Release date: April 3, 2006

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After a 4-year absence from the limelight, German Progressive Metal masters Vanden Plas return with Christ O, their fifth full-length studio effort, and behold, they just keep getting better!

The Music

There is just something about Vanden Plas. They sound quite Progressive, but they also maintain a steady focus on song and melody, and this grants them with deep appreciation from a wide range of listeners. Christ O doesn’t differ from this, and it gets right to you even from the first couple of spins.

Opening with the quite intense Progressive Metal title track, “Christ O,” Vanden Plas expose their talent for blistering solos, catchy choruses, and an over all intriguing melodic, harmonic feeling. “Postcard To God” is pretty much down the same path, whereas “Wish You Were Here” is a tad more Symphonic, but perhaps a bit more ordinary, as well. However, the triplet groove theme is a pretty neat feature!

The Progressive nature of “Silently,” combined with the passionate dynamics and a brilliant groove established in the late keyboard solo definitely makes this one of the best tracks! Even the less Progressive piece, “Shadow I Am,” rates quite high, with a hard and heavy approach, supported by a totally far-out bass line and another catchy chorus. But, the following track, “Fireroses Dance,” proves they’ve got even more to offer. Look out for the Oriental and later choral movement before the last chorus. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the ballad-like intro!

“Somewhere Alone In The Dark” is more along typical Progressive lines, but perhaps a bit anonymous compared to other tracks on board, in spite of the deep end guitar riffs. However, they get right back on track with “January Sun,” which offers a sophisticated and explosive guitar riff and crescendo some 6 minutes into the song. With its 10 minutes running length, this becomes the most epic song on the album. “Lost In Silence” nicely rounds off the album in a ballad style, with Vanden Plas trademark harmony vocals and a guitar figure possibly inspired by a poetic Ritchie Blackmore.

But wait, there is more! On the initial pressing of Christ O, “Gethsemane,” from the Classic Rock Opera Jesus Christ Superstar, is included as track 10. Vanden Plas delivers a most impressive and utterly convincing interpretation of this picturesque piece.

The Band

Vanden Plas have achieved success because of their technical brilliance, but they never seem to compromise on the artistic feeling and integrity. Singer Andy Kuntz is especially brilliant, but the solo work by Stephan Lill (guitar) and Günter Werno (keyboards) also reveals extended emotional insight. When looking at the big picture, one cannot help but to be mightily impressed. Oh what the heck: it’s stunning, that’s what it is!

The Verdict

First, any fan of Vanden Plas simply has to have this album, obviously. Second, all fans of nearly any kind of Metal ought to check out Christ O. Finally, it’s pretty much an essential album to any Progressive Metal collection.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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