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Vanden Plas: The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things

Although there’s no doubt that others would dispute the claim, German progressive metal outfit Vanden Plas might just be the genre’s most consistent outfit. Yes, it took them an album or two to truly find their feet - and their identity - but from 1997’s The God Thing until this very day, this is an act who simply don’t deal in anything less than excellence. The rather lengthily titled (yes, aren’t all VP albums these days?) The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things continues that rich vein of form. Admittedly, if you’re looking for surprises, then this probably isn’t the place for you, the line up of Andy Kuntz on vocals, Stephan Lill on guitars, Andreas Lill on drums and Torsten Reichert on bass now joined by Frontiers mainstay Alessandro Del Vecchio on keys, but in reality his introduction is seamless, even if the departure of his predecessor Gunter Werno is actually this band’s first reshuffle of any sort. Big, overblown, pompous themes, stunning guitar solos, some of the best vocals in the business and more twists and turns than an entire city of back alleys could provide, this is the Vanden Plas we know and love.

Four of this album’s six songs run to over eight minutes and only one of those other two falls below six and even then by only three seconds, so if you’re looking for the occasional epic then step right in as the gloriously overblown title track fires off in all directions, while staying remarkably focused. By the time that the riff of “My Icarian Flight” heads for the sun, singer Andy Kuntz has grabbed proceedings by the throat and taken control, his powerful, but never overplayed voice long the perfect foil for the staccato guitars, bulging bass and atmospheric keys his bandmates provide, the blend still proving as seductive as the day you first heard it.

The two lengthiest pieces on the album, “Sanctimonarium” and “March Of The Saints” are given the room and space to truly highlight this band’s strengths - catchy, hook laden and yet at times plaintive and fragile, these tracks both also have the ability to up the intensity and hit you hard. With Stephan Lill burning on the frets, yet still tasteful in his observations of what’s going on around him, it really is impressive how the introduction of Del Vecchio - someone I haven’t always been the most enthused by if truth be told - really hasn’t knocked the band out of their stride one inch.

As the world evolves at such pace, it’s always heartening to know that there are certain things that you can still rely on. Vanden Plas turning in albums that confirm their status at the very head of the progressive pack is, yet again, one of them.

Track Listing
1. The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things

2. My Icarian Flight

3. Sanctimonarium

4. The Sacrilegious Mind Machine

5. They Call Me God

6. March Of The Saints

Added: April 25th 2024
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Vanden Plas @ Frontiers Records
Hits: 702
Language: english

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