“Christ 0” by Vanden Plas

Artist: Vanden Plas
Title: “Christ 0”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 4/25/2006
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

It’s been four years since Vanden Plas released “Beyond Daylight” and for many fans of the Progressive Metal the new album would be a welcome return of a very excellent and powerful band. As I listened to the album, I wondered how this group escaped my notice before as they offer a lot of what fans of Melodic and Progressive Metal are looking for. The band takes a strong queue from Dream Theater as far as the ability to craft both powerful melody and metallic technique together, but their music doesn’t take you into wild technical displays and that keeps them unique from Portnoy and company. The album takes you on a journey into a tale that is based on the Alexander Dumas “Count Of Monte Cristo” tale; however this story is a little bit darker and does not find the Count the hero that the classic tale does. As a matter of fact he is a villain and while still a character to be pitied he is getting that which is rightly served for such action. The album displays an excellent array of Progressive Metal riffs and melodies that bring you right into the recording and lead singer Andy Kuntz is simply amazing across the whole thing. The main reason for the absence in Vanden Plas recordings was due to the singer working in theatre and his side-project Abydos. The theatre experience clearly shows in the album as far as the dramatic peaks and valleys it explores as Kuntz delivers passionate vocals in every song. Crunching Metal fans need not fear that the stage experience has softened his delivery of the bands music and can confirm this on songs like “Somewhere Alone In The Dark” and “Silently”. The band also explores some levels of mood and atmosphere, as a dark and foreboding storyline will definitely put you in that place. A great example of this can be found in “Lost In Silence” and their inclusion offers the chance for a wider variety of listener to now enjoy the band. The closer of the album came as a complete and yet wonderful surprise as the band delivers the song “Gethsemane” (I Only Want To Say); the song which was originally sung by Ian Gillan in the Broadway play “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a powerful tune and delivered to excellence. This is only available on the special edition of the CD if I am not mistaken.

Above all this is an excellent piece of music and even though I was new to the band I found myself listening to the entire piece a good four times before I even began coming up with thoughts on it. It is musically powerfully and lyrically sound and should prove to satisfy the most finicky of Progressive Metal fans. It is recommended for those who enjoy Dream Theater, Symphony X and others who fall into this dynamic style.

Track Listing:
1. Christ 0
2. Postcard To God
3. Wish You Were Here
4. Silently
5. Shadow I Am
6. Fireroses Dance
7. Somewhere Alone In The Dark
8. January Sun
9. Lost In Silence
10. Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say) – bonus

Official Website: www.vandenplas.de

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