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Vanden Plas: The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening
Vanden Plas - The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening Music Review

Vanden Plas: The Ghost Xperiment

Progressive Metal
4.0/5.0

The prolific and consistent Vanden Plas enter their third decade with the same lineup from the start and a new concept album. Neither facts are lost on their fans. Vanden Plas has been the same band of musical brothers since 1986. Conceptually, their albums turn on thinking man's ideas, from the mysterious to the metaphysical to questions of human existence. All these things are wrapped up in their ambitious and bombastic progressive power metal.

Vanden Plas - Click For Larger Image

Vanden Plas

So for their eighth (and forthcoming ninth) album, Vanden Plas returns to their patent formula. Developed by vocalist Andy Kuntz, The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening is adapted from an actual documented paranormal experiment, and follows the adventures of the fictional Gideon Grace, also created by Mr Kuntz. The story will be told across two albums with part two destined for 2020. For more detail, I've included the full concept description below the music video which follows this review.

Musically speaking there's few surprises to Vanden Plas' song arrangements. The songs are founded upon a wall of riffage and symphonic synths, over mixed moderate to quick pacing, and then lead by Kuntz's vocals in the procession. The usual compositional twists and turns come with changes in tempo and time signatures. Some nuances should be suggested. Within both Three Ghosts and Fall From The Skies voice and piano lead the song, though more forward in the latter. Then both offer a slight breakdown past the midpoint where the piano rises again. The highly symphonic Devils' Poetry leads with riff and synth dense heavy metal until about the sixth minute where a blend of piano, synths, voice, and orchestration add an eerie segue. As usual, throughout the album, guitarist Stephan Lill enlightens the songs with epic solos, notable within The Phantoms Of Prends-Toi-Gardes and Devils Poetry.

Essentially, with The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening, Vanden Plas offers their tried and true, conceptually intriguing, and musically challenging progressive metal. What more would you expect? Recommended.


About The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening

The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening is based on an actual documented paranormal experiment. The main character in the story, created by frontman Andy Kuntz, is Gideon Grace, who must constantly fight for his life against the relentless shadows of the “House of Rain” as he wanders through France. Burdened with a heavy weight of sorrow following the agonizing death of his beloved Ivy, Gideon's pain is also the driving force in a war with his demons. He expands his knowledge with books he finds in the library of a German school of metaphysics and it is there that he reads about secret teachers and parapsychological experiments, which become an important foundation from which he can fight against the creatures of darkness. After the first showdown with these demons, rather than finding peace, the insights Gideon learns from this fight tear open a hole deep into the abyss of Hell...


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The Bottom Line

Essentially, with The Ghost Xperiment – Awakening, Vanden Plas offers their tried and true, conceptually intriguing, and musically challenging progressive metal. What more would you expect? Recommended.

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