VANDEN PLAS – The Seraphic Clockwork

VANDEN PLAS - The Seraphic Clockwork
  • 8/10
    VANDEN PLAS - The Seraphic Clockwork - 8/10


Frontier Records
Release date: June 4, 2010

User Review
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“On the day when the sun disappears, then I see the light in a city of angels”. These cryptic words from the opening track of the latest Vanden Plas release The Seraphic Clockwork provide an invitation to go on a journey with them. This journey will take you through eight tracks of arguably the most proficient Progressive Metal offering this year.

The Seraphic Clockwork is Vanden Plas’ sixth full-length studio album. The German quintet is composed of Andy Kurtz (vocals), Stephan Lil (guitars), Torsten Reichert (bass), Gunter Werno (keyboards), and Andrea Lil (drums). The definition of Seraphic is “beautiful and pure”. That clearly defines the content of this album. This album is not for the casual listener. One must find a quiet place of solitude, and then close their eyes to become enchanted with the epic songs and deep storylines.

As one travels along this “beautiful and pure” journey, you will encounter a very polished and precision sound. Each composition provides a multitude of musical themes, complete with orchestral and keyboard melodies that will astound. It should also be noted that Stephan Lil’s meticulous guitar work, which ranges from soft acoustic to grinding Thrash, is a true highlight of the journey. The broad range of vocalist Andy Kurtz produces a nasal tinge on the runs and higher notes. This prevents Kurtz to fully capture his audience in the musical trance of which he is passionately trying to achieve.

Many of the tracks on this release follow a very predictable format; a slow keyboard or orchestral intro which turns (sometimes very dramatically) into the verse/chorus section. Then onto a long middle section which will take the listener through overlapping keyboard and guitar solos at various tempos. The song will then come to a close with a reprise of the chorus in a slightly higher key. There isn’t really one song that differentiates itself or defines the album. Each track takes on a life of its own becoming a journey within the journey.

Though more popular in Europe than the U.S., Vanden Plas could easily make its mark on the American Prog Metal scene with this release. Many fans that currently follow similar American artists such as Dream Theater or Symphony X could find themselves new fans of Vanden Plas. The quintet has much to offer both musically and lyrically. They are definitely worth a listen and should be added to the list of heavyweights among the Progressive Metal genre.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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