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Vanden Plas - 'Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c5/96/aa/Vanden-Plas-Chronicles-Of-The-Immortals-Netherworld-II-13-1449516392.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 07, 2015    
 
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Still in a class all their own, Vanden Plas continue to spellbind with another superb slab of Progressive heaven.

One of but a mere handful of post Dream Theater Progressive Metal bands who could actually be said to have developed and refined a sound all their own, it's hard to believe that Kaiserslautern's favourite sons Vanden Plas have been treading the boards for the best part of thirty years now!

Steeped in all the best traditions of musical theatre (a calling that still occupies quite a lot of their time), their recorded output over the years has been sparing, yet each new release has proven to be nothing short of a precision engineered masterpiece. That "unique" VP sound first came into its own on sophomore outing 'The God Thing' back in 1997 (don't get me wrong, debut 'Colour Temple' was awesome as well, but it had a slightly more Traditional Melodic Metal sound), and ever since they've continued to hone and tweak it to the point of perfection and beyond.

Second and concluding instalment in their 'Chronicles Of The Immortals' tome, 'Netherworld II' sees them once again combine forces with author Wolfgang Hohlbein to conclude their epic musical interpretation of his bestselling literary series. The culmination of a partnership that began several years ago when VP vocalist Andy Kuntz helped turn Hohlbein's books into an instant stage hit ('Bloodnight'), This release picks up the story where last year's first part left off and concludes the heroes epic struggle for peace and enlightenment... I won't delve too deeply into the story itself as that's not really the remit here.

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What is very much the remit however is the VP musical interpretation of the age old good vs evil struggle, a meandering sojourn which delights at every unexpected twist and turn. Incandescent melodies, soaring crescendos and thought provoking troughs, deft keyboard orchestration, spiralling guitars and haunting vocals... everything you'd expect really from the band and then some.

Kuntz has the ability to convey more emotion in one line than most bands can muster in their entire back catalogue, and with a band of finely honed players behind him, the brooding melodrama that unfolds takes on a mantle of near biblical proportions! Precious little point in singling out individual tracks as 'Netherworld II' is meant to be digested whole, but I will say the ebb and flow of the epic 'Blood Of Eden', the ethereal 'Circle Of The Devil' and slow burning opener 'In My Universe' will brighten up those fast approaching cold winter evenings no end!

Still in a class all their own, Vanden Plas continue to spellbind with another superb slab of Progressive heaven!

Dave Cockett

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