VANDEN PLAS-The Ghost Experiment-Illumination
Frontiers Music srl
Vanden Plas has been my favourite German prog metal band for years and right from their debut album ‘Colour Temple’ (1994) till ‘Christ O’, I reviewed and bought them all! However, since 2010 I have lost sight of Vanden Plas – I really do not know why – and now I have again the honour to review their latest album called ‘The Ghost Experiment – Illumination’. A year ago, Vanden Plas released part one of their two-part concept The Ghost Experiment. Sad but true, I have not heard the first part ‘The Awakening’, but I can say that part two really shows the true and marvellous Vanden Plas as I know them from their first albums, like for example ‘Far Off Grace’ and ‘Christ O’.
The new album contains “only” seven songs, but especially the first three tracks really show (prove??) Vanden Plas’s musical creativity, diversity, and craftsmanship. Opener ,,When The World Is Falling Down” is a prog metal hammer opus in the true and finest sense of the word. Filled with amazing musical influences and references from other notorious prog metal bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning or Symphony X, this one could turn into a live staple for the German band for sure! Follow up ,,Under The Horizon” is Vanden Plas’s prog metal anthem for years to come as it features musical variety par excellence played in top notch form. Snow White Blood vocalist Ulli Perhonen does a great job, together with lead singer Andy of course, in ,,Black Waltz Death”, which is again a more than average prog metal song. Unfortunately, after those three awesome songs, the musical level (read: diversity and originality) decreases a bit, as the following four tracks are not able to compete with the high musical standards of the opening songs. ,,The Ouroboros” is a thirteen-minute prog epic which is maybe a bit too long as the musical patterns in that song are not that original and diverse. The song ,,Ghost Engineers” again features guest singer Perhonen, but he also cannot reach the same musical level as before. However, ‘Illumination’ is still a great prog metal album where Kuntz (vocals), Stephan Lill (guitar), Werno (keys), Andreas Lill (drums) and Reichert (bass guitar) still prove that they surely belong to the best prog metal bands in Europe. The album also features a bonus track, being ,,Krieg kent keine Sieger”, a duet between Kuntz and Alea from the German medieval rock band Saltatio Mortis, check it out and form your own opinion about that one….. I truly like this album and I can therefore recommend it to all lovers of pure prog metal; listening tip: ,,Under The Horizon”!!!