They did it again! Vanden Plas, the best German progressive metal band as far as Iím concerned, released a great new album with The Seraphic Clockwork. Itís a bit more metal with some more layers of keyboards than on their previous album, but I loved it from the very first notes! My first acquaintance with Vanden Plas dates back from 1997 when I bought the album The God Thing. I was completely stunned by the majestic and melodic vocals of Andy Kuntz, the heavy guitars with a touch of John Petrucci (Dream Theater) and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) of Stephan Lill, while drumming brother Andreas creates an adventurous, but steady background accompanied by the heavy bass of Torsten Reichert. These instruments are kept together by the great atmospheric and soaring keyboards of GŁnther Werno. Vanden Plas has been a steady band ever since and this says enough about the friendships between the band members.
In the four years between the Christ O-album and this new release, the band participated in some famous musicals like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. They also did their own musical version of the concept album Christ O. Their latest album also contains a story that covers the whole album. This story starts in 16th century-Rome, goes back in time to 33 BC and deals with a person who gets under the spell of an Old Testament prophecy. He has to go back in time to face his God-given destiny. Thatís about the only information I can give due to the download from the Frontiers-site. I wish I had the booklet, so I could have read the full story and give more details of the concept of this majestic album.
The combination of the piano intro, followed by some heavy guitar, like in Scar Of An Angel, is a real pleasure to listen to and so is Sound Of Blood with a soaring guitar with fine keyboards on top of it in. Special attention is required for the beautiful, almost 13-minute On My Way To Jerusalem epic which is almost a story within a story. Andy shows his full vocal range here; he has a perfect voice for this kind of progressive metal. The use of double bass drums and the wonderful interplay of guitar and keyboards make this epic the best track of the album!
The past four years, while working on the aforementioned musicals, added an extra dimension to the complexity of the Vanden Plas-compositions. Moreover, the songs are more powerful and theatrical. I think lovers of progressive metal will find The Seraphic Clockwork continually in their CD-player.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
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