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Vanden Plas - Far Off Grace CD (album) cover


Vanden Plas


Progressive Metal

3.85 | 116 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I think they've simplified things a little compared to "The God Thing" and increased the heaviness while they were at it. Maybe playing in front of those large audiences when they toured with DREAM THEATER made them think more of how these songs would sound live.

"I Can See" is a good example of the heaviness, as we get hit hard by riffs right off the hop. Stephen Lill said he wasn't sure how the band would react to this song when he presented it to them, because it wasn't anything like what they had done before (the staccato riff combined with the uptempo beat). Synths then vocals join in quickly, and I must say i'm a big fan of Andy's vocals. I like when it settles a little with vocal harmonies. The drums pound relentlesly throughout and check out the guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. Great ending as well. "Far Off grace" is where they slow things down to start with. Pleasant vocals and acoustic guitar before a powerful display crashes in. This contrast continues. Tasteful guitar before 4 minutes with piano coming in a minute later. It kicks back into gear before 6 minutes. Nice. What a terrific way to start the album with those two songs. "Into The Sun" opens with synths that are blown away in a hurry by heavy riffs. Not blown far apparently 'cause they're back rather quickly in the background this time. Vocals and a heavy undercurrent follows. Love the chorus. Themes are repeated.

"Where's The Man" is heavy with synths to open. Nice drum work. It settles when vocals come in. I like the instrumental interlude before 4 minutes. This one is dark, atmospheric and emotional. "Iodic Rain" is spacey to open before some killer drums come in, and then it's full speed ahead. It calms down with chugging riffs, vocals and background synths. More great drumming after 3 minutes, a scorching guitar solo comes in a minute later. "I Don't Miss You" is a ballad of reserved vocals and piano for the most part. Andy wrote this as sort of a sarcastic love letter. Words like "I don't miss you, I don't even love you, I wish you would die in my arms". "Inside Of Your Head" has a cool laid back intro before the heaviness arrives. Vocals join in. Synth solo 3 1/2 minutes in followed by a guitar solo. This is one of my favs along with the first two tracks.

"Fields Of Hope" builds to a full sound before a minute. It calms down when vocals come in. Some excellent chunky bass in this one after 2 1/2 minutes to the end. "I'm With You" opens with piano then fragile vocals. Synths then acoustic guitar follow. Drums come in as it builds. Synths are prominant 3 minutes in followed by a ripping guitar solo and a full sound. It ends as it began.

I know there isn't anything new here, that isn't the point. I just love this style of music a lot. This was a blast !

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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