Vanden Plas - Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld (Path 1)
21 February 2014

01. Vision 1ne
02. Vision 2wo - The Black Knight
03. Vision 3hree - Godmaker
04. Vision 4our - Misery Affection Prelude
05. Vision 5ive - A Ghosts Requiem
06. Vision 6ix - New Vampyre
07. Vision 7ven - The King And The Children Of Lost World
08. Vision 8ight - Misery Affection
09. Vision 9ine - Soul Alliance
10. Vision 10n - Inside

The masters of heavy rock operas are back. Vanden Plas, from the city of Kaiserslautern, Germany, have been steadily grabbing dully deserved attention of late with their unique theatrical approach to music applied to progressive power metal. It has been 4 years already since they released the addictive concept album The Seraphic Clockwork. They took things even a notch farther in terms of theater performance by teaming up with fantasy writer Wolfgang Hohlbein to interpret his Netherworld novels on stage in the form of a rock opera for a few selected shows in Germany. With the bombastic title of Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld (Path I), this is the studio recording of the first half of those songs.

In case you aren't yet acquainted with Vanden Plas, they are Andy Kuntz on vocals, Stephan Lill on guitars, his brother Andreas Lill on drums, Torsten Reichert on bass, and Günter Werno on keyboards. That's right, the lineup hasn't changed since the band's inception in 1990, and their chemistry has always been one of their strengths.

So what besides the breathtaking artwork are you to expect? Even though the album is divided into 10 tracks, it is and feels like one 55 minute theater composition. Grand piano opening as well as recurring themes and melodies cement the feeling. However do not let the "theater" sticker worry you the music is as heavy as their previous albums. The killer riffs remain very present as usual, courtesy of Stephan Lill and his trademark striking guitar sound. Andy Kuntz' skillful vocal interpretation is rendered even more remarkable when coupled with outstanding female vocals or a choir on some memorable tracks such as "Misery's Affection" and "A Ghosts Requiem".

The album provides ample room for the keyboard work from Günter Werno to shine as it never did before. I feel like Andreas Lill has grown even more behind the drum kit, or at least, he has been allowed to contribute a lot more than usual to the songs. And all this is happening while omnipresent and dynamic bass lines from Torsten Reichert make "Chronicles of the Immortals" a progressive masterpiece.

So that leaves little to discuss further, Vanden Plas have just managed to outdo the awesomeness of their previous efforts with this album, which was no easy task. If you like progressive music of any kind and/or heavy metal, this will probably exceed your expectations. Stay tune for the next chapter Netherworld Path II, which is scheduled for a 2015 release date. In the meantime, enjoy this enthralling album without moderation.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10

Band profile: Vanden Plas
Album: Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld (Path 1)


Written on 09.03.2014 by
Demonic Tutor
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ManiacBlasphemer - 09.03.2014 at 02:00  
I did not know about this band until I saw the artwork for this album, it somehow implored me to have a listen and damn well I did. Brilliant album. A worthy review for such an album. Seriously, this band has some pretty good shit up its sleeve.
Wes - 09.03.2014 at 11:49  
Great review, and I agree with the rating, though I find The Seraphic Clockwork to be their best work -- Quicksilver, Rush of Silence, and The Final Murder..

I can't agree in any way just yet, that this beats Clockwork, but I do adore it and the second part will probably boost it into an all time favorite album of mine.

Love this band and this album is really unique, just great. I can't express just how thankful I am for this music, and more from the band time and time again...
BloodTears - 09.03.2014 at 12:02  
This album is really good, but that is to be expected from Vanden Plas. It's a good indication for what will hopefully be a good year for prog again.
fandango68 - 09.03.2014 at 17:18  
The very definition of restraint... they are a fave band of mine and I haven't purchased it yet!

I still think Christ.0 is their finest effort; hairs standing on the back of the neck stuff!

I wonder how this release compares stylistically to their fabulous 'Abydos' side project from 2004?
Vintage Metaller - 09.03.2014 at 20:54  
The masters of consistency are back. An excellent follow up to Seraphic Clockwork. On my 3rd listen here and I still cant say whether this beats their previous effort or not. Like the reviewer mentioned, don't let the theatrics fools you. This a progressive metal album in true Vanden Plas style... a good combination of melody and sufficient aggression ,with the theatrical cherry on top. Go ahead , pick this album up, strap on some good headphones ,close your eyes and let the music fill you in. Enjoy!
Dark Blood - 09.03.2014 at 21:22  
I agree with the review. It's an excellent album once again from Vanden Plas. Christ 0 is still my favourite but this is quite close to the top.
Dreamwar_86 - 16.03.2014 at 05:40  
Masterpiece, one of the best albums i heard in a while

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