Vanden Plas - The God Thing


Year of Release: 1997
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 016/SPV 085-28572 C
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:42:00

Well, I have to say that this disc has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year ... and how many times has a much anticipated released disappointed? I am not only happy to say, but proud as well, that Vanden Plas has delivered the goods, in an unexpected and a better-than-ever fashion. From the opening moments of this disc, it is quite obvious this band has taken a new direction, but not at the expense of the listener ... while other bands are experimenting, changing, putting out average sophomoric releases, Vanden Plas decided to take the hard route, and release a killer disc ... Colour Temple was their previous release, covering the melodic metal spectrum quite adequately, and every now and then injecting the music with some progressive moments here and there, showing us that they were capable of this style, but opting to maintain a melodic metal sound throughout the disc, with some neat mixes of guitar and keyboard ... some complaints that I have heard about Colour Temple: too light, too cheesy, too laid back, not enough progression ... on The God Thing, it is obvious that Vanden Plas heard some of these complaints, and decided to act on them ... Not only did the band head into a much heavier direction, but they also opted for a more crunchier guitar sound ... to add cinders to the fire, they added a whole bunch of progression to their music as well ... In short, this is a more refined, heavier, creative, progressive Vanden Plas ... it is actually hard to think of this band as the same band who played on Colour Temple, because it is rare that bands can produce a very good disc like Colour Temple, and then turn around and release a scorcher like this ... rare, and welcome ... Here is a look at what this disc is all about, and what changes this band has undergone in the short time since the Colour Temple release ......

THE STYLE:

VERY melodic / prog metal ..... I hate to use the proverbial Dream Theater comparison, but in this case, there is no mistaking the DT influence on this outing .... from the crunchier guitar, to the better use of keyboards, to the many tempo changes and off beat melodies, this is a disc that Dream Theater would be proud to make ...... The songs are structured very differently from Colour Temple in that there are few straight ahead melodies on this disc ..... Vanden Plas has reached into their bag of progression, and pulled out all the stops on this one ..... try keeping up with these beats, it is not easy ..... an interesting note; to me, I hear some "bluesy" type melodic metal in Vanden Plas songs, and I can still hear the "bluesy" feel in this disc, but the progressive approach surrounding it makes it quite a unique experience ....... if you took some of the more melodic tunes off of Colour Temple, and beefed them up with some Dream Theater styled song structures, it makes for quite a listen ....... Hands down, this disc is one of the best prog metal releases of the year ....... I read somewhere that this disc lacked "something" .... If this disc were any heavier or crunchier, Tad Morose would start taking note of some of these songs .... everything you could possibly want in a prog metal disc is here ...... even the complimentary Vanden Plas ballad, which also has been given a face lift from previous VP ballads ..... gone are what some consider as the "cheesy" ballads of Colour Temple, and in its place are heavy, crunchy, power ballads ...... simply riveting ........

THE PRODUCTION:

Vanden Plas have always prided themselves on great recordings, and this is no exception ..... from the opening notes of the intro, which are crisp and clean, to the opening piano notes on some of the ballads, the sound is a treat ...... most notably, the guitar sound is much more clearer and heavier than on previous VP songs .... the vocals are a bit more clearer on this disc as well, but I think a lot of that has to do with the uncanny singing ability of Andy Kuntz, who has kicked his performance into high gear as well for this recording .... it is simply amazing how a band could get this much better than they already were .... every aspect of this band has improved, and the recording goes along with that as well ..... there isn't any aspect of this band that hasn't improved...

THE BAND:

As stated, every aspect of this band has improved, and its great to see a band with this talent maintain a status quo and stick to their previous equations of success, and then kick in the thrusters and go full steam ahead into another level of greatness .... Most notably, the guitarist, Stephan Lill shines on this disc .... already a great guitarist in his own right, he wasn't content with his previous style and sound, and decided to crank up the dbs, head into a more progressive style, and add tons of "crunch" to his playing ...... this sound adds a whole new dimension to the band's already epic sound....... whereas on Colour Temple, the guitarist served more as a part of the whole, it is now apparent that he is the main carrier of this new sound, and a great one at that ..... the bass is heavier as well, and in order to keep up with the drums and guitar on this new progressive sound of theirs, it is apparent that the bass player and each of its members had more talent and more energy locked away and on this disc they decided to showcase what they are really about .... the drummer is absolutely superb, carrying all of these new progressive sounds behind the band with ease .... the keyboards are now much more up front, providing more atmosphere than ever ...... from pianos to synthesizers, the keyboards are now a very important part of this huge sound ....... Overall, it amazes me that a band could escalate to the level that they have in so little time ..... it proves that this band is dedicated to bettering themselves into new heights, instead of riding their own original style to more success......

THE VOCALS:

Andy Kuntz ..... all I can say is, forget what you thought Andy sounded like, or what it was about his voice that bothered you.... because with the sudden jump in power and style that the rest of the band embarked on, Andy did not sit still and watch the rest of the band go by.... he opted instead to sing more clearly, more forceful, more emotional..... he has a unique tone to his voice, and I cannot compare it to any other voice or voices that I know of...... He has been linked in sound with the singer from Firehouse, but Andy is much more forceful with his voice, and with this disc, he shows that he is a force to be reckoned with ..... how a singer improves like this along with the rest of a band is not only amazing, but makes one ask how someone goes about improving oneself to this degree of excellence......

THE LYRICS:

Gone from the Colour Temple styled lyrics about broken hearts, dying relationships, and any other form of personal, emotional distress... in place, are lyrics of intelligent, abstract, creative lyrics about the meaning of life ..... the existence, the being ..... nature.... etc , etc ........ This is one of those lyrical sheets you have to cuddle up with on some dark night, and try to figure out what exactly is being referred to in each and every song on the disc ..... it is not an easy job this time out.......

THE COMMENTS:

Hands down, this is one of THE best melodic, progressive discs to come out this year ..... the bottom line is that never have I seen a band take itself to such musical heights so fast as this band has done ...... every single aspect of this band has moved up a notch into another level of excellence ... the style, the sound, the singing, the lyrics, everything ....... This is one of those rare discs in which every single song is a killer..... there is not one single song I would remove from this disc, they all stand out on their own ..... my hats off personally to Stephan Lill, the guitarist, who is now one of the most nderrated guitarists around .... his sound just dominates this disc, and if you want crunch, heaviness and beauty all at once, look no further than this man's playing ...... I also salute Andy Kuntz for taking his level of excellence up one notch as well, and it clear that he and all of the other members of this band take their music very seriously, and are not afraid to come out swinging, when all they had to was spar a little bit and ride their own previous success...... I shall not compare this band to any other .... except maybe to give a song structure comparison to give an idea of where these guys are at.... other than that, with this disc, Vanden Plas have certainly carved their way right into the Progressive Metal world, and a big hole have they carved with this disc..... it doesn't get any better for fans of any style of prog metal, its all here....... This is one serious melodic / prog metal disc, it is essential for every prog metal, or any metal fan for that matter...... this is definitely in my top 5 for 1997 releases ...... excellent showing!!!! Do NOT miss this one ........


Tracklisting:
Fire Blossom (2:55) / Rainmaker (6:39) / Garden Of Stones (7:47) / In You: I Believe (4:29) / Day I Die (6:04) / Crown Of Thorns (6:44) / We're Not God (7:12) / Salt In My Wounds (7:21) / You Fly (7:31)

Bonus track on the French edition: Combien De Larmes (4:29)

Bonus tracks on the French limited FNAC edition: Spanish Rain (7:15) / Days Of Thunder (acoustic version) (4:39) / Raining In My Heart (4:38)

Musicians:
Andy Kuntz - vocals
Torsten Reichert - bass
Stephan Lill - guitars
Andreas Lill - drums
G?nter Werno - keyboards

Discography:
Colour Temple (1994)
Accult (1996)
The God Thing (1997)
Far Off Grace (1999)
Spirit Of Live (2000)
Beyond Daylight (2002)
Colour Temple/AcCult (special edition) (2002)
Christ 0 (2006)
The Seraphic Clockwork (2010)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.vandenplas.de
Hits: 818
Language: english

  

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