Vanden Plas - Beyond Daylight

Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD093
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:25:00

Vanden Plas rule!! That's all you really need to know. Forget dinner tonight (or breakfast, or lunch, or whichever meal is next for you); drive, ride, walk, run, fly ... teleport ... over to your nearest record store and buy this album. No argument now, get going. Skeptical? Pshaw. Fine. Here's the evidence.

Fact: Vanden Plas' Beyond Daylight grabs ahold and doesn't let go, leaving you thrillingly exhausted at the end. Damn if this doesn't hit you in all the right places. You want aggressive, powerful metal? It's here in truckloads! ("Cold Wind," "Free The Fire") Soaring vocals? Uh-huh, got that, too. ("Scarlet Flower Fields," "Can You Hear Me") Sharp guitar/keyboard solos? Yup (well, everything). The God Thing has long been my favourite Vanden Plas album ever since I first heard it. Well this has just knocked that album down a peg. Oh sure, they still have their Dream Theater-inspired sound, but this thrills me more than any single Dream Theater album since Images And Words. Hands down this is on my top picks list for 2002. What do you mean it's only March?

Fact: Vocalist Andy Kuntz is in fine form here, his voice is warm and inviting. You can't help but get caught up. Singing along becomes a cathartic experience, something I haven't felt since the early days of Marillion when Fish would put so much emotion and power into his delivery. Günter Werno's keyboard passages are perfect both in sound and execution. And Stephan Lill's guitar leads and solos? Oh, damn these are terrific, sublime. Andreas Lill's drums and percussion are stellar, that, along with Torsten Reichert's bass, hold everything together without holding anything back. This album has the production and mixing to make everything shimmer and glisten like crystal clear waters in the bright sunlight; credit is given to the entire band. Spectacular job, gentlemen.

The album opens with "Nightwalker," a track that for a moment makes you think the band will break into "Eleanor Rigby," until the drums, guitars, bass, and keys come in full force (though the rhythm is carried through even still). Kuntz' fierce delivery is what grabs you and slams you into your seat, commanding your attention while your mouth hangs agog ... and he's oh so subtle about it, too, looking at you askance, singing in seductive tones (the versuses), then pulls back for the reveal (in-your-face chorus). And he manages all this without resorting to gruff growls or ear-piercing shreeks. There is something dark lurking within this track, this titular nightwalker (Grendel perhaps?) This promotional edition doesn't have the lyric sheet and at press time, they weren't available yet at either the German or US site (something special is planned), so I don't have those available.

Highlights? Oh, well, let's see. There are 10 tracks on this release (11 in the first pressing with the bonus Kansas cover), so... well, there are 10 highlight tracks. "Nightwalker," "Scarlet Flower Fields," "Healing Tree," "Can You Hear Me," and "Phoenix" are all impressive. I am positively giddy about this album folks, and I'm not one taken to giddiness. I'm just knocked flat by this album... This is what I absolutely love about music! The title track is sublime in every respect -- great contrasts between heavy metal sections and lyrical pastoral passages. "Cold Wind" is a powerful track, one of those signature tracks that you can expect will be heard on many a Internet radio stations and included on compilations. "Scarlet Flower Fields" is an example of the dynamics at play here - acoustic backed verses give way to a surge of guitars and keys. A bubbling, throbbing interplay between Werno and Reichert is darkly facinating. Lill follows this with a stately guitar solo. You hear similar dynamics with "Healing Tree" which is, perhaps, their most Dream Theater-like moment here. I'd have to say, on of my favourites here ... an 11 where everything else is a 10. This is dripping with emotion and sentiment, and not once do Vanden Plas resort to sacchrine or weepy sentiment. Oh, well, no "End Of All Days" is my favourite ... until the next track comes on, then that's my favourite. No, "Can You Hear Me" is my favourite. Rather, the title track is my favourite, with's terrific harmonies and the beautiful musical journey it take you/me on. No, it's... You get the picture. This is an album of 11s, all 11s. Yes, if we had numerical ratings, this would be an 11 out of 10. At least. Perhaps a 12. A 13?

Fact: You can hear samples of every track at the US Vanden Plas site, and excerpts of three tracks at the German site. While I suggest that you listen to those, as they can tell you much more than I can in words ... you really need to just go out and buy the album!

Fact: You will thank me later for this, but more so you will worship the very ground that Vanden Plas walk. Okay, maybe that's taking it a little too far (but just a little), but I think you will find that you will join me in chanting "Vanden Plas rule!"

Nightwalker (7:30) / Cold Wind (5:20) / Scarlet Flower Fields (5:45) / Healing Tree (5:30) / End Of All Days (7:25) / Free The Fire (4:30) / Can You Hear Me (4:10) / Phoenix (5:56) / Beyond Daylight (10:39)

Andy Kuntz - vocals
Stephan Lill - guitars
Günter Werno - keyboards
Torsten Reichert - bass
Andreas Lill - drums

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: March 24th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 758
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]