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Audiovision - The Calling

Rivel Records

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You know, when Christian Rivel decides to do a side project, he doesn't just go out there and play all the instruments himself or hire some studio musicians.  No, he goes out there and picks from all his highly talented friends and comes back with a killer group each time around.  A few years ago he put together a group called Wisdom Call and we saw members from Narnia and Stormwind join him to create a great, melodic classic metal album.  Then he joined with Jani Stefanovic of Renascent and Andreas Olsson of Narnia to create the killer power/speed metal band Divinefire.  Divinefire also saw the talents of members from many different bands come together including Veni Domine, Saviour Machine, Crimson Moonlight, Talisman, Candlemass, Narnia, and others.

Now Christian has done it again with his new side project, Audiovision.  Like with Wisdom Call, Lars Chriss of Lion's Share has co-written some songs with him here.  Additional talent on this album include:  Bruce Kulick (Grand Funk Railroad, Ex-KISS), Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman, Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force), Tony Franklin (Whitesnake, Blue Murder, Firm), Mats Levén (Krux, At Vance, Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force), Mic Michaeli (Europe), Michael Höglund (Punchline, Ex-Thunder & Great King Rat), Thomas Broman (Hughes & Turner, Glenn Hughes Band, Ex-Electric Boys), Thomas Vikström (Stormwind, Brazen Abbot, Ex-Candlemass & Talisman), Lars Chriss (Lion's Share), Mattias "IA" Eklundh (Freak Kitchen), Janne Stark (Locomotive Breath), Tommy Denander (Radioactive), Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia), Andreas Lindahl (Platitude),  Jörgen Schelander (Mercury Fang), Michael Andersson (Cloudscape), Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine), Hubertus Liljegren (ex-Crimson Moonlight/Sanctifica), and Sampo Axelsson (Lion's Share, Ex-Glenn Hughes). 

See what I mean?  Nothing halfway.  If Rivel is going to do a side project he goes all out.  And if you are worried about quality....well then, you just haven't been paying attention.  Audiovision is just as top notch as any of the other bands that Christian Rivel has been putting out there to the masses.  This is some fantastic melodic metal/hard rock that is massively addictive.  While this band stands on it's own for sure, there are some big influences from Rivel's other bands Narnia and Wisdom Call.  A few of the songs sound like they could've fit on either of those band's albums.  Although Christian's vocals on this album get much more aggressive.  Not all of the time, but more often then those two bands.  I think fans of Shadow Gallery, Symphony X, Malmsteen, Oratorio, Stratovarious, Balance of Power, or bands that tend to mix 70's hard rock with 80's power/classic metal could easily get into Audiovision.

While some of the songs on this album have an overall simplicity to them, there is an underlying complexity to them that really attracts me to their music.  The musicianship on this album is terrific.  Whether it's the heavy and aggressive sounds of "Evil or Divine" or the mellower sounds of "Read Between the Lines", Audiovision brings the goods.  For the most part, the band keeps it in the heavy category with many rockin' songs.  The only songs that somewhat depart from that are "Read Between the Lines" (which actually turns more aggressive and heavier as the song progresses) and the instrumental closing song, "Colors."  Probably my favorite tunes are "The Rock of My Soul", "Read Between the Lines", "Show Me the Way", and "Love is Like Oxygen".  The song "Rock of My Soul" (along with "Face to Face") even utilizes a few growling vocals from Christian's brother, Hubertus.  Then, the songs "Read Between the Lines" and "Show Me the Way" have some killer lead guitar work courtesy of Mattias "IA" Eklundh.  You can't help but whip out the air guitar and headbang along to some of these songs.  And the song that sticks in your mind easier than any of the songs on the album is the one that I didn't really care for at first, but it quickly became one of my favorites...the cover of The Sweet's song, "Love is Like Oxygen."  This is an incredibly catchy song that you just gotta love.

While I still would give the nod to Divinefire as Christian Rivel's best project yet, Audiovision is nipping at its heels in a big way.  This is a fantastic album...musically, vocally, production-wise, packaging-wise, and lyric-wise.  In fact, Rivel's driving passion is to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need it most.  While many bands make the mistake of sacrificing quality for a strong message.  Rivel does a fabulous job of making super quality music that will attract all metal fans while not sacrificing an ounce of the message of good news.  A refreshing rarity if you ask me.

If you like your metal well-done.  My advice is to order this CD as quickly as you can.  And don't forget to pick up Divinefire while your at it.  Disappointment will only happen to the clueless.  (Review by Matt)    

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