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Vanden Plas - Colour Temple / AcCult CD (album) cover


Vanden Plas


Progressive Metal

4.10 | 20 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars VANDEN PLAS' sensational debut album, 1994's "Colour Temple," instantly established them at the vanguard of melodic, progressive hard rock. With tight performances, soaring vocals, and rich, mature arrangements, their soundscapes were clearly in a league with DREAM THEATER and other genre leaders. The most compelling, distinctive element of VANDEN PLAS, however, was the quality of their compositions. Instead of basing their sound on expansive neo-classicism or artsy, edgy prog/power-metal, VP clearly nods to streamlined, song-oriented influences: QUEENSRYCHE (the moody "When The Wind Blows"); WHITESNAKE (check out the menacing riffage of "Push"); and DREAM THEATER (the sophisticated, 9-minute neo-prog-metal "Soul Survives"). The results are electrifying.

The biggest killers on the disc include the richly textured post-'80s hard rock of "Father," the intense, hard neo-prog of "My Crying," and the unforgettable, wistful classic "How Many Tears." For melody-oriented listeners, there are no weak songs; VANDEN PLAS excels at both soul-stirring balladry and intense heavy rock. Even the bonus track "Days Of Thunder" is a superb slice of hard-riffing melodic rock.

You want more? You got it: This deluxe reissue also comes packaged with a second CD, VANDEN PLAS' 1996 "AcCult" album. That largely acoustic set is further evidence of the band's remarkable compositional prowess, demonstrating how well their tunes translate into a non-metallic setting. It also removes all doubts about their sophistication, versatility, and emotional potency, with soulful takes on highlights from "Colour Temple" and diverse covers like MARILLION's "Kayleigh" and the standard "Georgia On My Mind." As on "Colour Temple," there are no weak tracks.

Overall, this deluxe "Colour Temple" reissue is too mainstream-feeling for hardcore fans of artsier prog, but it is consistently memorable and energized, with brilliant compositions and rich emotional resonances that few other bands could even approach. No, VANDEN PLAS had not yet fully developed the majestic articulation of drama and power that would eventually elevate them to the loftiest ranks of prog/pomp-metal, but even at this first stage in their development, they were far ahead of their peers. For listeners who appreciate music at the overlap of melodic prog-metal and hard pomp, this consistently brilliant reissue is a nearly essential look back at the band's early vibrance. Songs this strong should not be overlooked.

| 5/5 |


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