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Extremely Underrated and Overlooked - 94%

MindRuler33, August 30th, 2007

I've been a fan of power metal for a few years now and in that time I've discovered that there's a few crimes in the genre when it comes to which bands get all the glory and which bands go unnoticed. For those of you who don't know, At Vance has been releasing albums almost every year for 9 years straight now, and just about every one of them rules. However, I feel that Only Human is probably their crowning achievement, which is both good and bad considering it serves as original vocalist Olver Hartmann's final effort with them.
This album brings a lot of different elements to the table, some of which many power metal bands don't focus on. One aspect that this album keys in on that may seem a bit overused in power metal is the neoclassical aspects of the music. It's no secret that Olaf Lenk (guitarist, primary writer, founder) is big into both classical music and neoclassical players such as Yngwie Malmsteen. The presence of this style is not only in Olaf's solos but also in the chord structures and melodies of the guitar leads. However, despite how cliche the idea is for most bands, At Vance manages to pull it off in a unique way that's not near as trite.
Another thing this album offers up is the vocals. Oliver Hartmann is probably most well known for his work on Avantasia, but that's not nearly a good indication of what he's capable of, which is brought completely to the table here. Hartmann's voice is both powerful and melodic. He doesn't get too engulfed in the overly melodic cheese vocals like some other Melodic Metal/AOR singers tend to, yet he really has an amazing set of pipes that seem to be the best when tackling more emotional vocals.
Possibly the biggest thing this album brings to the table than many other power metal albums seem to leave at home is amazing songwriting. Every song on this album is a keeper, and that's a rarity in this genre. I can listen to this album from start to finish and honestly say I love every song. The choruses are strong and memorable, the soloing is quite tasteful and the songs never drag yet never seem too short.
All in all, if you're a fan of melodic and power metal, this is an album you simply need. I'd probably consider this one of the top 15 power metal albums ever released, and certainly the crowning achievement of At Vance's career.