Abydos - Abydos: The Little Boy's Heavy Metal Shadow Opera About The Inhabitants Of His Diary

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 180
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:18:00

Having played one of the leading roles in world famous musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Evita and Nostradamus, Vanden Plas lead singer Andy Kuntz has always been very close to the theatre. Having left an important mark on the German metal scene for the last twenty years or so, Kuntz started composing his very first solo album as kind of an antidote to what happened to him in 2003. In less than three months, Andy lost four people he loved including his father. It's as if Abydos has become the reincarnation of those missed ones brought to life in a musical way. Accompanied by Vanden Plas drummer Andreas Lill, the music on this solo effort tends to underline the melodic structures more than the metal approach. Both Stefan Glass and Michael Krauss extra emphasize the seventies approach regarding strong melodies, as one can already hear during the powerful "You Broke The Sun," incorporating a nice choir.

In order to outline certain tensions within the storyline, electric and acoustic passages alternate constantly with fierce guitar parts, leaning heavily towards Vanden Plas' past. It has to be said though that several times I was waiting for the powerful inclusion of a huge orchestra to enhance the music even further. Sadly the orchestra isn't there, but makes its sampled appearance during "Far Away From Heaven," delivering the kind of bombastic nature I was hoping to hear all along. With Vanden Plas once opening for Dream Theater some years ago, needless to say elements from this icon of prog metal can be found spread all over this album. Add to this the daring adventure to flirt with acoustic elements and also a name like Pain of Salvation pops up. Take "Hyperion Sunset" as a prime example of incorporating studio wizardry into a driving whole. Andy's vocal approach during "God's Driftwood" makes me think of Patrick Muermans from Ken's Novel, here whilst the main guitar riff is very Zeppelin like (think "Kashmir")!

With the title track, Kuntz delivers the most symphonic, the most orchestral track of them all, using the powerful violins to extra underline his majestic vocals. To my ears it sounds like Alan Parsons Project meets Rhapsody if you know what I mean. The album closes with the mini epic "A Boy Named Fly," which in my opinion is the strongest track on the album. I personally see it as a miniature opera condensed into a twelve-minute song. Opening with authentic classical piano and a soft classical arrangement, Andy's vocals are very emotional and catchy. Here some of the guitar interventions get closer to AOR than prog metal, turning certain parts into an accessible whole. Especially the intimate acoustic guitar and piano introduces quite a different atmosphere, followed by bombastic female vocals. The very end is a little bit bizarre though, as only voice and classical piano remain, leaving behind the power in exchange for near silence. In fact, what you hear on this album is only the nucleus of what will soon become a real stage play for which a lot of theatres have already showed a big interest. Maybe the entire atmosphere of Abydos will be much clearer once visuals are added to the whole, as I'm sure a lot of emotion is contained within this album.

Abydos contains some strong moments, but is not the perfect Andy Kuntz solo album yet. It has loads of great moments, but there are also some dull moments that should have been left out of the concept. But then again if you have to see Abydos as the soundtrack to a play, then of course this has to include some less interesting passages in order to restore the general balance. It's a worthwhile effort but not the perfect release yet.

The Inhabitants Of His Diary (1:12) / You Broke The Sun (5:39) / Silence (6:55) / Far Away From Heaven (5:32) / Coppermoon (The Other Side) (5:09) / Hyperion Sunset (4:46) / God's Driftwood (6:10) / Radio Earth (5:38) / Abydos (7:25) / Green's Guidance For A Strategy Adventure Game (1:17) / Wildflowersky (8:28) / A Boy Named Fly (12:03)

Andy Kuntz - vocals
Stefan Glass - guitar, keyboards
Michael Krauss - guitar, keyboards
Andreas Lill - drums

Abydos: The Little Boy's Heavy Metal Shadow Opera About The Inhabitants Of His Diary (2004)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: August 22nd 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.vandenplas.de
Hits: 1548
Language: english


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