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Vanden Plas - The Seraphic Clockwork CD (album) cover


Vanden Plas


Progressive Metal

3.85 | 178 ratings

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4 stars Despite releasing their first album as far back as 1994 The Seraphic Clockwork is the first album I've bought by German prog metallers Vanden Plas. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to be honest as when I'm in the mood for a bit of prog metal this is the sort of stuff I usually like.

The melodic nature of the material here is to a large part thanks to vocalist Andy Kuntz who's a fine singer in the more traditional metal vein yet doesn't go for unnecessary histrionics. He can't take all the credit however as guitarist Stephan Lill also has an ear for a tuneful riff that doesn't sacrifice power for sugary coated sweetness. Liberal doses of G√ľnter Werno's keyboards also contribute to the overall harmonious feel.

It doesn't get any better than opener Frequency which while offering nothing ground- breaking pleases with an overall impressive performance, a killer riff and a hook that gets right under your skin. It's not downhill from here though as there's other highlights throughout including the dynamic Scar Of An Angel which makes good use of some light and shade elements against the powerhouse riffs. Even better is The Final Murder with a kind of Kashmir feel on the verse but they don't overdo it as it shifts through a number of impressive phases over its ten minutes. Quicksilver is the obligatory ballad and they save the longest until last with On My Way To Jerusalem. It took a few plays for this to sink in as I found it a bit ordinary at first but with a bit of perseverance, which is usually required with more complex pieces, it turned out to be an excellent closer.

The Seraphic Clockwork won't win any awards for originality, you've heard this all before from the typical metal rhythm section with rolling double kick drums liberally used and staccato riffing but I find myself drawn in due to the strong band performance and memorable musical qualities. Fans of the more melodic end of prog metal such as Shadow Gallery will find much to enjoy here.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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