Vanden Plas, Netherworld, 2014

Vanden Plas - Chronicles-Of-The-Immortals-NetherworldEver since bursting onto the progressive metal scene with their 1995 debut, German band Vanden Plas have committed themselves to delivering quality over quantity. So every album they released since (and with the same 5 members!), has been at least really good and prolonged their stay at the top of the progmetal scene. Which is even more impressive if you consider they also are a very requested musical band and have performed many shows in their homeland.

And with their current release they have managed to marry those two careers. In full the album title is Chronicles Of The Immortals – Netherworld (part one), and it is based on a book from Wolfgang Hohlbein. The famous German writer is also a fan of the band, and knew they would be capable of translating the story to the stage and to an album. Or two in fact, as the title already reveals.

Over the years the style from the band has stayed familiar: bombastic melodic progressive metal (closer to Threshold than Dream Theater), executed to perfection by these awesome musicians. It just feels like they are getting better at what they do. Here a nice touch is that some stage characters are also vocally present, thus enhancing the already colourful palette. The choir also adds tension and works great in this music. In my humble opinion a no-brainer.

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Classic: Vanden Plas, Colour Temple, 1995

vanden plas - colour templeSo, these German progressive metallers have been at it for over 15 years already? How time flies! What I would like to talk about on these pages is their first output, Colour Temple. The album that had me follow their career ever since!

Vanden Plas play a melodic brand of progressive metal. So they are more Threshold than Dream Theater. All they do has to fit the boundaries of a song. Melodies are obviously important, and musical muscle are only used when it adds to the total picture. That does not mean this is a lightweight band. No, guitar riffs are heavy, as are the drums. Keyboards play an important role as well, adding lots of colour with clever arrangements, often balancing the others.

Opening with suspense classic violins before the band kicks in with the superb Father, which sucks you in with all the trademarks I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Push proves a fierce rocker, with many shredding guitar parts. When The Wind Blows opens gently and takes a while before building into a mid paced rocker where the opening sequences return to add dark to the light. And all choruses so far are catchy, with convincing delivery. I could go on about the 9 tracks forming the almost hour of music on this disk. But I will rest my case with saying that in case you missed about one of the best German progressive metal bands in the market, it is not too late to catch up. This, and every album since, is worth spending your hard earned cash on!

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