While Germany's Vanden Plas has not released a studio album in four years, they have been busy. The band has been collaborating with prolific German sci-fi and fantasy writer, and fan of the band, Wolfgang Hohlbein to bring his Chronicles of the Immortals to the stage, as a rock opera. The result was Blutnacht, or Blood Night, with 19 songs composed for the rock opera. Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld - Path 1 is Vanden Plas' attempt to translate the show to studio album, with various and necessary changes. You can read more about the entire project in this PDF document.
You can also check out the aforementioned document for the concept and story which, generally, contemplates human existence. The story will be divided in two parts and two albums, the second coming next year.
As for the music, Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld - Path 1 is pure Vanden Plas, strong progressive metal, created with broad and deep strokes from vocals to immense orchestration to big riffs and sizzling leads. Yet, the music also has a heavy, dark, character to it, reflecting the content of the story. The only respite you get from this is with Misery Affection Prelude and the later fuller song Misery Affection which, though lighter, offer a solemn, sad, melancholy to the songs. Another musical turn comes with Soul Alliance: heavy, yes, in parts, but more moved by Andy Kuntz's melodic vocal line. Perhaps the 'biggest' sounding song here is Godmaker which takes all those aforementioned attributes and turns the knobs to eleven.
Over all, this solid, first class, stuff from a great progressive metal band. I suspect your listening pleasure will be enhanced by either having the lyrics in the CD booklet (which I did not receiving a digital promo) or having read Hohlbein's novels (which I'm suspecting are entirely in German). Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld - Path 1 is easily recommended.
Chronicles of the Immortals - Netherworld - Path 1 brings Vanden Plas' Blutnacht rock opera collaboration with German sci-fi author Wolfgang Hohlbein from stage to album, for all to enjoy.
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