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Vanden Plas - Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld II CD (album) cover


Vanden Plas

Progressive Metal

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5 stars Step aside, Kamelot! - Vanden Plas is coming.

I like Part 1 a lot - I gave it 5 stars in my review. When I tried to Part 2, the first impression was that part 2 is even better. To understand exactly what was better, I went back to part 1, which I have not listened to for a while. And I can tell: Part 2 is "progier" part of the album. The same winning formula: Epic Melodic Symphonic with very good taste (everything is in place and in the right measure - nothing overdone), but it has a lot more twists and turns, ups and downs, changes in tempo and melody, which is so valuable for fans of prog . Especially in the centerpiece over 13 minutes epic 'Blood of Eden' where they are dropping you from the cold water to the flame back and forth within a few minutes. I just put it on - so damn good!

Second large and positive difference is that Part 2 has better sound quality, giving Andy Kuntz vocal shine all along with new force. Additional vocal by Julia Steingass, blending in as duet, was a nice touch in Part 1. Here it has more supportive role. I like both ways equally, I just don't know whether it was recorded like this, or it's a trick of recording and mastering engineer Marcus Teske. He finally nailed sound in his Bazement right - clear and crank-able with good dynamics. It's a pleasure to listen to this type of music through the massive speakers with powerful 1000W monoblocks as I do. I dare to ask Marcus to improve sound of Part 1 for a new Deluxe (2CD+Blu-ray Audio) Edition. I will be first to buy it despite that I already have two digipaks of Part 1 and 2.

I also cannot wait for Blu-ray Live with Symphonic Orchestra. I just turned on a closer 'Circle of the Devil', another 8 min. Masterpiece of Prog, and, I don't know why, but I can see everything on stage: orchestra, band, Andy and Julia, backing vocal group... some kind of apotheosis. My guess is that entire double album was created with live performance in mind.

Overall, it's exemplary of Melodic Symphonic Prog Metal album full of details, you will discover more and more with each listening.

Thank you very much, guys. Please carry on. 5 solid and joyful stars.

Report this review (#1488415)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars I wasn't over my head with the first installment of the Immortals saga. It was more than solid for a symphonic gothic power-slightly proggy album, both hard-hitting (Vanden Plas have one of the densest guitar crunch in prog) and melodic as hell, but lacked the cleverness of songwriting and emotional subtlety of earlier Vanden Plas releases (and the entire vampires-and-werewolves/tragic love theme...). The second installment is stylistically much in the same vein. It may be darker, more bombastic and have more twists and turns, but honestly, only a seasoned fanatic would tell the difference. I've long defended prog metal from critical snobs, but on this one I am inclined to agree, a lot of prog metal these days tends to sound the same.
Report this review (#1501081)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2015 | Review Permalink

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