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VANDEN PLAS

Progressive Metal • Germany


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Vanden Plas picture
Vanden Plas biography
Formed in Kaiserslautern, 1986 -

VANDEN PLAS is a band which incorporates elements of progressive and pop rock, keyboards, layers and specialize in longer songs. This is an interesting band which started out life as a modern hair metal band. However, the band really cleaned up their act for their most recent albums which take their cue more from DREAM THEATER. Fans in France and Japan have already pushed the band to much success and after half a dozen albums it is time for the band to resign itself to those countries or make a push for itself elsewhere as well.

See also:
- Abydos

VANDEN PLAS Videos (YouTube and more)


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VANDEN PLAS discography


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VANDEN PLAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 97 ratings
Colour Temple
1994
2.84 | 44 ratings
AcCult
1996
3.89 | 138 ratings
The God Thing
1997
3.86 | 121 ratings
Far Off Grace
1999
3.99 | 193 ratings
Beyond Daylight
2002
4.04 | 255 ratings
Christ 0
2006
3.85 | 207 ratings
The Seraphic Clockwork
2010
3.74 | 134 ratings
Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld (Path One)
2014
3.75 | 120 ratings
Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld II
2015
3.42 | 56 ratings
The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening
2019
4.08 | 75 ratings
The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination
2020
3.78 | 29 ratings
The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things
2024

VANDEN PLAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 40 ratings
Spirit of Live
2000
4.22 | 9 ratings
The Seraphic Live Works
2017
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live & Immortal
2022

VANDEN PLAS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Seraphic Live Works
2017

VANDEN PLAS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 21 ratings
Colour Temple / AcCult
2002
4.86 | 7 ratings
The Epic Works 1991-2015
2019

VANDEN PLAS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire
1992
3.45 | 11 ratings
Inside Your Head
1999
3.93 | 11 ratings
I Don't Miss You
2000

VANDEN PLAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.78 | 29 ratings

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The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

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

 The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.78 | 29 ratings

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The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

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 their original creation; final louder to silence the provocative detractors and those of metal who had forgotten them. 'My Icarian Flight' with Andy at the helm setting the tone on a warm, intoxicating, melodic track; the touch is there, the bass suddenly brings the break with organ and guitar solo, you would say you are in a Dream Theater with this duo displayed; the finale on the bewitching and metronomic Vanden Plas touch. 'Sanctimonarium' with the intro one minute flat to heat up the atmosphere; Andy gently, the symphonic riff which will leer on vintage prog metal with the Hammond, it feels like a remake of Deep Purple from the 2020s; the synth wants to be modern before letting the Teutonic riff come back in force, with pads stamped 12.7; the elegiac finale to deliver the fatal blow, the air of Epica younger than them.

'The Sacrilegious Mind Machine' tumbles in, sharp heavy riff; a minute to forget time before leaving on the tune calibrated melodic prog metal with choirs and hearts, just bleeding; the riff more cutting than that you die, Andy which lacerates, the synth which tears; soothing melodic-acoustic break before returning 20mm cannon riff; the organ still there to cause confusion and melt. 'They Call Me God' for the piano arpeggio ballad, remembering the group's enjoyable orchestral drifts; a plaintive guitar that we found on the Anathema, a sampled violin to cast doubt; the romantic ballad is played as often with a moving guitar solo before the rise to a divine Kashmiri tune; effective, simple, pompous, epic. ' March of the Saints ' heavy intro to the progressive track at heart; adding time gives breaks, heaviness, desired repetitions which can become redundant; piano interlude break before returning to the calibrated riff, the supercharged drums and the syncopated bass; the orchestration becomes bombastic with the guitar solo and Andy's bewitching voice eyeing a musical maelstrom; the final crystalline piano recalls the neo-classical sound.

Vanden Plas releases a melancholic opus, epic sticky spleen of heavy dark and enlightened with its elegiac, epic and crescendic scents; a fusion of feelings, of emotions for a conventional prog metal which has not aged a bit but which does not bring much of anything unique, a good repeat opus full of technical prowess which makes our past resonate. Originally on ProgCensor!

 The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2024
3.78 | 29 ratings

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The Empyrean Equation of the Long Lost Things
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

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.

 The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.08 | 75 ratings

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The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars I have been a fan of Vanden Plas right from the beginning, but it must be said that I thought their last album was fairly workmanlike and contained little to make it essential. Given that it was the first part of a two-part concept, and here we have the second, there was little which had me looking forward to playing it. But just by putting this on for the very first time, I found myself falling in love with Vanden Plas all over again. There are very few bands who can say they have kept the same line-up since their formation in 1986, but Vanden Plas can, which is quite some achievement, although they do also utilize guests when the time is right. Andy Kuntz (vocals), Stephan Lill (guitar), GŁnter Werno (keyboards), Andreas Lill (drums) and Torsten Reichert (bass) have been joined by Alea from the leading German medieval rock band Saltatio Mortis for a duet on the bonus track "Krieg kennt keine Sieger", Snow White Blood singer Ulli Perhonen is here for "Black Waltz Death" and "The Ghost Engineers", while the backing vocalists include longtime musical colleagues Oliver Hartmann from Avantasia and Herbie Langhans from Firewind.

Everything which was wrong with the last one is right with this one, with loads of progressive elements over the metal without ever becoming overblown. Savatage are still a huge influence, with biting riffs and cutting lyrics, and vocals which are kept to the fore. The band have always been theatrical, performing their own rock opera as well as Jon Lord's 'Concerto For Group and Orchestra' while finalizing the album (because, why not?), and here it all gels together. Powerful and powering, here we have progressive metal as its finest. They may have lost their way with the last album, but they have more than recovered ground with this one, creating something which is simply epic. It crunches when it needs to, caresses when the time is right, and at the front there is Kuntz showing he is still the consummate frontman he has always been.

I mentioned in passing to a friend that I was listening to VDP the other day as I had to review it and he was immediately incredibly excited until I pointed out it was not a new release, but one from a year ago, and he promptly started telling me just how good they are and what a great album this is. We disagree on various matters, but this time he is right, German theatrical epic prog metal just doesn't get any better than this.

 The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.42 | 56 ratings

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The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars I like Vanden Plas (the band). They are very consistent - heavy, dramatic and melodic. The German formation have followed the 2014/2015 double album set Chronicles of the Immortals with yet another two-part gothic fantasy saga. This one is probably their most amibitious to date (I know, there's a tendency for reviewers to label in such terms a band's every other successive work, but here an objective criteria like the average song lengths may well be used). And they have wisely divided it in two installments, because to be honest, the trademark Vanden Plas sound from album to album would differ only to a very dedicated ear, and 100 minutes of this bombast would be hard to absorb in one serving.
 The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.08 | 75 ratings

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The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

5 stars The musical slap! Following the VANDEN PLAS since their debut in 1995 with "color temple", I have never stopped seeing them in concert. In the meantime, I have stored their albums like treasures; the beginning of 2000 hurt me when I saw them gradually disappear from the music scene, until a revival with "christ O" and albums with the original peach. A concert by them to verify that they are Dantesque on stage and here we are with this last opus; so why this preamble? "THE GHOST XPERIMENT - ILLUMINATION" is quite simply the illumination of your end of the year 2020 that you risk listening to in 2021 as everything is so magnificent about it; rhythmic parts, catchy riffs, Andy's always clear voice, divine piano parts reconciling metal and progression, long compositions that send heavy, everything is perfect and all the more surprising as I expected to an ersatz of their previous album. The little extra is always to associate their invasive synths with sound riffs and to link everything with Andy's voice to arrive at crescendo titles of any beauty. One thing is certain, getting old can lead to producing very beautiful things, run, run, poor fools and go get it if it is not yet done.
 The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.08 | 75 ratings

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The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by jonybord

5 stars Tenth studio album for these German veterans after more than 3 decades of existence. And all original members remain. How incredible is that! Part one of The Ghost Xperiment was an ok album. But the Ghost Xperiment - Illumination is an absolute cracker. If both albums are listened together, may be the first part (Awakening) will sound better. I have spun this album 6-7 times till now and I can safely say that this is their best album till date with not a single below par song. Even the bonus track is amazing! Vocalist Andy Kuntz shines as usual with his trademark emotional, soaring and sweeping vocals. Fantastic playing by all the members. I particularly like the keyboard parts combined with infectious rhythm section.
 The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.08 | 75 ratings

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The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron lover

5 stars This will give you an idea of what to expect in the following. First of all, I usually listen to the album when reviewing it. While writing about The Ghost Xperiment : Illumination, I surprised myself saying out loud several times : "OMG, OMG, is this good or what ?" Yes friends, this is a freaking good album. Expectations were high after the stellar Chronicles of the Immortals duo in 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, these expectations were not quite met with Ghost Xperiment : Awakening last year. A disappointment for me to say the least even if the album was quite good actually. But what is good for a band may be fantastic for another. And for Vanden Plas, good is not enough. That brings us to part 2 of this again ambitious concept of two separate albums. Appropriately named, Illumination is the perfect title for this masterpiece because I think that's exactly what happened to Andy Kuntz and his lads : illumination ! Unlike Awakening, which offers a series of good Vanden Plas songs that could have been taken from any VP albums, with Illumination, we are blessed with 8 luminous tracks strongly linked to one an other in a crescendo of pure musical pleasure. With Illumination, we fully feel the evolution and the emotion of the concept. Throughout the album, guitarist Stephan Lill and bassist Torsten Reichert amaze us with extraordinary musicianship. Drummer Andreas Lill proves again that he is more than a skin banger. In the coda of The Lonely Psychogon, keyboardist GŁnter Werno demonstrates the scope of his talent on piano. And what to say about Andy Kuntz who sings as always like a prog metal angel. With this album, Vanden Plas stands, unrivaled, at the pinnacle of its craft. Have I said enough ? You've got to give The Ghost Xperiment : Illumination a try. You will thank me for that.
 The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.42 | 56 ratings

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The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars 25 years from the 1994 debut 'Colour Temple' and the same five guys are back with their ninth studio album, which is the first of a two-part concept project, with the second album to be released later in 2020. Apparently, it is based on a documented paranormal experiment, with the main character in the story, Gideon Grace, having to fight constantly for his life against the relentless shadows of the 'House of Rain' as he wanders through France. He expands his knowledge and discovers there are ways he can fight against the creatures of darkness. However, when it comes to the first showdown, rather than finding peace, it does not go well.

I first came across Vanden Plas back in the Nineties, and have heard a few albums since then, and this follows the same melodic rock stylings. They are very similar in many ways to Savatage and Angra, yet without the cut through which has made those bands so important within the genre. They rarely hit all the peaks and height, and for me it always seems as if something is missing although I many not always be able to put it into words (which is poor for a reviewer, I know). They first formed the band when they were working in music in theatre productions, and they are all solid musicians with a great singer in Andy Kuntz. But I find my attention wandering while I am playing this and as soon as it is over, I have totally forgotten what it was like. The guitars are tight on each other, but instead of being a benefit it is a constraint. There are certain passages, such as during "Fall From The Skies", where everything works and is incredibly impressive, but this few and far between. Over the years they have built a large number of fans, but this is another solid middle of the road album from Vanden Plas without ever having the sparks to make it truly inspirational and essential.

 Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld II by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 120 ratings

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Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld II
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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