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Far Off Grace

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spv
  • ASIN: B000031WER
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,307 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

VANDEN PLAS Far Off Grace CD

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I can't agree with the other reviewer - I'm a great fan of VP, love everything they've done (and hate the comparisons with the overblown and pretentious Dream Theater.) I was a bit unsure on first listen - this is a complex CD as all of their music tends to be - but it grew with every playing and now I think it stands as one of my favourites, up close with The Seraphic Clockwork.
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Format: Audio CD
Vanden Plas's previous disk 'The God Thing' had been amongst my favourite disks of 1997. Beautifully orchestrated, moving and very definately progressive metal. This disk shows them trying to find a half-way point between this and their first disk 'The Colour Temple', but I find the overall effect a little disappointing.
Starting off with a fearsomly heavy number 'I can See' in contrast to their earlier disks, it either grabs you or startles you. This is followed by more typically Vanden Plas tunes like 'Far Off Grace' (one of the best tunes on the disk), 'Into the Sun' and 'Where is the Man' which display the classic Vanden Plas talent for nifty time and mood changes from lush orchestration to chunky heavy guitar.
'Iodic Rain' is another heavy number, which is followed by the main ballad of the disk, the touching 'Don't miss you' - a personal song telling of Singer Andy Kuntz's break-up with his girlfriend. It is a very sparse, yet emotional number with Andy just being joined by Gunter Werno on keys.
The final three tunes are among the stronger one on the disk 'Inside of your Head' speaks about a ficticious game which allows its creators access to the minds of the players - a nightmarish prediction of the future and is by far the best track on the disk. If all the songs were of this standard, it would truely be an excellent disk.
'Fields of Hope' and the excellent 'I'm in You' close out the disk strongly.
I have to admit that I find the second half of the disk more interesting than the first. Gunter Werno inserts lots of interesting sounds via his new synthesiser, Stephan Lill's guitar impresses as usual, but sometimes seems a bit too brutal and heavy for the music and Andy Lill adds lots of interesting drum patterns that help fill out the sound.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't really know what to say to put over how much I love this cd. It's melodic, emotional, intelligent, powerful. Amazing songwriting, vocals by Andy Kuntz and blistering musicianship. It's Vanden Plas. That's all you need to know.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
a beautiful album by a very underrated band!
inspired prog metal, melodic and lyrical, but never ridiculous
a band to discover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x907b3ca8) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x907da570) out of 5 stars Special Edition 29 Mar. 2008
By Justin G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
1999's Far Off Grace is album #4 from German melodic progressive metal band Vanden Plas. The band, whose sound is perhaps best described as Dream Theater meets Dokken, didn't offer up any real surprises on this album. The songs on Far Off Grace could just as easily have fit on Colour Temple or The God Thing. Despite their progressive sound, the band really doesn't progress very much from one album to the next.

That aside, Far Off Grace is still a very impressive album. Vanden Plas has totally mastered the marriage of technical metal, lush melodies, and stirring, emotional vocals. I've read some reviews bashing him, but as far as I'm concerned Andy Kuntz's vocals are a huge part of what makes Vanden Plas's sound work so well. His songwriting skills are also first rate. Into the Sun and Fields of Hope are among the album's better tracks, and I don't think I've heard anything as equally lovely and malevolent as the ballad I Don't Miss You.

If you can overlook the "more of the same" aspect, Far Off Grace is a great progressive metal album. It may not break any new ground, but Vanden Plas is one of the best at this kind of music, and they never fail to deliver.

NOTE: The 2004 Special Edition of Far Off Grace comes housed in a slipcase and features two bonus tracks. The first is a cover of the Dokken hit Kiss of Death, which the band totally nails. It was included on the earlier CD release though, so I don't see how it counts as a "bonus track" here. There's also a cover of Sting's Shape of My Heart. I loathe Sting, but I have to admit this song sounds great in Vanden Plas's hands. There's also a live video of the song Iodic Rain.

If you don't already own Far Off Grace, this is the version to buy. If you do, you'll have to decide whether it's worth it to buy the album twice for essentially one new song. I did, but I'm something of a dork when it comes to owning the version with the most extras.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x907da5d0) out of 5 stars If you like Dream Theater...buy this! 13 April 2000
By NEO-CS- - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have never heard of Vanden Plas before stumbling across a review of their CD at HardRadio.com. I figured that they could not possibly come close to Dream Theater, who in my eyes, are the kings of Progressive Metal. Well Far Off Grace really changed my mind, Vanden Plas's music isnt quite as complicated as Dream Theater's but nonetheless, it Rocks. The vocalist has very much the same range if not more than James LaBrie from DT. However the music isnt quite as tight...the drums are not as good, and the keyboards are a little weaker, overall though, Vanden Plas is a great band. Far Off Grace is a great CD. The cover of Dokken's Kiss of Death was very cool (with keyboards added in for a different sound). Bottom Line...this CD Rocks....if you are a fan of Dream Theater buy this CD....you will love it!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90d1f60c) out of 5 stars My favorite Vanden Plas album 26 Jun. 2005
By T. Zeppa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For those who do not know, Vanden Plas is a German progressive metal band, and a damn good one.

The album features a nice tight guitar sound from Stephan Lill. Andreas Lill adds some damn fine drumming. Of course the vocals are top notch as expected from Andy Kuntz.

This album is not as melodic as "Beyond Daylight" or "The God Thing", it has a more aggressive sound which I like.

When I first got this album, it didnt leave my player for like 3 weeks, and to this day I still spin this CD on a regular basis.

If you like heavy prog metal, this album is a must have.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90d1f9f0) out of 5 stars A new era for hard rock / progressive Metal 12 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What do you get, when you take old Queensryche, a taste of Dream Theater, and a hint of Dokken? You get Vanden Plas, and their newest CD "Far off grace" takes you on a musical ride, you wont want to get off. Soaring high melodic vocals, catchy melodies, and bone crunching guitars mixed in with amazing keyboards, has you wondering why bands like this arent more popular. Fans of Dream Theater may want to take note from this band from Germany. Vanden Plas, has been around since the late 80's, and Far off grace, is their 4th CD from this 5 piece band. Highly recommended!
HASH(0x907da960) out of 5 stars Future Not "Far Off".... 28 Oct. 2011
By P. Zeller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This review comes from the point of view of a listener working backward in Vanden Plas' catalog. I am fast becoming a fan of this band and this CD does nothing but help build that view.

These guys are excellent musicians and that point comes through again in Far Off Grace. It is clear to me that these guys can stand up technically to anyone in the business. Maybe not the best at any given instrument, but they can present a challenge to the best.

As with the CDs that follow, the music is lyrically deep, intricately arranged, and sonically very full. Yet, as with the other discs, dynamics still play an important part in their music. I, for one, prefer that, even in heavier metal music, than just an all-out attack on the senses. Musicallity caries alot of weight with me. This album is certainly musical.

Unlike the albums that follow, this album's over-arching theme is not prevelant. There is no great concept or story driving this album as there is with Christ 0 and Serephic Clockwork. In that respect, the songs are lyrically simpler. However, looking backward as I am, you can begin to see the hints of theatrics the band is so very good at begining to sneak into the music. As with their later CDs, you will find yourself involved without being overwhelmed.

So, why only 4 starts you ask? I understand that this was originally released in 1999. As such, at that time, there was a trend among producers to make the base be more direct and harsh (a fall-out of post-grunge styles popular at that time). In this case, the base drum is very direct and forward in the mix, having somewhat of a "tinny" sound to it. It has taken some getting used to and tends to distract from some of the music, even after many plays. That being said, it obviously can't be too bad as I keep playing the CD over and over again and enjoying it more each time. So, basically, with today's ear, it gets 4 stars because I know how good this band sounds today with a different mix.

Personal favorites: Into the Sun, Iodic Rain, I Don't Miss You (I have not heard very many songs so irony-soaked and cynical as this one without being angry... very intelligent way of delivering the message!) and Fields of Hope. Weak songs: None really; weakest of the set would have to be Kiss of Death. It is a good song improved upon by VP. However, thematically, it does not fit in as well with the rest of the CD. I would not know that Shape of My Heart was a Sting song if I hadn't heard the original version. Enjoyable none-the-less.

For the special addition, it is nice to get the video of Iodic Rain. Being in the US, I have not yet had the opportunity to see VP play and this presents a nice capsule of this song presented in concert. Very cool!

Bottom Line: the growth of the band towards the greatness that they display on Christ 0 and Serephic Clockwork can be heard in this album. Excellent music, acceptable (but not great) mix. Really can't go wrong with this one, especially knowing what this CD eventually leads to.
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