that I could happily skip. Fortunately, At Vance redeem themselves with two more fast songs before closing the album yet another dull instrumental.
Ultimately, DRAGONCHASER is another partially realized album from these Germans in a long line of them. The over-reliance on classical music and ABBA, while original for 2001, doesn’t stand the test of time, and the track sequencing of the album needs a rethink. That said, when they’re on, they’re absolutely scorching and there’s no denying the talent involved with this band. Still, DRAGONCHASER is an enjoyable album that stands tall in the At Vance discography.