Vanden Plas - The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination review


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Band: Vanden Plas
Album: The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination
Release date: December 2020

01. When The World Is Falling Down
02. Under The Horizon
03. Black Waltz Death
04. The Lonely Psychogon
05. Fatal Arcadia
06. The Ouroboros
07. Ghost Engineers
08. Krieg Kennt Keine Sieger [feat: Alea der Bescheidene]

Let the illumination begin.

Vanden Plas from Kaiserslautern,‭ ‬Germany is one of those rare prog power bands that has been going strong and steady since‭ ‬1990.‭ ‬Without never reaching the level of fame one might expect,‭ ‬they have created their own style year after year with a string of quality releases.‭ ‬And let it be known that fame never seemed to matter much to these guys.‭ ‬They are focused on one thing only,‭ ‬and that is their music.‭ ‬The Ghost Xperiment‭ ‬-‭ ‬Illumination is the ambitious title for their‭ ‬10th offering.

Their trademark has always been consistency and this album is no different.‭ ‬This should not come as a surprise since the band is still the exact same group of friends who decided to combine their efforts‭ ‬30‭ ‬years ago:‭ ‬Andreas‭ "‬Andy"‬ Kuntz‭ [‬vocals‭]‬,‭ ‬Günter Werno‭ [‬keyboards‭]‬,‭ ‬Torsten Reichert‭ [‬bass‭]‬,‭ ‬and brothers Stephan Lill‭ [‬guitars‭] ‬and Andreas Lill‭ [‬drums‭]‬.‭ ‬So this collaboration once more resulted into heartfelt vocals,‭ ‬prominent melodic keyboards,‭ ‬driving bass lines,‭ ‬superb guitar work and bombastic drumming.‭ ‬The sharp guitar riffs and inspired solos of Stephan Lill are a signature of Vanden Plas.‭ ‬Werno impresses with the right amount of balance between melodies and progressive nuggets.‭ ‬Reichert crushes it with thick bass lines.‭ ‬Andreas Lill pounds away with masterful dexterity and assured technicality.‭ ‬Kuntz voice may be an acquired taste but his delivery is as emotional as ever.‭ ‬Vanden Plas is really the perfect harmonized blend of their skills.

For people already accustomed to Vanden Plas,‭ ‬this album is not as straightforward as say‭ The Seraphic Clockwork‭‬.‭ ‬There are shades of‭ ‬Christ.0‭‬ both in the dark atmosphere and in the hooks and structures.‭ ‬That much is obvious on the single and opening track‭ "When the World is Falling Down"‬ and it continues on‭ "‬Under the Horizon‭"‬.‭ ‬It is hard not to‭ ‬itemize each song because they all have something worth mentioning.‭ ‬At this point,‭ ‬in the interest of not spoiling your musical discovery,‭ ‬I will just say that‭ "Black Waltz Death"‬,‭ "‬Fatal Arcadia"‬,‭ ‬and‭ "‬The Ouroboros‭" are three of the strongest compositions they have ever recorded.‭ ‬As a bonus track,‭ ‬there is a neat cover from a medieval folk band called Saltatio Mortis.

The Ghost Xperiment‭ ‬-‭ ‬Illumination overall is more varied than its predecessor.‭ ‬For that reason,‭ ‬and for the usual complexity of the compositions,‭ ‬the album might be harder to appreciate for most listeners.‭ ‬It is hard to describe with a few words,‭ ‬but if you are already familiar with Vanden Plas work however,‭ ‬this album has it all.‭ ‬If you have never heard of them,‭ ‬well,‭ ‬there is no time like the present to remedy that.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Written on 20.12.2020 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 93 users
20.12.2020 - 20:12
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
To me this and Ivanhoe are best prog metal bands where prog is the prefix and metal drives real engine, its metal not some prog band what things to play metal.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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