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Vanden Plas - Christ 0 CD (album) cover

CHRIST 0

Vanden Plas

Progressive Metal


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5 stars Superb Comeback from Vanden Plas. We've got the old Vanden Plas style in a new modern and more extreme guise.

10 tracks of wonderful Symphonic Theatrical Metal. This album is one of few that I am just unable to stop listening to. The Instrumentation is brilliant again from all members and structures are very unique. Lyrically it's a concept album based on a modern version of the Count of Monte Cristo, so i won't go into them all individually. They are very metaphorical and beautiful using solid imagery and symbolism to describe the concept in a typical Vanden Plas style...

Christ 0 - As it starts playing, naturally one turns up the volume to high levels, and you hear a deep atmospheric synth sound eventually crashing in with a 40 piece choir and orchestra with punching guitars. The pace of this song as the riff starts is symbolic of the entire album. It's much quicker and pacier than the last VP album, Beyond Daylight. Stephan Lill's guitaring is solid, the composition giving a wonderful chorus. Not much to say apart from "Epic" It is like something you might hear in a musical...but VERY HEAVY. The song contains some interesting drum work from Andy Lill, some fills you might hear in a very heavy metal band like Lamb of God. then the final chorus brings the 40 piece choir back again and the song ends with the crunching riff we heard at the beginning.

Postcard to God - Starts of with a mid-tempo but very heavy riff, eventually picking up pace and breaking into a different time signature before teh verse, which is going back to Far off Grace. It's good that they include elements from Old albums, but then have some things that are completely different. There is a heavy prominent bass in the floating chorus .Very fast bridge with some good keys work from Gunter Werno doing a lead before a staccato fast riff and guitar solo.

Wish you Were Here - A 10 minute long track, providing many different styles and variation of pace. Vocals stand out on this track...There is also some quality acoustic guitar work from Lill. Song breaks down in the middle then builds into heavy instrumental passage then back into the chorus. One of the weaker tracks on the album...but it's still amazing. A Slow Headbanging type beat at the end of this track..going into an outro solo

Silently - One of the best on the album in my opinion. Starts with coordinated drumming and guitar breaking into a double bass pedal with palm muted guitar. This song is interestingly arranged. There is a normal sort of song structure but then on what might be the final chorus it breaks into an unbelievably heavy and fast riff with soaring vocals over the top... then this passage and phrase is progressed till the end of the song, where the guitar and keys exchange their parts. It really is a beautiful piece of music, and that is an understatement.

Shadow I Am - Could be taken straight off of the God thing. Though that's not a bad thing. It's a reasonably straightforward rocking number; a good listen. A really REALLY heavy ending to this song picking up the pace just before breaking it down on...

Fireroses Dance - Solid Ballad breaking into a groovey blues type riff mid way through. The vocals are very musical-esque here. Kuntz starting with a very soft voice then seemlessly moving into very powerful and strong vocals, where you can feel his passion for the lyrics. The song ends quietly and goes into...

Somewhere Alone in the Dark - The Heaviest Track on the album. A Pacier verse here than some of the other tracks where the verse usually slows, yet this time it's the pre- chorus that slows before a bombastic chorus with a lot of chug from the guitars, some change of time signatures here before refrains where keys dominate in a "system noises" type way. There is then this unbelievably heavy breakdown again sounding like something Lamb of God might do...Downtuned guitar and dirty riffage before a chugging solo...Awesome stuff, completely contrasting with the track before.

January Sun - Amazing song. 10 minutes long, shuffle Jazz-style passages in the verses. Amazing intensity...with a beautiful chorus moving into a a groove and heavy sort of riff. This is broken down by an ornamental section using the orchestra heavily and is then built back up again to the heavy riffs present before. Moving into even heavier riffs with the orchestra and choir backing everything up as a sort of grand finale to the album..or concept at least :D A beautiful passage at the end, just piano and vocals with orchestra...it's a repetition of the beginning of the song, making it "framed" as it were.

Lost in Silence - A sort of Epilogue it seems to the story. Written by Kuntz himself, he sings wonderfully, with less predictable melodies...the only full acoustic number on the album. A nice relaxing listen after everything else heard.

A brilliant finish, leaving the listener uplifted and saturated with amazing precise progressive metal. You won't feel like doing anything apart from listening back to it in your head....then possibly the CD again.

!STOP PRESS!

Bonus Track - Gethsemane - A brilliant version of ALW and TR's Gethsemane...arranged better than i've ever heard it before...It fits with the VP style completely but Kuntz does one of his best performances i've ever heard on this track...hitting notes i've never heard him sing before....An awesome bonus to an awesome album.

If you've ever liked any Vanden Plas, you'll love this CD. Hopefully this will bring VP the respect they deserve in 2006...

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Send comments to Kilroy Murdoch (BETA) | Report this review (#73647)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
samuel_laurin
5 stars I've discovered Vanden Plas some years ago when they released their album Beyond Daylight. I actually purchased the album knowing only the song Cold Wind (which I think is a wonderful song). While listening to it, I kindda was dissapointed with the rest of the songs. I know this album has been praised alot as the best Vanden Plas album but now that I've heard Christ 0, I believe this will change. I decided to give another try to Beyond Daylight since I found Christ 0 so good and I must say that I now appreciate the album. You can only appreciate the talent of the band once you really get accustomed to their sound. Christ 0 is the best album I've heard in many years and I listen to many genres of music other then progressive. While Beyond Daylight sometimes sounded a bit like Dream Theater, I think Christ 0 has a more theatrical and grandiose atmoshpere. Every song is well composed. The music is sometimes backed with choirs and an orchestra which brings the whole album to a higher level. All the instruments blend well together. The singing is quite delectable and Kuntz has a really strong and clear voice. In conclusion, the band suceeded in creating an amazing atmoshpere that evolves through the album. HIghlights : January Sun, Postcard to God and Christ 0.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#74863)
Posted Thursday, April 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have been listening to this album almost daily and sometimes more than once a day. But it just don't catch me. Although I've enjoyed all the previous releases from the band it remains my least favourite disk of theirs. There are some standout tracks such as "Scarlet Flower Fields"; it's most impressive, "Beyond Daylight" itself, takes you through a musical journey, in many directions, with many variations of speeds. However, the promising start of the album doesn't last all the way through. The disk dips a little in the middle. The construction and tempo changes seem predictable. The band appear not to have developed and the disc only have a couple of really great tunes. Good stuff but I had expected more.

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Send comments to darrend (BETA) | Report this review (#81125)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars AWESOME! I waited a long time for this record, but let me tell you it was worth the while!

In fact, since The God Thing, few albums were able to make me shiver like this one (these few being stuff like Riverside's Second Life Syndrome, Circus Maximus' The First Chapter, Beyond Twilight's FTLOATTM, etc.)...

I won't review the album one track after the other, primarily because it's (obviously) a concept, and also because it's still stuck in my head as a whole (god? ^^) thing, not as a succession of songs.

Ethereal, sometimes heavy, mainly imbued with pure poetry (both lyrically and musically), Christ O demonstrates in a incredible way the unique talent of Vanden Plas. That's all I'm gonna say, and I think that's all you gonna need before trying this hell-of-a-record ^^

You like Vanden Plas? Buy it. You don't know the band? Could be the best introduction to it...

Forget the 5 stars-rating, for I won't be overreacting here: Christ O never generated the same enthousiasm in me as bands such as Dream Theater or Shadow Gallery (lately, let's mention Circus Maximus, Venturia, Spheric Universe Experience...), but anyway they're incredibly talented people, with an obvious gift for adding true emotions and mood to some beautiful compositions. And Christ O is by far one of the 10 best records I heard this year (but hey, it's barely August yet, huh ^^).

4/5 : excellent addition to any prog music collection (and, let me add: to any good music collection).

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Send comments to ValhallFR (BETA) | Report this review (#85320)
Posted Tuesday, August 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
msteele@twcny
4 stars I've been a big Vanden Plas fan for many years now. I've always been a fan of their slower more epic ballads such as I Don't Miss You & Crown of Thorns. It's no secret that Vanden Plas has had progressive aspirations in the vein of Dream Theater, but in my humble opinion, they've never had the progressive edge until Christ 0.

This album was obviously designed to showcase the bands progressive chops and at first listen, I was amazed at how much they have improved progressively. But along that path, I think something was sacrificed. Christ 0 is so progressive and heavy that there is very little trace of what hooked me to begin with, their ballads and emotional songwriting.

Don't get me wrong though, this is in my opinion the best Vanden Plas album to date. I'd just like to see the band not completely lose that more emotional side for an all out prog-metal sound. Now that we know they have the progressive chops, I'd like to see more emotion brought back and then I think we'll really see the best of Vanden Plas.

One thing I noticed from this album is that most of the songs stay true to a very similar pattern. The songs start out on a pretty heavy epic scale and tone down with a basic beat and layed back bass line. Then the progressive single note off-beat chugging guitars come in before leading into a double bass filled chorus. I love the sound they have crafted, but they use this pattern on many songs which loses a bit for me on the creative side.

The last tune, Gethsemane is worth mention because of Kunt's vocals. His vocals on this song are outstanding and I was almost shocked when I heard what he does. He sings a note that at first appeared out of his range, but he held the note for a very long time without any kind of vibrato! I don't know if this was his natural voice talent or produced through digital help ala auto-tune but I was very impressed and have since had to re-play that section over and over to evaluate it. It's VERY VERY difficult to belt a very powerful high note out and not have your voice shake at all! If this really was his voice, he's got one hell of an instrument there!

In all, if you're a Vanden fan, Christ 0 is an obvious choice. If you love prog metal in the vein of Dream Theater, you'll love this album. I think Christ 0 is actually heavier sounding than most later DT offerings. An overall great album and an impressive progressive achievement past what I thought Vanden Plas were capable of. Bring back more emotion and creativity to their song arrangements and they will have a masterpiece on their hands. Christ 0 very close though.

Do not let this one slip by you!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#88133)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Christ 0 is one of the finest releases of 2006. It is a concept album where a muderer (title charcter) is pursued by Inspector X. The band never lets up from the heaviness, and Andy Kuntz is a rising star amongst metal vocalists. The guitars and drums are nothing short of crushing, making Dream Theater's heaviest movements look tame. The concept is held together well but even ignoring the concept you get strong indiviudal songs. Standout tracks are the opener, the riff-heavy Somewhere Alone in the Dark, and Postcard to God, but every track is killer. The bonus track, a reworking of the Jesus Christ Superstar song Gethsemane, is very interesting, with a metallic revision. Kuntz's vocals can't compare with Ian Gillan's original performance, but he does give one of his best performances on this excellent cover.

Though everything is well-executed, this isn't quite a masterpiece, though this band has already made some great music, and if Christ 0 is any indicator of future output, Vanden Plas will be at the top of the prog metal heap very soon. Highly recommended.

Grade: B+

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#104960)
Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
sleeper
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.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#105482)
Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first vanden Plas album I bought and I was very impressed. I bought this cd never even hearing them, only knowing that they recieved good reviews and that they had a sick guitarist. Stephen Lill (guitars) doesn't dissapoint, neither does the rest of the band, I was blown away by the vocals and harmonies. The songs are all very catchy and technical with lots of guitar solos (which I loved). The only thing I didn't like about this album was that some of the songs sound very similiar, and are formuliac. But any fan of DT, and other prog metal artists like that will definitely dig VP.

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Send comments to Highlander (BETA) | Report this review (#108062)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sometimes I've been listening to this album for all day, for weeks, for months, and even after lots of listenings, it maintains the same musical power of the first spin.

Why? I'll explain. This is the story (inspired by Alexandre Dumas' "Le Comte de Montecristo") of a man, imprisoned for some crimes he has not committed. Once free, he will really become a killer, thanks to the revenge he will have on his prosecutors.

The title track "Christ .0" kicks in with an astounding gothic chorus, then the main character (Christ .0) is introduced. He is alone in prison, alone with his solitude, and his thoughts go to his love and to the friends which betrayed him. Here, a flashforward also presents us the Inspector X, the detective of the concept.

There's a thing you will notice all along the disc: every song recalls exactly the mood that it is representing (so these are the feelings you will get while listening): anger, regret, love, resignation, desolation, lost of faith.....

As the title says, in "Postcard to God" we can see the futile, unheard prayers of the protagonist in prison, pictured as empty letters to God. Another basic thing on the whole album is the presence of powerful and perfectly played guitar solos. They are omnipresent, and the good thing is that they are very different from one song to another; here you have an heavy and speedy guitar solo, and before that, a gently keyboard solo.

Then there's "Wish you were here", a song with a really catchy chorus. And just when you think the song is over, then a nice guitar-driven little piece starts, and after the great solo,the keyboard takes you back to the main theme, the same of the middle-part guitar solo.

"Silently". One two three..... Here Christ. 0, escapes from the prison and found a shelter in a cavern, where the day slowly and slowly pass. The desire of revenge achieves his apex. This is what you can call a prog song. Technical and excellent guitar solo, keyboard solo, and smooth and delicate acoustic guitar solo. All surrounded by the warm voice of Andy Kuntz, singing a majestic chorus. The final "Silently deeply creep,all my love has gone" really gives me shivers.

Then "Shadow I am", a song dominated by great bass and drums. In the middle of the song, a bass-drums crescendo with Kuntz singing "Not more that a gun to rule the world", leads to the incredible guitar solo. The song describes the protagonist, condemned to be as a shadow, forever (Shadow I am, and I ever will, and I ever will be).

"Fireroses dance" is a kind of mellow ballad, gentle in the beginning, but then exploding in a great chorus and marvelous orchestration, an emotional guitar solo (fitting perfectly the mood of the song), tempo changes and a gothic chorus. This is the track which preludes to what will happen in the next one, a kind of transition leading to the tragedy.

"Somewhere alone in the dark" is the heaviest song of the album. Heavy leading riff, heavy guitar solo, this track clearly gives the impression of the revenge being taken. "Freezing" song, cutting words : "You don't breathe anymore when i walk out the door".

Maybe simple words aren't enough to describe what comes next. The epic "January Sun" is much more than a simple song. It is a mini-opera on its own. The destiny of the characters is revealed. Inspector X understands and identifyes himself with Christ.0. He is the murderer he has been looking for. I like in particular how this song is "framed": it comes in with a little, sweet sung part and it ends in the same way it started, with the difference that the protagonist now has clearly understood his destiny and he knows the truth (I need someone to talk to now I can see the light). Andy Kuntz' voice reaches its apex: the song is so emotional and deep and has a wonderful chorus. The instrumental part is lenghty and full of variations: it is committed to powerful riffs, a keyboard solo and, as a last solo on the album, a magnificent, superb guitar solo.

"Lost in silence" is the end of the journey, the suicide seen as the only possible solution. Christ.0 / Inspector X drown himself in the ocean (please can you cry me away); the guitars here are so calm and peaceful; they're leading to the end of the story. Then only silence.

As a bonus track, "Gethsemane", an interpretation of the song on the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar". A brilliant cover and a great adding to the album.

In conclusion, a really wonderful album, beautiful compositions and great concept, fascinating voice and sensational instrumental parts.

With Christ. 0, Vanden Plas gets the vote for "best 2006 album" of who is writing.

A masterpiece of music.

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Send comments to CrazyDiamond (BETA) | Report this review (#108232)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As far as how the music has evolved from their debut album in 1994 "Colour Temple", this newest album by Vanden Plas is probably the best offering. Their musical ideas and concepts have matured in such a way that the compositions featured here in this album are tight, combining layers of keyboard with heavy riffs and in a good harmony. Listening to this album, one would remember the music of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Fates Warning, Royal Hunt even though none of them are truly alike musically. But each of them shares the same music sub genre under progressive metal category. At first experience I listened to "Far Off Grace" album, this band sounded like a power metal band. Even worse, I did not consider "Far Off Grace" as a solid album that stands out for consideration. But when I listened to "Crist.0" for the first time through my i-Rock! colleague, Andre Solucite, who adored this new album by Vanden Plas. At first I was so reluctant with his invitation to listen to this album. But at an occasion when i-Rock! held a meeting he played me this album. I agreed with him that this new album by Vanden Plas demonstrated better music as compared to previous albums.

From the opening track "Christ 0" (5:37), you can immediately sense how excellent the composition is. It demonstrates clearly how the band produces progressive metal heavy riffs combined with layers of keyboard by Gunter Werno. The structure of the song seems like a straight rock music but when it is combined with the textures and nice melody, it becomes something interesting. The follow-up track "Postcard To God" (6:19) sounds like a bllad music with prog metal scene. The piano shot at the opening of "Silently" gives excellent break after heavy rhythm section of previous track "Wish YouWere Here" (nothing to do with Pink Floyd track!) evn though it continues with heavy riffs and power metal style. "Fireroses Dance" (6:05) is a nice ballad slow rock with piano and cello / violin as background. "January Sun" (10:07) is an excellent track with relatively long duration, great melody and tight composition!

It's definitely an excellent addition to any prog metal music collection. It has tight composition, powerful song writing and flawless performance. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#120986)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well.This is a conceptual album,a good history as well,this band of Germany show us again that they are very good musicians.and with this ultimate work again create a monumental album.. whit metal songs more that progressive,but allways have a piece of progressive on their music..since the riffs are heavy they dont loose the touch of Progressive sound.. the solos are good,the vocals,the words,andy is still singing powerful,what a good singer have this progressive metal band.. i think that they are not iqual tu Dream theater..a lot of people say that,but i donk think so.. is so easy to know VANDEN PLAS IS making music good and diferent..dream theater is allways making the sames riffs,the sames chorus,and they dont wait to have a new sound..they only wait two years to make another album,what for me is not prudent..becasue they are loosing creativity...

anyway,all the songs on this one are good and perfectly ...

but the best song on this album of christ-0 and maybe on the vanden plas scene is JANUARY SUN..WHAT A MARVELOUS SOUND.epic.beatiful,the vocals,the words,the changes,the fast section,the ending,the beginning..a master piece of music... in fact,all the album is highly recommended...with good songs to never end boring..

keep on the good work VANDEN PLAS...

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Send comments to JgX 5 (BETA) | Report this review (#123408)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Although I'm a great proglover I can be a bit choosy for the real thing, don't go overboard too quickly about a band or an album. But this one we're talking about right now, that's the real thing !! A superb album, I already knew Vandenplas was great, but they have excelled themselves here ! My personal criterion for giving 5 stars are two possibilities: 1) the album has to be overall very very good OR 2) there have to be at least three songs of absolute top class on the album. This album satisfies in both criterions. But especially the 3 songs that are of the very highest class are January Sun, Silently and best of all: Wish you were here. I'm in love with these three songs, they are the best prog metal can offer in my opinion. Simply UNBELIEVABLE !! Some of the other songs are also worthwile, like Christ0, Postcard to God and Fireroses Dance.

This could be one of the best albums ever, but of course it's always a matter of taste. 5+ stars !!

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#140585)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I pulled the liner notes out and saw the picture on the back it actually startled me. Why ? Because it's the same guy who's on the cover of KARMAKANIC's "Who's the Boss In The Factory ?". I swear it's the same freaking guy ! Same hat, face, cigar, suit...it's him ! Anyway back to VANDEN PLAS. According to Pete Pardo this latest recording from this German Prog-Metal band is a concept album based loosely on the story of "The Count Of Monte Cristo". It's interesting to see the high ratings for this album because for me it's my least favourite, and i've heard them all and am a big fan. First of all with the bonus track it's almost 80 minutes long ! Second of all i'm not big on concept albums. It's hard for me to put a finger on it but this seems so uninspired and so avaerage for this band. It doesn't hold a candle to "The God Thing" in my opinion.

"Christ O" opens with some atmosphere and choir before we get blitzed but then it settles quickly with vocals.This is actually an excellent track when it gets fuller. "Postcard To God" is heavy to begin with but settles when the vocals come in, although the heavy drums continue with synths.The heaviness is back after 3 minutes and we get a guitar solo 4 minutes in. "Wish You Where Here" contrasts the heavy and lighter passages well. Not a fan of the mellow sections with piano but the full on assaults work well. I like the dark and sinister sound after 4 1/2 minutes. Some great guitar follows. "Silently" opens with piano followed by the heaviness which comes and goes. Violin and a calm 3 minutes in followed by a good guitar solo.Themes are repeated.

"Shadow I Am" impresses me with the heaviness and drumming,especially on the chorus. A ripping guitar solo after 3 1/2 minutes. "Fireroses Dance" opens with piano as fragile vocals come in. A fuller sound after a minute as the contrast continues. Some welcomed heaviness after 3 minutes as we get an incredible second half. "Somewhere Alone In The Dark" is a heavy beast with some killer guitar. Nice. "January Sun" opens with fragile vocals and piano as violin comes in. Not a fan. We get some samples to do with the concept. A better sound 5 minutes in but it ends as it began. "Lost In Silence" is a laid back tune with vocals.

I think most will look at this as one of the bands best, but some of us are disappointed. It's still a good album of course.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#201730)
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Fifth studio album of german prog metal band Vanden Plas from 2006 named Christ O. The story behind this album is in Andy Kuntz view an remake about the famous Count of Monte Cristo, written and compose in his manner and re adapted to modern days life. To tell you the truth it get me more than usual to listen to this album then any VP album before, because this version of the novel is kinda hard to get into in fiew listen. So after 10 or more spins since he was released 3 years ago I bigun to understant this modern aproach of mr Kuntz. The music is a little more heavier then previous albums, and a thing that I don't really like, the toying now with more power metal than usual or even in places some hard core chops on guitar, very rough and not really impressive in Vanden Plas sound as a whole. Like Symphony X case when their last was way more heavier and deseppointing many fans included me, in this case is the same. Well the album is not bad, some pieces are really good and have that VP flavour from early years like the opening track Christ 0 (nice chorus here), Postcard To God and Wish You Were Here, these 3 pieces are the best, the rest are only ok, not bad but without any shinig moments as on previous albums. In Vanden Plas career this is their most unpleasent (not bad) album so far and in prog metal scene an usual album with high and lows but very vague in contrast with their Far off grace or The god thing (their best albums for sure) and in contrast with othe rband and albums from that period. I will give 3 star while is not bad for sure is less intristing than any other VP album so far and I think is time for a new one because are allready 3 years from this one.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#238181)
Posted Wednesday, September 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars What a spectacle! This magnificent piece of music is an excellent choice for any progressive metal fan. Even on songs such as JANUARY SUN, where a soft piano intro begins the track, a breakdown in the quintessential metal that all fans want emerges from the intro. Not saying soft piano is bad in the least!

The concept album, as the AllMusic review says, has wonderful meaning behind the lyrics. Wonderful instrumental parts colour the album in wonderful ways. Complex parts, beautiful vocal parts and more make this album a must. Thom Jurek of All Music says in his review "Vanden Plas rocks." And so they do.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#284970)
Posted Friday, June 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Christ 0" is, as with most previous Vanden Plas albums, better than the ones before. Which is saying a lot, since I fell totally in love with their music nearly 10 years and several albums earlier with "The God Thing".

The symphonic orchestral opening of the title track may be one of their best pieces yet. And if that were to lead you to think that the riffs would take a backstage, think again! Because straight after, we have "Postcard To God".

With "Wish You Were Here" and its strangely ironic lyrics (the words that follow the title are "buring here in hell instead of me"!), we have one of the numerous highlights of the album. The others being "Shadow I Am", "Somewhere Alone In the Dark" and "January Sun" - all superb with the last one being a mini-epic. Clocking in at 10:05, it was, at the time, the second longest song by the band after "Beyond Daylight" at 10:40 (later eclipsed by "On My Way To Jerusalem" at 12:51 from The Seraphic Clockwork).

All this, with the backdrop of a fascinating interpretation of The Count of Monte Cristo, makes for a brilliant masterpiece.

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Send comments to sv_godspeed (BETA) | Report this review (#361881)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Four years in the making...

The fifth, full-length studio release from German band, Vanden Plas.

The Good: These guys have been around for quite some time now but with this release I think they have finally hit the jackpot. It's a masterful concept album which puts a modern twist on Alexandre Dumas' famous novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. The members of the band have all been involved in stage productions of musicals at some point in their career (some still are!) and this definitely shines through in their compositions. The addition of a forty-piece choir makes Christ 0 feel very grandiose and almost like a 'metal opera' at times.

The Bad: Musically it doesn't really bring anything new to the table, but what it does do, it does very well. Excellent vocals mixed with talented muscianship is always a winning formula, but to really stand-out at this 'late stage' in the prog metal game you also need consistently interesting songs and in this respect Christ 0 doesn't quite make the grade.

The Verdict: It might not have the technicality of 'Scenes From a Memory' or the character of 'Operation Mindcrime', but the strength of the overall package is enough to make sure Christ 0 still gets noticed.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#513274)
Posted Friday, September 02, 2011 | Review Permalink

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