Vanden Plas, Netherworld, 2014
Ever 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.