Back in 2019, German progressive metal veterans Vanden Plas delivered the first of a two-part conceptual series with The Ghost Xperiment-Awakening, and now they are back in a big way with the sequel for Frontiers Records, The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination. These guys are no strangers to grand conceptual epics, and Andy Kuntz (vocals), Stephan Lill (guitar), G√ľnter Werno (keyboards), Andreas Lill (drums), and Torsten Reichert (bass) as always do not disappoint one bit on this latest release. Continuing on with the story of Gideon Grace, this paranormal tale continues to unfold here, and for anyone into ghost stories, and certainly expertly played progressive metal, you've come to the right place.
Clocking in at just over an hour, The Ghost Xperiment - Illumination is a little bit longer than its predecessor, but it's a fast & exciting ride that doesn't lose its luster one bit through the whole experience. "When the World is Falling Down" contains a wealth of heavy riffing, blazing guitar & synth solo trade-offs, and of course Kuntz's sensational vocals. "Under the Horizon" is another heavy hitter, packing plenty of heavy metal intensity on the riff front while also dazzling with prog majesty & complexity. "Black Waltz Death" is more of a lush piece, gorgeous piano and synths supporting a stellar Kuntz vocal, with some guest backing vocals adding a richness to the arrangement that makes it one of the must hear pieces on the album. Toss in a blazing guitar solo from Lill and you have an absolute symphonic metal gem. The dramatic "The Lonely Psychogon" bubbles and boils, chock full of tasty synths courtesy of the talented Werno, while "Fatal Arcadia" is one of the albums more complex pieces, a real treat for prog-metal fans who can't get enough intricate riffs, gymnastic drumming, and blazing keyboard lines. "The Ouroboros" is the big epic on the album at just over 13-minutes long, and it's another majestic, symphonic slice of progressive metal, Kuntz again soaring to the heavens over some spectacular arrangements and solo spots. The tranquil "Ghost Engineers" closes things out in gorgeous fashion, allowing for the band and the listener to exhale and take the whole experience in.
Musically and lyrically, this is pretty fantastic stuff, Vanden Plas once again showing why they are one of the premiere prog-metal bands on the planet, and quite frankly, have been for a long time. Don't miss this one!
01.When The World Is Falling Down 7:06
02.Under The Horizon 6:46
03.Black Waltz Death 8:11
04.The Lonely Psychogon 8:22
05.Fatal Arcadia 8:22
06.The Ouroboros 13:02
07.Ghost Engineers 4:49
08.Krieg Kennt Keine Sieger (bonus track) 4:27