Vanden Plas - Beyond Daylight

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

I can't help it. Whenever I hear prog metal, I automatically compare it to Dream Theater. First, I don't think there are too many bands who can hold a candle to DT. That is, DT sets the bar for prog metal as far as I'm concerned. Second, DT practically invented the prog-metal genre, or, if you want to argue with that statement, you can't deny that it was DT who made prog metal as popular as it is. There are a lot of bands out there who have tried to tread in DT's shoes and most can't do it. Then along comes Beyond Daylight by Vanden Plas. DT fans, trust me when I say this album will blow you away. Vanden Plas often sounds so much like DT -- albeit a DT that has gone in a slightly different, more commercial, direction -- that it's almost spooky.

Some people might be turned off by the fact that VP sounds so much like DT and consider them merely a clone band. Me, I've never understood why one band can't sound like another without garnering a lot of criticism, as long as the band in question is good at what they do. Sure, there's a lot to be said for originality and pushing the boundaries into new territory. But plenty of bands do that; they don't all have to. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm a fan of a particular band, and another comes along who sounds a lot like them, I've just got more great music to listen to. Anyway, even though Vanden Plas sounds quite a lot like DT, you're not likely to mistake one for the other. VP does have its own sound, even if it's a sound that's derived from DT.

That being said, what are the differences between DT and Vanden Plas? Let's start with the most obvious, which is the lead vocalist. DT's James LaBrie is one of the most versatile rock singers on the planet, a man with a voice for every occasion. Vanden Plas vocalist Andy Kuntz sounds a little like LaBrie in the way he develops his phrases and melodies, but tone-wise he has a higher voice that sounds maybe a bit more 80s hard rock than LaBrie's voice does. He sings with almost as much dynamics as LaBrie, though, and can handle the ballads and the rockers with equal aplomb. This guy can seriously wail. Definitely a great vocalist.

As far as song-writing goes, Vanden Plas songs are squarely in the center of DTs style, though they never get as complex as DT tends to. One big difference is that Vanden Plas guitarist Stephan Lill doesn't keep as busy as DT's Petrucci. That is, the solos are few and the guitar parts more restrained, relying more on power chords than intricate patterns. That's not to say that Lill isn't amazing. When he cuts loose, he can shred with the best of them. More importantly, his playing is precise and as solid as steel.

This is one great album from a prog metal band that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Dream theater fans simply can't pass this one by. Nor can any fan of prog metal. Trust me.

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
G¨lnter 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: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 731
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]