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Vanden Plas - Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld Award winner

Vanden Plas
Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld
by Andrew Sifari at 04 March 2014, 11:06 PM

Without having listened to any of their previous works, I really did not know what to expect from German Progressive Metal outfit VANDEN PLAS on this, their seventh studio album and ninth release overall. This worked out for the better, however, as without any pre-existing prejudices guiding my listening, “Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld” proved to be an entertaining listen, fresh and thoughtful from beginning to end.

As one might guess by looking at the track listing, “Chronicles of the Immortals” is a concept album. One thing that stands out is how well the songs flow within the context of the album. It is almost like listening to one whole, 57-minute, continuous piece of music, but more like a symphony than a song that was written simply to be super-lengthy, or merely a collection of songs put together. This big-picture approach serves the band well. “Chronicles” is a predominantly dark album, but one whose message still conveys a sense of (slight) hope despite the heaviness of the subject matter.

As a whole, the album is recognizably Metal, though describing it simply as a “Metal” album does not do it enough justice, as there are almost as many quieter, piano/keyboard-driven sections as there are foot-stomping, head-banging ones. Opening track “Vision 1ne” is a good example of this, starting with a spoken-word intro accompanied by piano / keyboards before the rest of the band joins in, setting the tone very nicely for the next track as well as the whole album in general. The lyrics, primarily sung by lead vocalist Andy Kuntz, are thoughtful, with a passionate, but not overly dramatic, delivery. Stephan Lill’s playing throughout the album is both heavy and expressive, serving the best interests of each song compositionally while sacrificing little in terms of flashiness. This is evidenced on such tracks as “The Black Knight”, “Inside”, and “Soul Alliance”, where Lill’s contributions are impressive, but not dominating, allowing the rest of the band to shine.

The rhythm section of Torsten Reichert and Andreas Lill is solid throughout, giving the rest of the band a steady base with which to build off musically. “Godmaker”, with its pounding double bass drums, is a good example of this, with Andreas’s drumming perfectly complementing guitarist Stephen’s crunchy riffs and emotive leads. This track is one of the album’s finest, a great representation of everything it is about while contributing well to the overall picture the band paints with their music.

All in all, “Chronicals of the Immortals – Netherworld” is an impressive effort. The songs are memorable, and the band’s musicianship is stellar, with the album’s running time not at all detracting from the overall experience. Prog Metal at its finest, this is definitely a release worth a listen (or five).

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Vision 1ne
2. Vision 2wo - The Black Knight
3. Vision 3hree - Godmaker
4. Vision 4our - Misery Affection Prelude
5. Vision 5ive - A Ghosts Requiem
6. Vision 6ix - New Vampyre
7. Vision 7ven – The King and the Children of Lost World
8. Vision 8ight – Misery Affection
9. Vision 9ine – Soul Alliance
10. Vision 10n – Inside
Lineup:
Stephan Lill – Guitars
Torsten Reichert - Bass
Andy Kuntz - Vocals
Andreas Lill – Drums
Gunter Werno – Keyboards
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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