Chronicles Of The Immortals - Netherworld (Path One)

They don't come as often as we'd like but a new Vanden Plas album is almost a guaranteed success.  Chronicles Of The Immortals may well be their best effort yet.  It sounds like Vanden Plas that we know and love but scaled up.  The band collaborated with noted German author Wolfgang Holbein to create a rock opera.  After a series of live performances the band hit the studio and shaped it into the first half of a duology.  Highly recommended.

"Four years after the release of The Seraphic Clockwork, German progressive metallers Vanden Plas are back with their seventh full-length Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld. Known for creating highly detailed conceptual albums, in 2012 the band teamed up with Germany’s one of the biggest selling authors Wolfgang Hohlbein to create a rock opera for the stage based on his The Chronicle of the Immortals series of novels. The resulting rock musical named Bloodnight ended up having 25 sold-our performances during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

The next challenge for Andy Kuntz and Vanden Plas was to adapt the theatre musical to the Vanden Plas standards and produce an album comprised of the first act of Bloodnight. Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld – Path 1 is a full title of the record that includes ten songs. The release of Path 2, the final part of the story will be released early in 2015.

Musically speaking, since the release of their debut Colour Temple Vanden Plas continued to mature and improve – eventually hitting the top with 2006′s Christ 0. However, Netherworld proves to be the band’s most demanding release. In most cases, the problem with conceptual albums is that the music suffers the lack of quality on behalf of the actual story or opposite, but Vanden Plas relying on experience forged a record that possibly may serve as a light of hope for progressive metal in 2014.

One of the biggest differences between this one and the previous Vanden Plas efforts lies exactly in the theatrical atmosphere Netherworld brings. Although it can be said that the visual factor is on par with music on almost every Vanden Plas album, it’s Netherworld that stands out for the balance between the two. Heavily rooted in the progressive metal genre with plenty of melodic lines on top of it, the whole story is dependant to Kuntz‘s interpretation and singing.

The album flows as a single song, although it’s divided into ten songs (visions) what ultimately brings to mind that these ten titles are there just to separate the distinctive parts or moods of the whole story. These parts are pretty well balanced, the story dynamic follows the music. And what is perhaps most important for a progressive metal album today – it incorporates a number of different elements.

Three crucial segments for a Vanden Plas album are strong melodic side, progressive metal and conceptual story. And these three segments are present on Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld. In which measure, time will be the best judge." - Prog-sphere.com

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Univers is the long awaited follow up to Element V from this very talented band from Oz. Once again they blend elements of power, progressive and death metal but in a way that is melodic and engaging. The death vocals pop up on occasion and offer a nice counterpoint to the clean male vox. This time around the music has a bit of a modern, poppier, component but it doesn't make this commercial in any way. Another first class release from this band that was clearly not resting on their laurels - this is what progressive is supposed to mean. Highly recommended.
    $9.00
  • New 24 bit remastered edition of the second album from this essential Canterbury band. Gilgamesh was the sister band to Hatfield & The North that walked the same ground minus the humor (or vocals). The late Alan Gowen was a brilliant keyboardist and is matched here by Hugh Hopper, Trevor Tompkins and Phil Lee.
    $17.00
  • "This is the 1st album by a French band whose sound & compositional style are firmly rooted into Zeuhl and who features a line-up of vocals, guitar, bass, drums, synths, & flute.Vak started in 2008, centered around the prog/zeuhl compositions of drummer Vladimir Mejstelman : repetitive patterns, asymetric measures, crafted melodies and emphatic moments. After several musicians changes over the years, further influences completed the melting pot, from the rhythmic progressive metal influences reminiscent of Tool or some of Mike Patton's projects, to experiments echoing the Rock in Opposition scene, such as Guapo.Vocalist Aurelie Saintecroix does a great job, her wordless vocals strongly evoking Eskaton's early works. This first album has been recorded between 2011-2014, originally planed to be issued as 2 EPs (6 long tracks) - which never happened!Vak is currently heading towards a new kind of zeuhl with broad perspectives and influences, notably including metal & space-rock touches; a second album which will features more of this sound will hopefully be issued in 2016, but now, finally, you can hear all they have accomplished up to now!"
    $17.00
  • "One of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s, Vulgar Display of Power is just what is says: a raw, pulverizing, insanely intense depiction of naked rage and hostility that drains its listeners and pounds them into submission. Even the "ballads," "This Love" and "Hollow," have thunderingly loud, aggressive chorus sections. Preaching power through strength and integrity, Phil Anselmo discards any further attempts at singing in favor of a militaristic bark and an unhinged roar, while the crystal-clear production sets Diamond Darrell's pummeling riffs against a rhythmic backdrop so thunderously supportive that Darrell often solos without underlying rhythm guitar parts. The album again follows Cowboys from Hell's strategy of stacking the best songs at the beginning and letting their momentum carry the listener through the rest, but the riffs and sonic textures are more consistently interesting this time around. Pantera's thick-sounding, post-hardcore power metal and outraged, testosterone-drenched intensity would help pave the way for alternative metal acts like Korn and Tool; Vulgar Display of Power is the best distillation of those virtues." - All Music Guide
    $9.00
  • Long out of print 2nd album from this Los Angeles based thrash band featuring Gene Hoglan on drums.  2008 versions with live bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • "Back in 2008, a force in the German melodic power metal scene released an album called “Eternal Empire.” The album was met with as much disdain as I have seen critic’s muster. It seemed that after the release of epic power masterpieces “Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir” and “Defenders of the Crown,” the band had all but abandoned the foundation that built the Human Fortress. On one hand, creating a new sound to generate a bigger audience is understandable, but to hardened power metal fans it’s a sacrilege. So, after a five year hiatus, the departure of Carsten Frank (who sang and played guitar on “Eternal Empire”) and return of one the original members Volker Trost (guitarst) and vocalist Jioti Parcharidis, the band was set to regroup and attack. However, in 2010 Parcharidis left again for health reasons, leaving the band to seek a new vocalist. The search turned up one of the rising voices in metal - Brazil’s Gus Monsanto (Symbolica/Code of Silence/Ex-Adagio). With that, Human Fortress seeks to reclaim lost glory with “Raided Land.” The end result is a successful transition back to pre-2008 derailment as the the train coasts back on the track of straight melodic power metal, with the added bonus of the best production in the band’s history.In Monsanto, the band has brought back the soaring beauty that was lost with Frank’s pseudo-harsh style vocals. His range is even more varied than with his other bands (Code of Silence and Symbolica) and there are brief moments where he is inseparable from Tommy Karevik (see “Under Seige”). It seems there is no end to the breadth of what he can sing. His style is more wide open than that of original vocalist Parcharidis, though I suspect that many fans will identify his style with the band. In a similar aspect to MasterPlan, yet on a much smaller scale, the band’s rabid fanbase will raise red flags with a new vocalist. However, the only red flag that should be raised is the one depicted on the album artwork. Monsanto is by far the best vocalist Human Fortress has ever had, and it is his range that properly propels the band to a modern audience while keeping true to its history.With a perfect mix and fantastic sound (from Orden Ogan vocalist/guitarist Sebastian "Seeb" Levermann on the music side and vocalist extraordinaire Michael Bormann on the vocal side), Human Fortress draws elements from the first two releases with a distinct nod to the current style of Kamelot. Pure power metal fans might find that it leans more progressive and is mired in mid-paced muck and pure progressive fans will find it dips into more power than they might like. For those in the middle, “Raided Land” is the band’s finest hour. The songs are a perfect balance of power and progressive with the songs averaging a svelte 4 minutes.With a recipe of “Silverthorn” Kamelot and “Mystery of Time” Avantasia, the band also throws some shades of Running Wild within the riffs of “Gladiator of Rome, Pt. 2,” the album’s strongest track. “Evil Curse” is the longest track – at 5:22 – and also the heaviest. I do wish that mighty riff was carried in force through the first verse, but it comes back half way in the second. However, if there was one song on the album that shows the full range that Monsanto offers, this is it. Other notables are “The Chosen One,” “Child of War” and “Wasted Years.” The one most closely related to Kamelot is “Under Seige,” which if I hadn’t known better could have easily fooled me as coming from that band.“Raided Land” is a return to the style that started it all for Human Fortress. With Gus Monsanto, the group added the most versatile vocalist its ever had (with no disrespect to Parcharidis). The sound and production is the most pristine in the band’s history, striking a perfect mix – a testament to the mastery of both Sebastian Levermann and Michael Bormann. While I know some diehards will find the album unfulfilling as a pure power metal album, I cannot find a time in the band’s history outside of “Eternal Empire” where it sounded dramatically different, or better. “Raided Land” is one of the finest efforts from a German band with a tremendous upswing for the future." - Metal Underground
    $15.00
  • "In 2009, by default, France’s Lonewolf was the “surviving Running Wild” when Rolf packed up his pirate ship following Wacken 2009 and went home. For those unaware of Lonewolf, the band was created in 1991 and was named after the Running Wild song from “Blazon Stone.” Ironically, the last time Lonewolf surfaced with a new LP, it was “The Dark Crusade” in that same fateful year of 2009. Flashforward to 2012 with Running Wild on the precipice of releasing “Shadowmaker” in April, and now Lonewolf resurfaces with “Army of The Damned,” due out in the end of March.So, if it’s just a name and a date coincidence, then who cares right? After all, Running Wild took its name from Judas Priest. Well, Lonewolf, while maintaining its own identity, also took on some of Running Wild’s major characteristics, namely the near pinpoint accuracy of the guitar sound as well as a tendency to share similar lyrical content. From its beginning Lonewolf has been, more or less, a testament to the career of Running Wild. Though despite the comparisons, I thoroughly enjoyed all of Lonewolf’s albums, including “Army of the Damned.”The band continues this trend with more tasty power metal. However, it is virtually impossible to review this album without bringing up the obvious comparisons to Running Wild. For example, the song “Lonewolf” is more than highly reminiscent of “Adventure Galley,” “Cold” has virtually the same riff as “Black Hand Inn” and “Tally Ho” blisters off the same sound as “Riding the Storm.”Comparisons aside, Lonewolf actually does have an identity all its own and it is it shown nowhere better than through Jens Börner’s vocals, which sound much more like Grave Digger’s Chris Boltendahl than Rock ‘N’ Rolf’s. Then there are distinctive tracks like the epic “Army of the Damned,” “The Last Defenders” and “The One You Never See” (featuring the king of album cameos, Blaze Bayley). Lonewolf also continues its tradition of amazingly catchy choruses with “Crawling to Hell,” “Celtic Heart” and album favorite “Hell Bent for Metal.”So why does the world need two bands that sound like Running Wild? Well, after Running Wild released “The Rivalry” in 1998, the band was on the decline. The holes that popped in the aged/stagnant sinking pirate ship were cemented with “true to form Running Wild” style of Lonewolf, which diehard fans craved. In many ways, Lonewolf exceeded the latter Running Wild albums…and it did so as a more of a cohesive band. But irony strikes again, as Lonewolf's mainman Jens Börner is also his band’s only original member. Coincidence?" - Metal Underground.com
    $10.00
  • Domestic jewel box edition has the identical contents to the European version."Tim Bowness, one of the most expressive voices in contemporary music returns with the second chapter of his brand new, solo sonic experiments. Released roughly a year after Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, Stupid Things That Mean The World can be seen as a direct follow-up that not only manages to consolidate his strengths, but also takes a step forward towards new territories. I was anxious to hear the results as the man never fails to create something interesting and gripping (at the very least).Although a sequel, STTMTW contrasts its predecessor in both the atmosphere it creates, as well as the emotions it evokes. Since the production is substantially airier this time around, it manages to unfold quicker than ADD, creating shorter, but profound tunes. We get cuts like the title track or 'Where You've Always Been' whose playful, sustained rhythms bring forth quite an unusual, uplifting side of Bowness we rarely get to see. However, this is only a part of a darker record that often feels tensed and frustrated. The characters he portrays have missed several opportunities over the years, feel overwhelmed by life, ugly or devoid of any feelings that once made them feel alive. The most representative numbers are 'The Great Electric Teenage Dream' and 'Press Reset'. There's anger in the powerful guitars and regret in the nostalgic piano lines, whereas the cold, industrial touch present especially on the latter, magnifies this uneasy vibe. Tim also delivers his parts with a poignant tone, boosting the tracks with some of his heaviest hitting moments.On the other side of the spectrum, we have two of the most gorgeous, subdued tracks on the album, 'Sing To Me' and 'Know That You Were Loved' lying in between the aforementioned rockers. They are a lot more comfortable for older fans as each shares similarities with previous helmed projects. 'Sing To Me' stemmed from a 20-year old No-Man demo, entitled 'Best Boy Electric', recorded somewhere in the middle of Wild Opera's recording sessions. Tim reworked it and created a lovely ballad with eerie guitar leads, warm bass and echoed piano lines. Sound-wise, it reminisces 'Smiler at 50' from ADD. 'Know That You Were Loved' is a mostly acoustic affair that brings to mind the low-key No-Man album, Together We're Stranger. Occasional lap steel touches and guitar solos embellish the stripped foundation, yet his voice is once more the focal point.There is a dark appeal to Stupid Things That Mean The World that some might or might not be fond of. Abandoned Dancehall Dreams was a melancholic yet grandiose affair that was easier to wrap your head around. This time, the often bare bones instrumentals push Tim's vocal melodies in front, usually focusing more on the lyrical content than the music itself. Moreover, helped by some elite members of the British nu-prog/art rock wave such as Bruce Soord of Pineapple Thief (who also produced the album), Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree, long time collaborators Stephen Bennet, Phil Manzanera and Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson, Michael Bearpark or the classical composer Andrew Keeling (among others), Bowness has managed to avoid repetition and create a piece of work that truly complements its prequel. This is a beautiful, cohesive album that stirs so many emotions and speaks for itself. It might not be as immediate or as catchy as ADD, but does the most important thing: paving new grounds." - Sputnik Music
    $15.00
  • Sixth album from Italy's best export since the invention of neapolitan style pizza. The band gets a bit of heat since they achieved break out success. Far from a sell out, Lacuna Coil is as heavy as ever. The band's focus remains on the co-vocalists Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Filled with chunky riffing and some slick production, not a hell of a lot has changed. Lacuna Coil's music has always been laced with hooks. You want to call it poppy? Go ahead but its what they have always done. Want to hear where Evanescence got their sound? Check out Lacuna Coil. They may not have been the first in the genre but they are certainly one of the standard bearers. Highly recommended.
    $4.00
  • Recorded during the band's live performance residency in Tokyo, this is a complete rendition of the first album, Storia Di Un Minuto."To celebrate the 40 years anniversary of "L'isola di niente", PFM have recorded an incredible series of live albums, where they play the original first 5 LPs tracklist in its entirety for the first time ever. This energetic new version it is called "Un minuto" features the first historic LP "Storia di un minuto" with all its fantastic tracks including, for the first time, "Grazie davvero", never played live before.Released in CD papersleeve, "Un minuto" is part of a series which includes the first PFM's five albums reproduced live, to be collected in an elegant box called "Il suono del tempo"."
    $19.00
  • "In 1971 they signed to John Peel'sDandelion label and remained a favourite of his. Eccentric, accomplished and unique, Supersister's albums are a joy to any fan of original music. Esoteric Recordings are pleased to reissue their classic second album with additional bonus tracks comprising single cuts from 1971 and fully restored artwork. Open your ears to Supersister!"
    $17.00
  • The dinosaurs awake! New studio album from one of the longest running progressive minded hard rock bands around. If you listen carefully you can hear Mick Box's bones creak!!
    $16.00
  • New "encore edition" included 3 bonus tracks (one of which is unreleased), new 3-D artwork, and 3-D glasses.Insane instrumental tech metal project from former Reflux guitarist Tosin Abasi. The album was engineered by Misha Mansoor, the equally adept guitarist for the (amazingly) unsigned band Periphery. Mansoor contributes some guitar parts and is responsible for the drum programming. While I strongly prefer an actual drummer, its a marginal distraction from this intense guitar album. Abasi plays 7 and 8 string guitar and the solos are pretty sick. The whole thing has a Spastic Ink meets Canvas Solaris vibe. I understand that Abasi has a live version of the band. The album is pretty crazy - I can only imagine what the live band is like. Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • One of my favorite albums from Threshold. Damian Wilson is a real standout and the music's subtle celtic underpinning give the album a distinct flavor. New edition comes with 3 bonus tracks.
    $18.00