on 29 July 2002
Packing Drama and Power the like that many have never heard, Vanden Plas return to set the mark for others to aim for. From the offset Beyond Daylight shows itself to be a varied and addictive piece of work. Tasteful keyboards, seering vocals and a rhythm section that can only be measured on the richter scale gives Vanden Plas that winning combination of technical excellence and structure that few bands can match.
What makes this album standout though (even among the prog-metal hordes) is the way that each track on the album seems to posess it`s own character. From the mysterious title track to the passionate Scarlet Flower Fields you never feel as if you are simply listening to just another album, it`s more akin to reading an enchanting book of short stories,
Technically speaking Vanden Plas certainly have enough power behind them to be an all out metal act, but they pay more attention to melody and structure than you would normally find on an album of this nature.
Overall this album scores on every level whilst retaining a uniqueness so hard to find these day`s.
I would definately reccomend this album to anyone who likes there metal served with a twist.
A man in a shop recommended these guys. Essentially they area German prog/power metal band, who are similar in some ways to early '90's Dream Theater. Certainly they are in the same league musically. The main difference is the vocals - the songer isn't quite as powerful as James LaBrie, and doesn't do much in the way of screaming. Instead he choruses are layered, filling out the vocals, and producing some very nice harmonies.
And that's the real strength of this CD - the songwriting is outstanding. The songs have a good solid chorus to hang onto, whilst containing the instrumental breaks we all love (don't we!), and these guys have delivered ballads, fast numbers, mid-tempo tunes, and they're all great.
Production is extremely high standard too.
on 6 May 2008
This album is the fourth full-length by German progressive metal band Vanden Plas. Some say that these guys are simply Dream Theater clones who just steal the styles of the musicians in Dream Theater, however this is simply not true. Vanden Plas have definitely been influenced a lot by Dream Theater but they use their influence in a very refreshing way. With much more emotional and heavy music than Dream Theater, Vanden Plas should not be written off as a simple clone.
I see this album as Vanden Plas's magnum opus. This album truly is the pinnacle of their achievements so far and it includes some of my favourite progressive metal songs ever such as the album's epic `Beyond Daylight' and the incredibly beautiful `Scarlet Flower Fields', the latter of which always makes me think of romance and summer rain in a beautiful garden, a combination that should make even the most hardened metalhead's eyes glaze over.
The guitar on this album is spectacular, some people might immediately write Stephan Lill off as being a John Petrucci copyist but, while he does have a similar style to Petrucci, Lill's playing is actually much darker and, at times, heavier. On `Phoenix' and `Free the fire' Lill's playing has a very aggressive and heavy edge that Petrucci has never had. Also on the Kansas cover `Point of Know Return' Lill's playing is much heavier than I would have expected creating a nice spin on the original song.
Andy Kuntz's vocals reminded me a lot of James Labrie at first but after listening to the album a few times I realised that in many ways Kuntz's voice is very different to Labrie's. Kuntz carries more emotion in his voice and he also has a much deeper voice than Labrie.
The keyboardist, Gunter Werno, bares little to no resemblance to any of Dream Theater's keyboardists past or present, instead he sounds slightly similar to the keyboardist in Manitou, which makes sense as I think that Manitou were heavily influenced by these guys. Werno's playing also reminds me of Angra's keyboardist at times although Werno definitely sounds more progressive. The best example of Werno's most original and spectacular keyboard playing is on `Beyond Daylight' where his grand piano flourishes send shivers up my spine every time I listen to the album.
The bassist and drummer are technically competent and lead the band's music brilliantly, though I can think of no particular examples as their work on the whole album is very important and of is all equally good.
If you have got the other Vanden Plas albums then I can only ask why you have not got this one yet... Buy it right now! Or if you are looking for a place to start with this band then this is probably the best album to choose as it is definitely the best album they have done do far.
I cannot think of many highlight tracks as the whole album is excellent and deserves to be listened to in one sitting but `Scarlet Flower Fields' is one of the best progressive songs that I know and therefore warrants a special mention.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this band, my only previous encounter was with the very talented keyboardist (Gunter Werno) on DC Cooper's (fantastic) solo release. But fans of prog have been positive about this lot, so I went for it.
And they're very good. VERY good. Remind me in some ways of "Images" era Dream Theater as far as song construction and instrumental sections go. The guitarist is very good, he can shred along with the best on 'em, although he's just a bit more restrained than Mr Petrucci - this band like instrumental passages to be just that, rather than a collection of solos. The drummer is also extremely good, but more restrained than Mike Portnoy, something I appreciate (Dream Theater over-use the double bass drums IMHO).
And the vocalist. Other reviews of past releases by Vanden Plas have been critical of the vocals. I can see why, he doesn't have the most powerful voice in prog, it's quite clean (cleaner than James LaBrie), and certainly not from the "Geoff Tate" school of singers. He does use his diaphragm well in places, and also occasionally throws in a rasp that's not a million miles away from Vince Neil (Motley Crue)! He can reach the high notes, and choruses tend to be constructed of layered vocals and harmonies, which more than compensate for the slight thin-ness that higher notes produces in his voice. And no screaming.
One thing worth mentioning is the strength of the song-writing. The choruses have good, memorable hooks, and satisfy the ear in a way that quite a few other prog releases fail to, despite the skills of the band.
Basically these guys have the lot, and the production more than makes up for any star losses I might have imposed for the vocals. Dunno about pervious material, this ROCKS!
on 1 June 2006
well amazon suggested this to me as im a prog rock fan and huge on dream theater. i had previously never heard of vanden plas, but i have to say this album is a must for prog rock fans!
it's not ultra heavy like others can be, and it never really digresses like dream theater do in their unique way, but you can most certainly sit back and enjoy this ablum right through as vanden plas play as one and in harmony