Vanden Plas - The Seraphic Clockwork review
|Album:||The Seraphic Clockwork|
|Release date:||June 2010|
02. Holes In The Sky
03. Scar Of An Angel
04. Sound Of Blood
05. The Final Murder
07. Rush Of Silence
08. On My Way To Jerusalem
09. Eleyson [bonus]
+ Numquid Dari Pars II & III [video]
Progressive Power Metal has seen many bands reach fame in the last decade or so. Unfortunately Germany's Vanden Plas somehow seems to still be flying under the radar when it comes to recognition. Already their sixth studio effort, the concept album The Seraphic Clockwork continues the tradition of fantastic progressive songs filled with operatic structures and crushing guitar solos.
The musicians from Kaiserslautern have now been playing together for over 20 years and the chemistry can be heard all the way throughout the album. The basic key elements of Vanden Plas distinctive sound are alive and well. Stephan Lill's mind-blowing guitar sound coupled with Günter Werno's eerie keys remains the driving factor of the music. The solid duo of Andreas Lill on drums and Torsten Reichert on bass guitar once again produce the perfect layout for Andy Kuntz operatic vocals.
Once more, the band excels whenever they slow down the pace and layer their sound with unsettling atmospheres. And they seem to revel in perpetuating this blueprint on most tracks here. The last three songs on The Seraphic Clockwork are masterpieces because of this. But worry not, the head banging guitar riffs remain a big part of the winning formula. As is the case on the killer opening song, "Frequency," which is also a perfect example of how far the band has come in terms of song writing.
I sense this review is bound to fail to convey how much darker some of the songs are. I believe the key word is contrast. There is definitely a showdown between light and darkness as the story unfolds, especially on "Sound of Blood." "Quicksilver" is another standout track, from its apparent ballad atmosphere to the ethereal guitar solo closing it gracefully. "Rush of Silence" brings everything grand about this album to fruition. The album conveniently reaches its apex during the last song. Indeed, the 12-minute epic "On My Way to Jerusalem" could be its own little opera.
The digipack version treats us to an insight into how those musicians earn a living writing and playing soundtrack for musicals (Andy Kuntz happens to be a theater performer by trade). The very pure anthem "Eleyson" and the video of the medieval stage play Ludus Danielis really show you how this occupation crafted their sound over the years (minus singing in Latin). Plus you get to see Andy as an achieved theater performer first hand.
Overall The Seraphic Clockwork is a more multifaceted picture of the band than any of their previous albums. For this reason, it will probably confuse listeners hoping for a mildly different take on Christ.0. Vanden Plas turned up the ingenuity button, making this record harder to grasp but utterly darker, beautiful, and ultimately unique.
Written on 11.10.2010 by
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