Initially going under the Centers moniker, the German heavy metal band At Vance is comprised of the cast of Spider and two guitarists.
At Vance has a tendency to perform an abundant number of cover versions. The band performed with acts like Rhapsody and Angel Dust and switched over from Shark to AFM for 2002's Only Human. AFM had noticed At Vance because of Hartmann's work on the Avantasia project. The band claimed a very unhealthy co-operation with Shark as the reason for its departure. The same year saw the departure of the band's bassist and keyboardist with the former being replaced immediately with Sascha Feldman. The keyboardist was not replaced; rather Lenk decided to play the keyboards in addition to the guitars.
Oliver Hartmann left the band in 2002 in order to concentrate on his solo work. Former Treat and Yngwie Malmsteen singer Mats Leven replaced him. The first album with Leven, called The Evil In You, appeared in May, 2003. AFM Records issued a double-CD with unreleased material as the first edition of The Evil In You. A tour with Kamelot followed.
Sascha Feldman was replaced by with John ABC Smith, formerly of Gallows Pole, and drumming was handed over to Mark Cross. The first edition of Chained featured two bonus songs, Who's Fooling Who and Flight Of The Bumblebee. Right on the heels of the release of VII through AFM Records in 2007 At Vance added bassist Manuel Walther and drummer Alex Landenburg to the line-up. AFM Records issued At Vance’s Ride The Sky album in late 2009. It was produced by Lenk and featured several new members. The band issued a single called Tokyo in April of 2011. All proceeds of this single were to go to humanitarian institutions that were helping victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At Vance Facing Your Enemy was out June 19th, 2012. Altzi also joined Masterplan at this point.
AT VANCE - THE EVIL IN YOU - AFM
It is a mystery why At Vance is not a bigger name on the heavy metal scene. The songs are good, the band can play and the singer breathes power. More on that in a moment though. AFM Records, in its wisdom, has decided to merge the songs on the promotional version of the CD in order to hinder piracy. The label should respect itself and its partners and discontinue the silliness. What is a one-track CD going to achieve anyway? Regardless, The Evil In You is a great listen. The band does have some keyboards left in its bones, but the transgression has been kept to a minimum allowing the quintet to shine as a metal band. In fact, the guitars blaze (watch those solos go!), the drummer even manages double-bass interludes and the new singer, former Malmsteen man Mats Leven, let us just say that the guy has massive pipes. While the departure of a band's singer can often lead to a setback it is doubtful this will be the case with At Vance. Fallen Angel is a good example of what this band can achieve when it wants to. It is fast, tight and classy all at the same time. Imagine Malmsteen were he to actually write respectable songs, a keyboard-reduced Kamelot, or even Whitesnake (the song One Million Miles), then up the tempo and voila you have got At Vance. Then again, songs like the title track and The Curtain Will Fall are below average and could easily have been left off the CD without any guilt. In spite of the weaker songs, The Evil In You should increase the Germans' profile. - Ali "The Metallian"
AT VANCE - CHAINED - AFM
At Vance seems to frequently get labelled power metal. In fact, the band is a hard rock band with some heavy metal and Classical connections. The band is actually rather restrained and straightforward given its membership. That is to say, one does not hear too many flights of fancy and pompous segments. The well-produced album rocks hard to sounds comparable from Edguy to TNT, Helloween, Treat and even Europe. A track is softer here and another track is simply a Classical instrumental there, while the core of the band is mid-paced hard rock with a singer - Mats Leven formerly of Yngwie Malmsteen - who occupies the mid-range quite effectively. Chained is a solid release that does not break records of any kind. It is an effective release for fans of European hard 'n heavy. - Anna Tergel