VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination
December 11, 2020, a month ago
10th studio album from the German progressive metallers, Illumination is part two to last year's Awakening. The Ghost Xperiment – Illumination is a sequel picking up from where during a séance, the main character Gideon Grace encounters the ghosts who have haunted him since his childhood. While there are only eight tracks on the album, Vanden Plas write songs that are five plus minutes with enough interesting musical twists and turns for almost an hour journey.
"When The World Is Falling Down" kicks off the story with dancing guitars and keys, and longtime singer Andy Kuntz' excellent tone with the harmonies effortlessly flow into the chorus. The song also changes into a very Fates Warning type movement in the solo. Like other greats from the genre, Vanden Plas have always made the chorus and melody as important as the musicianship. "Under The Horizon" begins quiet and soft, drums signal the launch into the chug of the riff and rhythm. Some beautiful reflective lead work in the solo too. "Black Waltz Death" slows things down with some orchestral sounds where the middle section takes the listener on trip without words through notes and melodies. Kuntz' voice shows his range on "The Lonely Psychogon", "Fatal Arcadia" is one of the heavier deliveries in the machine gun riff and drums, yet there are a couple brief peaceful piano breaks that works. "The Ouroboros" is a thirteen minute epic that incorporates new age aesthetic and prog metal. Bonus track "Krieg kennt keine Sieger", a duet with Alea (from the band Saltatio Mortis) changes up the keyboards sound with touches of Symphony X and Purple.
If you don't know this band, but if you are a fan of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Fates Warning, there is no reason why Vanden Plas are not in the playlist.