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  VANDEN PLAS
'Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II (Path Two)'
(Frontiers Records)
Out now

Johnny Main

johnny main



vanden plas

German Progressive Metal band, Vanden Plas were formed in the mid-1980s, however, it wasn't until late 1994 that the band released their debut studio album, 'Colour Temple'. This was followed up in 1996 with the acoustic EP 'AcCult' before the release of their second full length album, 'The God Thing' in 1997.

Firmly established as a solid recording outfit, 'Far Off Grace' came out in 1999 before they released their first (and so far only) live album, 'Spirit of Live' at the turn of the century.

The band produced albums sporadically between 2000 and 2010 which included 'Christ 0' in 2006 (a concept album loosely based on Alexandre Dumas' book 'The Count of Monte Cristo', for which the band also employed a forty-piece choir during recording) and 'The Seraphic Clockwork' in 2010.

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2014 saw the band release another concept album, 'Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld (Path One)' which was made in collaboration with fantasy author Wolfgang Hohlbein, a German writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror books and the album was based on his 'Chronicles of the Immortals' novels.

Essentially, the first volume of the 'Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld' albums dealt with 10 different visions dealing with an apocalyptic battle between heaven and hell. The protagonist of the story then has to decide which side to follow based on their visions, and this second volume starts off pretty much where the first one ended, with the treacherous plans of the dark Godmaker threatening to emerge in what becomes an enthralling sequel full of a fascinating collection of art forms, with which the band weave the story through.

Of course, it helps if you're familiar with the first part of the story but then again, this isn't a barrier to be able to enjoy this second volume which can still be appreciated as a standalone album. Typically with Vanden Plas, it goes through a veritable cornucopia of styles from the faster tempo numbers to some solid mid-paced tracks and not forgetting the ballads – all types are catered for here, making a very rounded album overall.

'Vision 14teen - Blood of Eden' is the longest song here by some way, coming in at just over thirteen minutes but it's a well spent thirteen minutes! It's a piano led number which is split into three succinct parts – 'All Love Must Die', 'The Rite' and 'This Is the Night' – and rightfully gives keyboard player Günter Werno his moment in the spotlight.

It's by far simplest arranged track here by some way, and shows that sometimes a simpler is indeed best. Without a doubt my favourite track of the album, and indeed it has been since first listen. The simple drums from Andreas Lill don't take anything away from the performance of frontman Andy Kuntz or Werno and the addition of female vocals later on just strengthens this song. To me, it's an outstanding track in every single in every aspect, and is a landmark song within the confines of the album.

Of course, there's plenty other things to love here including 'Vision 12elve - Godmaker's Temptation Two' which is loaded with atmosphere during the intro as Kuntz gives a subtle performance before the guitar (courtesy of from Stephan Lill) and drums kick in on what is a slow tempo number which isn't short on passion as the song builds up to its impressive conclusion as drums, guitar and keyboards meld together into one glorious sound.

As far as faster paced numbers go, there are a couple of those too including the guitar driven 'Vision 13teen - Stone Roses Edge'. Possibly the fastest number overall it's another great track that provides the vocals and drums a moment in the spotlight during the quieter sections before the tempo ramps back up.

However, this is the exception as most of the other tracks end up being more mid-paced than fast, but then there's nothing wrong with that is there? Well, no, especially when the songs have been well written and produced as well as being faultlessly performed time and again.

So there it is, part two of the 'Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II' album all wrapped up. It's an interesting cornucopia of sounds that works on one level as a single piece but also works as isolated tracks in a random playlist.

All in all a fine piece of work from a band who are definitely not short of ideas and know how to translate these into very enjoyable pieces of work.

You can see the official video for 'Stone Roses Edge' here:



You can see Vanden Plas live here:
Friday 11th March – Live Music Hall, Weiher
Saturday 12th March – Spirit Of 66, Verviers
Friday 25th March – De Cacaofabriek, Helmond
Saturday 26th March – P3, Purmerend
Sunday 27th March – Baroeg, Rotterdam
Thursday 12th May – Le Forum, Paris
Friday 13th May – Le Brin de Zinc, Chambery
Saturday 14th May – Le Korigan, Aix-En-Provence
Friday 20th May – Backstage, Munich
Thursday 8th September – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg
Friday 9th September – Z7, Pratteln
Saturday 1st October – Salle Baptiste Dufeu, Lyon
Saturday 22nd October – Rock für Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden
Saturday 5th November – Stadttheater Amberg, Amberg

'Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II (Path Two)' Track Listing:
Vision 11even - In My Universe
Vision 12elve - Godmaker's Temptation Two
Vision 13teen - Stone Roses Edge
Vision 14teen - Blood of Eden
Vision 15teen - Monster
Vision 16teen - Diabolica Comedia
Vision 17teen - Where Have the Children Gone
Vision 18teen - The Last Fight
Vision 19teen - Circle of the Devil

Vanden Plas are:
Andy Kuntz – Vocals
Stephan Lill – Guitar
Torsten Reichert – Bass Guitar
Günter Werno – Keyboards
Andreas Lill – Drums


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17.02.2016












 


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