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Vanden Plas

Progressive Metal

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Vanden Plas The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things album cover
3.81 | 32 ratings | 3 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2024

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things (8:02)
2. My Icarian Flight (6:00)
3. Sanctimonarium (10:17)
4. The Sacrilegious Mind Machine (8:38)
5. They Call Me God (6:35)
6. March of the Saints (15:46)

Total Time 55:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Kuntz / vocals
- Stephan Lill / guitars
- Andreas Lill / drums
- Alessandro Del Vecchio / keyboards
- Torsten Reichert / bass

Releases information

Label: Frontiers
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
April 19, 2024

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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VANDEN PLAS The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VANDEN PLAS The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I have been reviewing Vanden Plas for more than quarter of a century, and while there are times when their albums are somewhat workmanlike, there are plenty of others where they are truly phenomenal. My first look at this release did cause me some surprise though, as they are famed for having kept the same line-up throughout their career, yet for the first time since their debut 'The Colour Temple' (1994) that is not case. While Andy Kuntz (vocals), Stephan Lill (guitar), Andreas Lill (drums), and Torsten Reichert (bass) are all still there, keyboard player GŁnter Werno is no longer involved, and his place has been taken by Frontiers in-house producer Alessandro Del Vecchio who is one of those musicians who has the ability to be in multiple different bands at the same time.

Even though there has been that change in personnel, in many ways this is a direct continuation from their last release, 2020's 'The Ghost Xperiment ? Illumination'. It is highly theatrical, heavily influenced by Savatage in particular, with complex arrangements and music shifting from heavy and dynamic to peaceful and tranquil, often in the same line. Kuntz is a stunning singer, but it takes him some time to make his impact on this album which commences with some simple piano, thunder in the distance, as it creates an emotional entrance. We get a back and call with the guitar, and gradually the band starts to build with dramatic drumming and orchestrations, and then we are into melodic prog metal with plenty of crunch and drive, but it is still not time for Andy to make his entrance as the band continue to develop themes. It is one of the most powerful introductions to an album I have ever come across, as just three minutes in and already the listener is fully invested as the shredding and bombast is there. Just when one thinks it is going to continue in the same vein it drops back, the piano takes over, and then Andy is there ? it just took four minutes for him to make the right entrance.

The album is dynamic and powering throughout, a wonderful example of polished progressive metal, with the only complaint being that the polish has been lathered on just a little too thickly. There is not enough clarity and distinction within the arrangements, and it is only that which prevents me from awarding the album full marks. Alessandro joined the band too late to have any impact on the songwriting, so it will be interesting to see where they go next, but as it is this is yet another fine album from one of top bands in the genre.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Germany's VANDEN PLAS was one of the pioneering progressive metal bands forming as far back as 1984 and joining the ranks of Dream Theater, Psychotic Waltz, Mekong Delta and a bunch of others in the 1990s by delivering some of the most cutting edge metal meets prog the decade had to offer. The band has weathered the storms for well over four decades now and even produced four rock operas. VANDEN PLAS' prog metal creds are undeniable and yet somehow this band has remained just outside of my grasp. Although i've heard of them for years and even checked out an album or two, there was just something about them i found off-putting. Well, sometimes it's unwise to sample the proper nectar before one is ready to glean the benefits and i figured it's time to once again dip into the musical world of VANDEN PLAS since the band is obviously in no hurry to set up a retirement plan.

Although the band debuted in 1994 with its first release "Colour Temple," the band has never been in a rush to pump out as much product as possible. The latest album THE EMPYREAN EQUATION OF THE LONG LOST THINGS is the band's 12th album and it's absolutely amazing that this band has pretty much kept the same lineup since its 1994 debut. The exception to this long lasting stability was broken when keyboardist GŁnter Werno departed in 2023 and for the first time VANDEN PLAS had to scout out some new talent to fill his shoes. The band found a suitable replacement with Italian born Alessandro Del Vecchio who has been well seasoned in a number of bands including Alex Beyrodt's Voodoo Circle, Sunstorm and Silent Force. Given his prog rock / power metal / hard rock creds, a perfect candidate for VANDEN PLAS' classic prog metal sound that seems to remain firmly planted in the 1990s.

While the world of progressive metal has evolved exponentially since the 90s and branched out into every possible direction conceivable, VANDEN PLAS has retained its ties to the early heavy metal and power metal roots that spawned the more progressive metal variations that emerged in the 1990s. The band features the same style of guitar riffing and accompanying solos, melancholic atmospheres, frenetic keyboard runs, high pitched vocals and the typical melodic and rhythmic drive that made the earliest variations of prog metal so endearing. Not much has changed in the VANDEN PLAS camp as the same formulaic approach as always has been implemented. THE EMPYREAN EQUATION OF THE LONG LOST THINGS features six tracks and adds up to the 55 minute plus mark. The tracks are mostly on the longer side with every track clocking in at over six minutes and the lengthiest grand finale "March Of The Saints" approaching the 16-minute mark.

The album starts off with the title track and showcases beautiful piano rolls and the classic build of tension that merges into the prog metal thunder the band is famous for. Andy Kuntz still delivers clean and confident vocal workouts and the band is by all means a well-oiled machine at this point in their career and newbie Del Vecchio seems to fit in like he's been a member of the band since the beginning. The tracks are all well-crafted and deliver veritable slices of that old school prog metal stylistic approach that will remind you of classic Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Symphony X, Threshold, Pagan's Mind, Shadow Gallery and a gazillion others. In that regard little has changed in the VANDEN PLAS sound and the band carries on as if the modern world doesn't exist. For some that may be a nice comfort zone and for others it conveys a band that remains staunchly committed to a certain stylistic approach that refuses to branch out into new turf. Whatever the case, VANDEN PLAS' latest offering delivers a veritable slice of classic prog metal but doesn't really do much more. Even the 16-minute closing "March Of The Saints" doesn't deviate from the overall established sound of the band in any way.

Upon listening to THE EMPYREAN EQUATION OF THE LONG LOST THINGS i'm reminded why VANDEN PLAS never really clicked with me. Sure they are a more than a competent band that delivers all the prog metal goods in fine form but the band lacks imagination and a creative spirit that animates the music to a higher level. This album is very anachronistic and may serve as a form of comfort food for those who have been alienated by the world of prog metal seeping into the caustic arenas of dissonant death metal, black metal and extremist hybrids and for that it is perfectly suitable however i just find this band to be a bit too generic for my liking. There is not a single bad track on this album and the performances are impeccable with every keyboard run, every guitar riff and every drum roll teased out to perfection but there is a very clinical feel to the album as if VANDEN PLAS engineers its music through a microscope rather than allowing an organic process to inspire and evolve its style. It's sure to be a fan pleaser for those who expect a band to remain consistent but after three decades i would expect the band to have at least evolved a smidge. Decent album but comes off as prog metal by the numbers.

3.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars 'The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things' with the soaring piano arpeggio opening, the spleen tune of Anathema, the storm in the distance; the deafening riff, the keyboard of Alessandro, new replacement for GŁnter, and the vocal choirs are imposing; emotion, solos, epic symphony, return of ... (read more)

Report this review (#3057378) | Posted by alainPP | Monday, June 3, 2024 | Review Permanlink

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