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Vanden Plas – Christ O

Label: Inside Out Music
Format: CD
Released: 2006
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Vanden Plas have been composing their own style of progressive metal since the early 90s with their first single released in 1986. Four years after the last album "Beyond Daylight", they decided to loosely base "Christ O" off Dumas’ story "The Count of Monte Christo". The band also recently saw some time in the theater where singer Andy Kuntz made use of his fantastic voice and brought his side project Abydos to life.


The music on "Christ O" has that theater feel with all those added layers from the keyboards orchestral sounds within each track like ‘Postcard to God’ or the easy to grab chorus for ‘Wish You Were Here’ as the progressive elements take a back seat to a more straight ahead arrangement bringing focus to the hook.

Still a progressive band, Vanden Plas do pull the prog card for every song in some way but have been doing this as long as Dream Theater. So I choose not to compare the two in that fact. Vanden Plas do stand on their own feet and should not be compared to their American peers.

A song like ‘Silently’ and its tender chorus and acoustic guitar leads does have the theater ring to it, brought out by the keyboards and strings, dynamic, but still carried by guitars and leads. Germany’s Vanden Plas do a great job of combining progressive musicianship with theater based melodies for their songs and is something that allows the band to be original in their own right. A chorus is important to each song and can be easily heard. ‘Shadow I Am’ is heavier and edgier while in direct contrast there’s the heartfelt balladeque ‘Fireroses Dance’ with accompanying strings, a thoughtful guitar solo and piano base. On some pressings, the disc ends with ‘Gethsemane’ from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar", composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and inimitably interpreted with some excellent vocals.

If you are looking for another great progressive metal outfit that is original in their own right then Vanden Plas is your band.

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