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Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld
Released: 2014, Frontiers Records
After releasing the stunning THE SERAPHIC CLOCKWORK in 2010, prog-metal masters Vanden Plas disappeared from the metal scene. The band kept busy though, working on one of their many theatre-based projects alongside German author Wolfgang Hohlbein. The results? A 25-date rock opera production called “Bloodnight”, based on an original story by Hohlbein and the band, starring vocalist Andy Kuntz and including the rest of the band in the orchestra. Pretty ambitious, yeah? Well, the collective decided to take it two steps further and release the story as a two-part album series with original songs. CHRONICLES OF THE IMMORTALS – NETHERWORLD is part one of the series.
Lest you be concerned that Vanden Plas has lost the metal edge amongst all this story telling and rock opera, fear not. The band’s prog-metal is fully intact throughout the album, and let me tell you, it is SPECTACULAR! The band is absolutely on fire throughout the album, taking their music through amazing twists and t urns that you would expect from a top flight prog-metal band. So much so that I can’t come up with enough superlatives to adequately cover it. There’s no band that is better than Vanden Plas at telling stories with their music, using pure song writing talent to take listeners on a journey of peaks and valleys over the course of a record. This album does that, oftentimes within a single song. From the opening intro of “Vision 1ne”, straight through the melancholy closing of “Vision 10n – Inside”, there’s no single misstep I can find. OK, perhaps the “Misery Affection Prelude” is unnecessary, but that’s a minute and half of an hour long album.
I never imagined Vanden Plas would ever top THE SERAPHIC CLOCKWORK, but they have done so with seeming ease here. I can’t even remember the last time I handed out a perfect score, but I feel fully justified in doing so here. Unless the band does the impossible again with part two of this duology, I wager you will not hear a better progressive metal album this year.
1. Vision 1ne
2. Vision 2wo – The Black Knight
3. Vision 3hree - Godmaker
4. Vision 4our – Misery Affection Prelude
5. Vision 5ive – A Ghost’s Requiem
6. Vision 6ix – New Vampyre
7. Vision 7even – The King and the Children of Lost World
8. Vision 8ight – Misery Affection
9. Vision 9ine – Soul Alliance
10. Vision 10n - Inside
Andy Kuntz: Vocals
Stephan Lill: Guitar
Gunter Werno: Keyboards
Torsten Reichert: Bass
Andreas Lill: Drums
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