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Vanden Plas - Christ 0 CD (album) cover


Vanden Plas


Progressive Metal

3.99 | 246 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars After a wait of four years, Vanden Plas have finally released their fifth album, Christ 0, an album that many fans hoped would be a stunning piece of Prog-metal following their very strong previous release Beyond Daylight. This album is a concept album loosely based around the lead character from Alexander Dumas' novel The Count of Monty Christo, Edmond Dantes, renamed Christ 0 here, though set in a more modern seen and it equally follows the detective, Inspector X, that is trying to catch him. Consequently, its moved some way from the original source materiel.

For those that don't know, Vanden Plas are a technical, but very melodic, Prog metal band in the vein of Dream Theater but without all the outrageous solos that are very common from Dream Theater. I bought this album on its release and its taken me this long to just work out why it has never hit me as a five star masterpiece. Its definitely a good album but its not a stunner and its not quite so obvious on the surface why.

The powerful concept of this album, the journey of 0 to gain vengeance against those that wronged him and the journey of X to catch 0 as well as the journey within himself, inevitably takes the listener on a journey through the two characters, something done extremely well through the often very catchy lyrics of Andy Kuntz. Invariably, though, this is a very dark album, far more so than the bands previous work Beyond Daylight, with an unrelenting feeling of despair, doom and gloom that gives it a strong character. This feeling is brought out by the powerful, driving guitar lines of Stephan Lill, the haunting, and occasionally extravagant, keyboard runs of Gunter Werno, the dynamic and intricate bass work of the under- appreciated Torsten Reichert and the explosive, yet controlled, drumming of Andreas Lill.

It all sounds like the album has come up (fire)roses so far but the perfectly crafted atmosphere of the album ends up being its own Achilles Heel, specifically in the way that its been done. After a few listens you realize that, though there are no weak tracks here, a feeling that some of the tracks are all just a bit too similar creeps in. Sadly this means that Christ 0, Silently, Fireroses Dance and Lost In Silence are the only tracks that come out feeling truly unique on the album with the others tending to feel like they were all created similarly, though the differences are strong enough to prevent you from ever really getting bored of the album.

Overall I'll give the album a very strong 4 stars, it's a very good album and one that I will enjoy for a long while to come, even if I have had it for a year already. If this album had the level of diversity and dynamic that was present on Beyond Daylight I would have given this 5 stars, but then maybe the dark atmosphere that is so integral to making this a successful concept album would not be as prevalent as it is. For those that get one of the early pressing's in the slipcase you get a bonus track at the end of the album, Gethsemane. As you may have guessed it's a cover from Jesus Christ Superstar, a performance of which singer Andy Kuntz and guitarist Stephan Lill were involved with about a year or two before the release of the album. It's a surprisingly good song, very different to the rest of the album and makes for some good relief after all that doom and gloom, particularly notable for the impressive vocal performance of Kuntz.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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