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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Vanden Plas - 2006 Christ O
 
Vanden Plas - 2006 Christ O



ARTIST: Vanden Plas
ALBUM: Christ O
LABEL: Inside Out
SERIAL: IOMCD 239
YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Andy Kurtz - vocals * Stephan Lill - guitars * Torsten Reichert - bass * Gunther Werno - keyboards * Andreas Lill - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Christo * 02 Postcard To God * 03 Wish You Were Here * 04 Silently * 05 Shadow I Am * 06 Fireroses Dance * 07 Alone In The Dark * 08 January Sun * 09 Lost In Silence * 10 Gethsemane

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.vandenplas.de


Background
Yet another concept album, based very loosely on the story of the Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexander Dumas. Dont'cha just love it.. all those historical themes and concepts? It's been four years since the last Vanden Plas album 'Beyond Daylight', and we're a bit late getting a review of this newie online. Better late than never I guess. After nearly sixteen years in operation, Vanden Plas are one of Europe's top progressive metal bands. Technically proficient, sharp and incisive and they have interesting subject matter to sing about. Vocalist Andy Kurtz has been out doing theatre work, and has returned to the band a much more complete singer. Admittedly, much of their past material has passed through my collection, but I guess every band has their moment in the sun, perhaps for Vanden Plas this is theirs?


The Songs
'Christ O' the track sets us on our passage into melodic progressive metal. An operatic start then we're into it, the extremely tight rhythm section providing the back-end muscle for showy keyboards and flashy guitars to shine. 'Postcard To God' remains dark, brooding and powerful - and has been described as one of the heaviest songs the band has written. 'Wish You Were Here' meanwhile couldn't be more different. Lots of orchestral influences (string plucks, layered strings, choral vocal parts), and in some places Stephan Lill demonstrates his wide-ranging versatility. 'Silently' come from the Dream Theater handbook. A myriad of different sounding passages where each of the band-members gets to do his thing. The song undulates between quiet piano laced passages, full-frontal double bass drums, synth solos and even an acoustic guitar part to wind things down. Keyboardist Gunther Werno is the driver behind the angular sounding 'Shadow I Am'. Yes, it's sharp and cutting with a few Derek Sherinian moments in there to spice it up. 'Fireroses Dance' is a majestic piece, the soaring ballad boasting some fireworks on the second half of the song - a great solo here too! Slightly darkened and foreboding is the unfolding drama of 'Somewhere Alone In The Dark'. Again, a song that contains many moods and contrasting passages of music. A couple of lamenting pieces in 'January Sun' and 'Lost In Silence' describe the torment of the protagonist in the Christ O story. Vanden Plas finally give us a bonus track 'Gethsemane', which is sourced from Jesus Christ Superstar, a poignant ballad to finish up.


In Summary
Long time fans will be lapping up 'Christ O' after having been starved for a few years. Musically impressive, though I feel the story is not told as well as some other bands have done previously with their concept albums (i.e. Saracen, Pyramaze, Kamelot etc). For me personally, there are many other prog metal outfits that appeal to me more than Vanden Plas, though with this album, they have caught onto the shirt-tails of the stragglers at the back of the bunch.


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Comments
#1 | swazi on July 14 2015 14:14:41
I have been to the theatre to see this live performance a few years ago and I thought it was very good. Great singing and acting on stage, and the costumes were phantastic.
As a matter I have been spinning their debut 'Colour Temple' quite a few times since yesterday and I really think it is brilliant. I love it!
 
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