VANDEN PLAS

Progressive Metal • Germany
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Vanden Plas is a German progressive metal band, based in Kaiserslautern and founded in the late 1980s. The band surrounding vocalist Andreas Kuntz have succeeded in making a name for themselves on an international level, enjoy almost cult status in France, have been touring all over Europe with established acts like Dream Theater, Savatage or Angra and can point to a number of impressive releases, among them three studio albums, a live cut, an unplugged recording, and several EPs. With their latest offering, Beyond Daylight (2002), Vanden Plas once again emphasise their leading position on the international prog scene, opening an exciting new chapter in their band history.

Beyond Daylight contains nine brand-new prog metal tracks which stand out with their brilliant melodies, exquisite instrumental passages and intelligent arrangements, and the powerful rock ballad 'The Healing Tree' mirrors perfectly the fascination that this band has in the line: "Where we
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VANDEN PLAS Discography

VANDEN PLAS albums / top albums

VANDEN PLAS Colour Temple album cover 3.92 | 6 ratings
Colour Temple
Progressive Metal 1994
VANDEN PLAS The God Thing album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
The God Thing
Progressive Metal 1997
VANDEN PLAS Far Off Grace album cover 3.37 | 14 ratings
Far Off Grace
Progressive Metal 1999
VANDEN PLAS Beyond Daylight album cover 4.15 | 17 ratings
Beyond Daylight
Progressive Metal 2002
VANDEN PLAS Christ 0 album cover 3.88 | 20 ratings
Christ 0
Progressive Metal 2006
VANDEN PLAS The Seraphic Clockwork album cover 3.67 | 22 ratings
The Seraphic Clockwork
Progressive Metal 2010
VANDEN PLAS Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld (Path 1) album cover 4.14 | 11 ratings
Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld (Path 1)
Progressive Metal 2014
VANDEN PLAS Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II album cover 3.90 | 5 ratings
Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II
Progressive Metal 2015
VANDEN PLAS The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening
Progressive Metal 2019

VANDEN PLAS EPs & splits

VANDEN PLAS AcCult album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
AcCult
Progressive Metal 1996

VANDEN PLAS live albums

VANDEN PLAS Spirit of Live album cover 3.58 | 4 ratings
Spirit of Live
Progressive Metal 2000

VANDEN PLAS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

VANDEN PLAS Days Of Thunder album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Days Of Thunder
Progressive Metal 1991

VANDEN PLAS re-issues & compilations

VANDEN PLAS singles (7)

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Raining In My Heart
Progressive Metal 1986
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Keep On Running
Progressive Metal 1991
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Fire
Progressive Metal 1992
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Das Ist Für Euch
Progressive Metal 1994
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Des Hauts, Des Bas
Progressive Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
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Inside Of your Head
Progressive Metal 1999
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I Don't Miss You
Progressive Metal 2000

VANDEN PLAS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

VANDEN PLAS Reviews

VANDEN PLAS The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
25 years from the 1994 debut ‘Colour Temple’ and the same five guys are back with their ninth studio album, which is the first of a two-part concept project, with the second album to be released later in 2020. Apparently, it is based on a documented paranormal experiment, with the main character in the story, Gideon Grace, having to fight constantly for his life against the relentless shadows of the ‘House of Rain’ as he wanders through France. He expands his knowledge and discovers there are ways he can fight against the creatures of darkness. However, when it comes to the first showdown, rather than finding peace, it does not go well.

I first came across Vanden Plas back in the Nineties, and have heard a few albums since then, and this follows the same melodic rock stylings. They are very similar in many ways to Savatage and Angra, yet without the cut through which has made those bands so important within the genre. They rarely hit all the peaks and height, and for me it always seems as if something is missing although I many not always be able to put it into words (which is poor for a reviewer, I know). They first formed the band when they were working in music in theatre productions, and they are all solid musicians with a great singer in Andy Kuntz. But I find my attention wandering while I am playing this and as soon as it is over, I have totally forgotten what it was like. The guitars are tight on each other, but instead of being a benefit it is a constraint. There are certain passages, such as during “Fall From The Skies”, where everything works and is incredibly impressive, but this few and far between. Over the years they have built a large number of fans, but this is another solid middle of the road album from Vanden Plas without ever having the sparks to make it truly inspirational and essential.

VANDEN PLAS The Seraphic Clockwork

Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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The Block
Rush of Silence

Vanden Plas had never caught my attention enough to get any of their albums. But, once “The Seraphic Clockwork” came out, I was instantly enthralled in their great sound and talent. “The Seraphic Clockwork” is a little over an hour long and it never once gets boring, sporting great riffs, choruses, and overall perfect technicality. Every thing mixes well and the musicians are absolutely superb.

The guitars are nice and heavy on this album and when mixed with the drums offer up a great sound that any metal fan will enjoy. On the track “Rush of Silence” where the guitars offer a great starting point for both the song and the vocals, this is especially apparent. The harmonies on this song play a key role in it being one of my favorite on the album. The vocals by Andy Kuntz are so crisp and clear that when they are harmonized it sounds almost as if it were on voice which adds so much to the overall great feel of the album. The bass, played by Torsten Reichert is absolutely superb and you can really here how good he is on the ballad like song “Quicksilver”.

Another great thing about Vanden Plas is that they play prog metal in one of its simplest forms. Of course simple and prog metal is kind of like and oxymoron, but in this case it is true. They focus more on being technically sound than playing fast of even insanely hard things that if not played right would sound bad. Even if Vanden Plas did play any of the above, though, they would still sound excellent.

The production on this album is another high point, featuring great transitions between light and heavy, drawn out and tight. In a way it is some what similar to a lot of recent prog metal albums that I’ve listened to, but it is still great production.

Vanden Plas is a superb band that deserves every credit that is thrown there way. In the past, they have released some great material, and they have continued that tradition here with “The Seraphic Clockwork”. It took me awhile to realize how good this album was; around 3-4 more listens than usual, but many progressive metal fans will be able to tell how good this album is with in the first couple of listens. For a great release Vanden Plas gets 4 stars.

VANDEN PLAS Spirit of Live

Live album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
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Pelata
Captured at the famed Elysee Montmarte in Paris during a sold-out performance in February of 2000, Vanden Plas’ Spirit of Live is a powerful, energetic live album!

Live albums, for me, are usually hit and miss. Either the mix is bad, I don’t like the song choices, the vocals are way below par or, sometimes, all of the above. The first thing that jumped out at me with this disc is that the mix is huge! Thumping kick drums, thick guitars, omnipresent keyboards and a solid bottom end allayed any fears I had about the sonic quality of Spirit of Live. Test 1: passed.

The songs here paint an accurate picture of what Vanden Plas is. In case you don’t know, Vanden Plas is a melodic prog metal band from Germany along the lines of a more European styled Dream Theater minus the tendency toward 30-minute songs. Everything about this band just screams maturity! The song arrangements, the dramatic melodies, the emotional and spiritual lyrical themes, even the way they use their progressive qualities all flow effortlessly and seamlessly together into an all-around great aural experience! Probably the best band of their kind to emerge from Germany, ever! The songs here are drawn from their three studio albums, plus two new instrumentals. From the band’s ’95 debut Colour Temple, we’re treated to “Soul Survives” and a newly re-arranged version of “How Many Tears” complete with a crowd sing-along of the songs chorus led by vocalist Andy Kuntz, en Francais! Tres cool, if I may say so! From The God Thing, the album many Vanden Plas fans consider their best, we get “You Fly” and “Rainmaker.” The latter features a guest appearance by newly christened Elegy axe-man Patrick Rondat. And lastly from their last studio disc Far Off Grace we get show opener “I Can See,” “Into the Sun,” “Iodic Rain” and the albums title track. All in all a good cross section of the band’s strong points. Test 2: passed.

Now the main problem I have had with live albums in the past: the vocals. Usually, a live album is recorded near the end of a tour. This is great for the band, because by the end of a tour, they are usually about as tight and precise as they can possibly be. That is certainly evident on Spirit of Live. Each member of the band gives a stellar performance. Guitarist Stephan Lill is on fire! He balances fury and finesse like few guitarists can. Just listen to his instrumental spotlight “Spirit of Life” for confirmation of that statement. Keyboardist Gunter Werno pulled away from his many guest fill-ins long enough to prove why he is in such high demand as a session and tour player. His own solo piece, “Journey to Paris,” starts off with a blazing synth lead before an almost tear-jerking piano melody makes you want to close your eyes and just listen. Bassist Torsten Reichert and drummer Andreas Lill are both at the top of their game this night. What about the vocals? Well, Andy Kuntz has done what I thought to be almost impossible! He actually sounds just as good on this live album as he does on the band’s studio offerings! Each song is delivered true to form with apparent ease. He holds all his notes in the right places, his feel and range are good, and he shows virtually no signs of fatigue. It’s also cool to hear him speak to the audience in English and French, stirring them into a frenzy! The live background vocals are also on the mark, even if a little low in the mix. Test 3: passed with flying, vivid colors!

Vanden Plas has delivered a live album not only for their fans, but one that could easily serve as an introduction to their powerful music. Bravo!

VANDEN PLAS Beyond Daylight

Album · 2002 · Progressive Metal
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Pelata
Vanden Plas is a band I latched onto back when their second full-length The God Thing came out. At first listen, I thought it was pretty similar to Dream Theater, but different and good enough to warrant plopping down my hard earned cash. Further listens revealed a band with their own sound, their own style, their own feel and that is creating their own distinct mark on the prog metal scene. I have been hooked ever since. Their last studio effort Far Off Grace garnered them even more positive attention, while finding the band simplifying their approach just a bit. It was a little heavier, and a bit less complex arrangement-wise. Not to say that is was a bad record, it was very good and still quite enjoyable, but it was different.

However, with the release of their fourth full-length release Beyond Daylight, the band takes the heavier direction of Far Off Grace and steers it into the more progressive territory of The God Thing, thus creating their most complete work to date. This record is nothing short of stellar! From the dense, Stephan Lill’s wide rhythm and velvet acoustic guitar tones, to the mood-creating keyboards of Gunter Werno, to Andy Kuntz’s rich and powerful vocals, this is an album that screams quality. Opening cut “Nightwalker” has a slow burn verse before a strong, emotional chorus, which gives the record’s first real taste of Kuntz’s vocal skills; strong, soaring melodies. The instrumental section is proof positive that the band is back on a prog playing field and showing their abilities superbly while not firing a barrage of notes at the listener. “Free The Fire” is a straight up metal burner with headbanging tempos and lots of cool double kick-drum patterns. Lill’s soloing here is spectacular as well. The nearly 11-minute title track is yet another jewel in Vanden Plas’ crown. Beginning with beautiful piano work by Werno, it delves into a strong, syncopated riff overlaid with nice keyboard color. The verses have a good, intense feel with Kuntz’s vocals once again taking center stage in the chorus. This is a band that can take you on a journey and not have you wanting to hit the ‘skip’ button.

For me, the highlight of the record is the third track, “Scarlet Flower Fields.” Beginning with an ambient acoustic/vocal melody it builds into a deep, moody piece of melodic metal mastery. Werno’s keys add the right nuances on the breaks and transitions throughout the nearly 6-minute piece. The mood creation in this tune is among some of the best I have heard, giving the listener a sense of desperation and longing every time that impeccable chorus comes in. The instrumental section is another hot spot for the band, building, twisting and turning through catchy syncopations, grand melodies and more excellent soloing by Lill. I’ll go ahead and say it flat out, Stephan Lill is a totally underrated and unrecognized player. His soulful feel combined with his top-shelf chops make for one intimidating guitar slinger! Let’s hope this record helps bring him, and Vanden Plas, into more of a prominent place in prog metal. Beyond Daylight finds the band combining their collective and individual strengths into a record that will not only make a strong first impression, but is sure to be remembered many years from now as one of the best releases in the genre.

VANDEN PLAS The Seraphic Clockwork

Album · 2010 · Progressive Metal
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J-Man
Quicksilver

Vanden Plas is one of the superior progressive metal groups in Germany - which is certainly saying a lot when considering all of the German prog metal bands out there. Although Vanden Plas has never been recognized as much their American brethren such as Symphony X, Dream Theater, or Fates Warning, The Seraphic Clockwork further confirms that Vanden Plas deserve to be regarded as one of the best groups in the melodic prog metal genre. This isn't an album that's going to blow you away with a highly original approac, but it succeeds tremendously with its intention - and that's creating excellent prog metal that proves the genre is far from dead. If you're someone who's tired of the style of music that Vanden Plas plays, I'd still recommend giving it a shot - it's that good. Every song is spectacular in its own way, and when you put it all together you have a brilliant gem of an album. Fans of Vanden Plas and progressive metal in general should definitely check out The Seraphic Clockwork!

The music here is unquestionably Vanden Plas. They play progressive metal in the style of Dream Theater, but with less of an emphasis on soloing and more of a focus on melody. There's still some terrific guitar and keyboard duals, but don't expect a whole lot of noodling on The Seraphic Clockwork. A lot of the music is focused around the terrific vocals from Andy Kuntz and melodic instrumentation. Just listen to a tune like the ballad-ish "Quicksilver" or the epic "On My Way to Jerusalem", and it's obvious that Vanden Plas isn't entirely engulfed in attempts to play at the speed of light. All 9 songs here are absolutely wonderful progressive metal tracks, so it's difficult to pick a favorite. However, it'd be criminal to not mention "On My Way to Jerusalem" as a standout track, considering that is one of the best progressive metal songs in all of 2010. The instrumental section towards the end of "Rush of Silence" is also noteworthy. Even though much of this album is focused on melody, this complex instrumental section proves how excellent these guys can also be from a technical standpoint. Of course, another great thing about Vanden Plas is the group of musicians that make up the band. They're a tight playing unit that still puts feeling and emotion into their playing. There's not much more you could ask from a progressive metal band!

The production is great. It's nothing too special in the modern prog metal scene (a lot of albums have a similar production), but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it? The transitions between heavy and atmospheric sections sound great and certainly get the job done.

Conclusion:

Vanden Plas is one of the best bands in prog metal, and they've once again proved that with The Seraphic Clockwork. Although this isn't going to satisfy somebody who's craving a revolutionary album, it's an essential purchase for any fan of melodic progressive metal. There isn't a single weak track on the entire album, which is saying something when we're talking about a 72 minute album. This is 4.5 stars well-earned - one of the best albums in its genre from 2010. After giving the album many spins, it's clear that every second of the four-year wait for The Seraphic Clockwork was worth it. Let's just hope it's not nearly that long until we hear another great album from Vanden Plas! Strongly Recommended!

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