Vanden Plas


Vanden Plas (different to The Vanden Plas British electronic act) is a German progressive metal band, based in Kaiserslautern and founded in the mid-1980s. They started as a band which incorporated elements of progressive and pop rock in longer songs, but they cleaned up their act for their most recent albums which take their cue more from Dream Theater. In 1991, they recorded the song "Keep On Running" as an anthem for the local national league football club FC Kaiserslautern, and did the same in 1994 with "Das ist für euch" ("This Is for You All"). All of its members have been involved in theatre projects and rock musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Show, Little Shop of Horrors, and Evita. The band have succeeded in making a name for themselves on an international level, achieving almost cult status in France, touring all over Europe with established acts like Dream Theatre, Savatage or Angra and releasing a number of impressive records, among them six studio albums, a live cut, an unplugged recording, and several EPs. The band’s line-up is formed by Andy Kuntz (vocals), Stephan Lill (guitars), Andreas Lill (drums), Günter Werno (keyboards) and Torsten Reichert (bass).


HISTORY

Since 1986, when the band first got together, Vanden Plas never lost sight of their ambitious goal: expressive music with emotional depth and a melancholy prog metal outfit. Starting off with their debut album Colour Temple (1994) -that featured a straight metal style that highlighted Lill's guitar playing- the band continued to gather an ever-increasing following with their versatile, intuitive and always unbridled lust for playing. With their next album, the EP AcCult (1996), they went in a completely different direction, making an entirely acoustic album that contained four fascinating covers, including "Kayleigh" by Marillion. In 1997, Vanden Plas brought out their epic bombast successor The God Thing, which was praised by renowned magazines like Metal Hammer, Rock Hard, Burrn!, Aardschock and Flash. That album ventured off in prog metal territory, combining Lill's great guitar arcs with heavily orchestrated sections, showing a heavy Dream Theater influence. A six week tour with Dream Theater followed. 

Fire Blossom

In September 1999, Vanden Plas returned to the limelight with Far Off Grace, which had been recorded by Pink Cream 69 bassist/producer Dennis Ward at the House Of Audio. The band presented themselves in an even more compact and determined style, remaining melodic and innovative at the same time. Spring 2000 saw Vanden Plas recording a concert in front of enthusiastic fans at the Elysée Montmartre in Paris, releasing the cuts on their Spirit of Live album, which also featured a duet by vocalist Andy Kuntz and Don Dokken on the Dokken cover 'Kiss Of Death', and a breathtaking duel between guitarist Stephan Lill and his French colleague Patrick Rondat. 

I Can See


Iodic Rain


2002's Beyond Daylight was next, showing the group growing into a more experimental and technically difficult outfit. It contains nine brand-new prog metal tracks which stand out with their brilliant melodies, exquisite instrumental passages and intelligent arrangements. Be it the juxtaposition of a habit-forming chorus and technically virtuoso passages, as in 'Scarlett Flowerfields', anthemnic structures like the opener 'Nightwalker', or progressive tracks like 'Cold Wind', Vanden Plas never cease to delight and at the same time surprise their audience. "This album has an even wider stylistic range than our previous releases," elaborates Kuntz on the difference compared to older Vanden Plas material. "A while ago, we would have been sceptical as to whether a shout-along number like 'Free The Fire' actually suits Vanden Plas. These days we don't worry too much about things like that. What matters is the quality of a song; a ballad like 'Can You Hear Me?' could in this or a similar form easily have been penned by Sting, but it happens to suit Beyond Daylight perfectly. The mood of the songs, the entire album is more open-minded, atmospherically broader and, in a very positive sense, more commercial." The first edition of the album is rounded off by a cover version of the Kansas classic 'Point Of Know Return'.

Nightwalker


Cold Wind


Free the Fire


On 31 March 2006, the band released a concept album entitled Christ 0, loosely based on Alexandre Dumas père's book The Count of Monte Cristo,  exploring the story of a man imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit and following his chain of vengeful murders through the eyes of "X," an Interpol detective assigned to the case. Throughout the course of the album, both characters come to terms with their goals; X realizes just how similar the nature of his work is to Christ-0's, while 0 repents for the sins of his vengeance and commits suicide. The lyrics make several contemporary references, alluding to modern movies (e.g. Silence of the Lambs) and organizations (Interpol). The band employed a forty-piece choir for the first time in this album. Lead vocalist Andy Kuntz stated that such orchestral elements were new to Vanden Plas and attributes this experimentation to the four-year wait since their previous album. The first copies of Christ 0 contained a bonus track, Gethsemane. This track is a cover of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar of the same name.

Shadow I am


The band's last album to date, The Seraphic Clockwork, was released on 4 June 2010 in Europe and 22 June 2010 in the US. Vanden Plas has finished recording a new album, Chronicles of the Immortals-Netherworld, which is scheduled for release on January 14th, 2014.

Holes in the Sky


Frequency



DISCOGRAPHY

Colour Temple (1994)
AcCult (1996, acoustic EP)
The God Thing (1997)
Far Off Grace (1999)
Spirit of Live (2000, live album)
Beyond Daylight (2002)
Christ 0 (2006)
The Seraphic Clockwork (2010)


Sources:
http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Vanden-Plas-Biography/D2ED19597E45C36A48256D750030244C 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanden_Plas_(band)
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/vanden-plas-mn0000259114/biography
http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=381