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Vanden Plas - 'Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3d/cb/29/VANDEN-PLAS-CHRONICLES-67-1394550822.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     March 11, 2014    
 
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Vandel Plas show us just why they are still regarded as one of the best Progressive Metal acts ever.

German Progressive Metal giants Vanden Plas return with an album based on the books of one of Germany’s best Science-Fiction/Fantasy authors Wolfgang Hohlbein, who it seems also happens to be a massive VP fan and suggested that they collaborate on a stage musical based on his Vampire series of books ‘The Chronicles Of The Immortals’. Intrigued by the prospect, the band worked with Hohlbein and a libretto for ‘Bloodnight’ (Blutnacht - the main Vampire character in the musical) which was written by the band’s vocalist Andy Kuntz and Hohlbein with Kuntz, guitarist Stephan Lill and keyboardist Günter Werno composing nineteen musical tracks for the stage show. The show premiered in 2012/13 with twenty-five sold out performances and Hohlbein was so impressed with the stage show that he wrote another book based on the story of ‘Bloodnight’ which has in turn inspired the band to write an album based upon it and the other ‘Chronicles’. This is the first of a three part cycle of albums that will tell the Hohlbein stories and is without a doubt some of the best work VP have put down in the studio.

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Being such a complex story spread over three albums, VP have really set themselves a hard task to turn the books into a Progressive Musical tour de-force, but a band of such great musicians, who revel in the theatrical, shouldn’t have any problems - and they don’t. From the opening intro of ‘Vision 1ne’ to ‘Vision 10n Inside’, Kuntz, Andreas and Stephan Lill, Gunter Werno and Torsten Reichert show us just why they are still regarded as one of the best Progressive Metal acts ever. The intricate musical soundscapes they have made to encompass this engrossing story, weave their magic over you for more than an hour and you are fortunate to hear some of the most powerful, intriguing, emotional and breathtaking Prog Metal released this or any other year. If someone wants to ask “do I have a favourite song?” ... the simple answer is no because this really must be heard in its entirety and not taken as single songs. They of course work on their own, and splendidly well at that, but it does ‘Chronicles…’ and Vanden Plas little justice if you do so. The music/album/musical honestly needs to be heard and experienced as a whole because then, and only then, will you begin to discover just what makes this band and its music so very good.

My top ten for 2014 is looking very crowded already and it is only January. Simply put, you have to own this album.

Ian Johnson

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