Vanden Plas have proved again that they are the most imaginative and diverse of German prog metal bands and justly enjoy the highest international acclaim.
A good four years since their critically acclaimed studio recording, “Christ O” hit the charts, Vanden Plas, Germany's finest Prog Metal act are set to release their latest album, “The Seraphic Clockwork”.
Highly anticipated by the fans, what “The Seraphic Clockwork” has turned into a fascinating concept album which not only shows the quintet’s exceptional technical skills, but also highlights their impressive development as composers. Once again, Vanden Plas have succeeded in giving new impetus to their unmistakable style without watering down their very own unique sound. “The Seraphic Clockwork” sounds more multi-layered, progressive and metal-oriented than previous Vanden Plas releases.
A perfect example which substantiates this, is the 13-minute track ‘On My Way To Jerusalem’, a little masterpiece within a homogeneous, self-contained album. The song takes the listener on a haunting, adventurous journey which comes full circle musically towards its end. From soaring piano sounds through hard riffs and versatile arrangements to atmospheric parts, the whole range of expressive forms which the Progressive Metal genre has to offer are present. On the other hand, ‘Heal The World’ with its melodic intro, subsequent heavy riff and catchy chorus, reveals the band’s affinity to theatre music and all its complexity, is classic Vanden Plas.
Speaking of music theatre : in case if you’ve been wondering how Vanden Plas spent the past four years since releasing “Christ O”, you may be in for a surprise. Along with the production of their own musicals, Abydos and Ludus Danielis (both at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern) and “Christ O” (which debuted in Munich in 2008 and will be produced at the Pfalztheater Kaiserlautern in 2010), the group was also involved in the production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Hair” (both at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern), and “Der Herbst des Winterkönigs” (in Amberg). Understandably, these activities left little time for extensive tours, which explains why the band concentrated on major festivals such as Sweden Rock (2006), PP Scandinavia (2008), Bloodstock (2008) and the Roccolo Park Festival in Italy (2008).
The band's fascination with classical history has left its mark on “The Seraphic Clockwork” and particularly in terms of lyrics: the dramatic science fiction story of the concept album was penned by vocalist Andy Kuntz and which chronicles a journey in place and time from 16th century Rome to Jerusalem in the year 33 A.D. The protagonist, after an apocalyptic vision, has come under the spell of an Old Testament prophecy and must travel back through the centuries to face his God-given destiny. “It’s about being unable to escape fate”, explains singer Andy Kuntz, a master at making complex subject matter both fascinating and accessible to contemporary audiences. “Working for the theatre has definitely influenced the story’s depth. When you realize or reproduce your own projects on a stage, you learn a lot about dramaturgy.”
The musical and lyrical complexity of “The Seraphic Clockwork” is certainly inspiring. Vanden Plas have proved again that they are the most imaginative and diverse of German prog metal bands and justly enjoy the highest international acclaim. It can only be a matter of time before this concept album also makes it onto the stage.
Andy Kuntz (vocals)
Stephan Lill (guitar)
Günter Werno (keyboards)
Torsten Reichert (bass) Andreas Lill (drums)