1. The Calling 2. The King Is Alive 3. Evil Or Divine 4. The Rock Of My Soul 5. Read Between The Lines 6. Face To Face 7. Show Me The Way 8. Love Is Like Oxygen 9. Hold Me 10. Colors
Sweden's Rivel Records are hard at work assembling a quality roster that will fill the needs of just about every metal genre. From scorching gothic power metal in Divine Fire to the grinding death forest of Crimson Moonlight, Narnia front man Christian Rivel has been on top of his game. With 2005 upon us Rivel Records has delivered a swift kick in the pants with a quality batch of metal superstars. I'm not talking about a hit here and a miss there. No sir, this goes beyond that to a perfect world. A perfect label that specializes in quality goods, records that please both the ears and the heart.
Anyone who is anyone is familiar with white metal, whether it is poster child Stryper or underground sensations like Recon and Saint. With Rivel Records white metal is brought into a glorious new world, one that escalates beyond simply delivering a message by way of whatever the latest trend is (DC Talk, Guardian, White Cross). No, this is a better attempt, one that is both honest and pure. This is quality work done by quality people who seem to have a real passion for Christ and heavy metal, two things that don't always go hand in hand, especially considering the dirty underground of violent hardcore acts and sadistic black metal.
Storming from the gates of Heaven rides Audiovision, a positive, inspirational band that is spiked up in denim and leather, but slicked back nice and fancy via a shiny hard rock outfit. Some bands just sort of fill the gap between power metal and hard rock. Look at polished German groups like Pink Cream 69, Edguy, and even Victory. They bridge that gap with grace, mixing in plenty of power and might, but at the same time allow catchy hooks and driving 80's guitar to rise to the occasion. Audiovision is much like those types of bands. With a sweeping, powerful guitar sound, unbelievable clean vocals, and a song writing pattern that addresses the needs of the most sincere Helloween ticket holder, Rivel Records' Audiovision captures the mood of the 80's and drives it into today's power metal camp.
Led by label owner Christian Rivel, who has assembled some of his favorite musicians and friends from the business, Audiovision crafts a full length album that is rock solid through and through. Rarely do you find an album that really moves and shakes from the first second to the last. With absolutely no filler whatsoever, the group's debut, "The Calling", runs through ten songs of glorious hard rocking power metal. Along with singing on the album, Rivel brings in the likes of Lars Chriss (Lion's Share), Michael Höglund (ex-Thunder, Punchline), Thomas Broman, (Hughes & Turner, ex-Electric Boys), Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS), and a host of others. This is really an allstar jam fest of Godly metal, with songs that make you feel good. This is miles beyond the stuff that corporate America is heaping out, this is feel good, heart felt, clean metal fun. It makes me proud to have these types of warriors delivering good messages through metal, but not jumping on any band wagons to do it.
Any given day my favorite cuts change up, with just about every track on here at one point or another being my favorite song on the album. Rarely does that happen, especially considering the amount of metal I am spinning each week in my player. "The Calling" is going to cater to just about every metal fan that enjoys power metal and hard rock, especially the European flavoring of both. If you look at strong motored spins like "Show Me The Way", "Hold Me", and the title track, you get a good feel of German power metal ranging from bands like Edguy and Powergod to Voice and Rawhead Rexx. The songs deliver a mammoth, fury filled guitar assault that just seems to lift right off the disc due to the tremendous production job by Lars Chriss. Each of those cuts runs through the traditional metal elements while delivering breath taking chorus parts and scorching leads. But let's not forget the hard rock foundation this thing is built on. With strong rockers like "Face To Face" and "The Rock Of My Soul", the strength of the 80's comes shining through. The rhythm of "Face To Face" could have been lifted from Crue's "Too Fast For Love" or "Tooth And Nail" from Dokken. They both have those flashy guitar exercises throughout, antics that I have never been able to shake since hearing George Lynch play with "Mr. Scary". The album throws in a bonus with a cover of Sweet's "Love Is Like Oxygen", featuring some guest vocals from the talented journeyman Jeff Scott Soto.
This an amazing album that delivers top notch metal entertainment while cleansing our minds and souls with an inspirational vision of faith and the hereafter. These words leave you with something to think about and strive for. Everything from the vocals and harmony to the songs themselves is a true testament to the talent of one Christian Rivel. The man is nothing short of a musical genius and Audiovision proves every bit of that and more. With this many guests it is hard to imagine a project of this size running true to form with no flaws and no faults. It is still early, but right now Audiovision is showing as my favorite album of the year.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details