Vanden Plas - Chronicles Of The Immortals-Netherworld
Frontiers Records
Progressive Metal
10 songs (57:00)
Release year: 2014
Vanden Plas, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Joel
Album of the month

I am sure most of you, who are reading this, don't need an introduction to the German band Vanden Plas. With the easily recognizable Andy Kuntz on vocals, and the brand of Progressive Metal, they produce. I personally have enjoyed both Christ O and Seraphic Clockwork, their last two releases. Both conceptual albums that follow a story from beginning to end. Chronicles of the Immortals-Netherworld, follows suite, only making the story even more over the top, bombastic, as well as more symphonic. The idea of Chronicles of the Immortals, comes from the book of the same title written by German author Wolfgang Holbein, one of Germany's best selling authors. The band teamed up Holbein and his manager to create Bloodnight or "Blutnacht", a musical/rock opera based upon his book that featured Kuntz in the lead role, and the instrumentalist in the orchestra pit. Netherworld, is part 1, while part 2 is scheduled to be released early next year. Each song, is a known as a Vision, there are ten of them, I will use the song's title to separate each one, for easier reading of this review.

Vision 1ne(One), starts with a symphonic intro and spoken dialogue, like a narrator welcoming you to their story. The music is quite captivating, like a soundtrack to an epic fantasy. a little over 2 minutes into the track, a minor key piano melody is played with Kuntz's signature vocals singing over it. Some may find this to be strange, but remember this is NOT your ordinary metal cd. The Black Night is next, and at nearly eight and a half minutes its the longest track on the disc. This song has a slow build up before it reaches its first verse. When the first verse starts, memories of Frequency of their last disc Seraphic Clockwork come to mind. With its stop and go guitar riffs. The chorus is more melodic, and has a little slower tempo. This song is all over the place(in a good way) as far as the tempo and melodies go. Godmaker is next, and it starts immediately after the last track ends, without a pause in between them(something you will notice throughout the whole disc). Piano and Kuntz's voice open the song up. Guitars join in right before the first minute ends. The song moves more into a straight ahead metal song from thereafter. Misery Affection Prelude is a short piano piece, with Kuntz joined by a female singer(Who I can't seem to find her name anywhere) and this carries on to the beautifully dark A Ghosts Requiem.

New Vampyre is next, and this is definitely a very progressive metal sounding songs, unlike the previous two songs, which were more subdued. The song features a very melodic sung verse and chorus, with a lot of great guitar and keyboard interplay. The song also uses dynamics to perfection, like the guitar solo heard two and a half minutes in. I really like the longer instrumental part of this song. The rather long titled, The King and The Children of Lost World, is next. With a strong synth lead in the intro, followed by a very technical guitar riff and drumming. The melodic sung verses and choruses I mentioned earlier, are also featured as well during this song. Misery Affection(we heard the Prelude prior to this) is next, and is another dark but beautiful piano ballad. Kuntz emotional and impeccable vocals shine through. Not since the first verse of Christ 0's, Fireroses Dance has he sung so softly and vulnerable. The female vocalist who I mentioned earlier, can be heard in this song, and she has a beautiful voice as well. The rest of the band joins in at the climax of the song at just over three and a half minutes into the song. It brings the song to a crescendo, that leads us right into progressive juggernaut that is Soul Alliance. With its synth lead in the intro, and the bass and drums heard through the first verse, this one is less subdued then the songs before it. This is probably my favorite song on the disc, and its the one I would have someone listen to, if they had never heard of Vaden Plas. The final track is Inside. The song lures you in with its brief piano intro, and well I won't ruin the ending, but its definitely a track you won't forget, and I'll give you a hint, it is not an instrumental that closes out the disc. This song is as good as the ones that come before it.

Some may not call this Progressive Metal, some may call it subdued, or other parts boring, or cheesy. My own personal feeling, is that the subdued parts add balance to one of the best releases we will probably hear from the Progressive Metal genre this year. While other Progressive Metal bands, want to show you how many notes they can play, how many different riffs,time signatures, and melodies can be jammed into five to six minutes, this is a refreshing break from all of that. This is about emotion,dynamics,and entrapping the listener and not letting go till the very end. I highly recommend listening to this with a nice pair of headphones, and a place where you can concentrate on the music and the story. Like the best epic fantasy movie you can watch, listen to this one from start to finish, and you will be wanting Part 2 sooner than its spring 2015 release. The disc should be out the day before this review appears here on Metal Reviews.

Killing Songs :
ALL but Soul Alliance is my favorite!!
Joel quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Vanden Plas that we have reviewed:
Vanden Plas - The Seraphic Clockwork reviewed by Erik and quoted 94 / 100
Vanden Plas - Christ.0 reviewed by Ian and quoted 92 / 100
Vanden Plas - Spirit Of Live reviewed by Chris and quoted no quotes
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