Vanden Plas
The Ghost Xperiment - Awakening

1. Cold December Night
2. The Phantoms Of Prends-Toi-Gardes
3. Three Ghosts
4. Devils´ Poetry
5. Fall From The Skies
6. The Ghost Xperiment

Stephan Lill - Guitars
Torsten Reichert - Bass Guitar
Andy Kuntz - Vocals
Andreas Lill - Drums
Günter Werno - Keyboards

1994 - Colour Temple
1997 - The God Thing
1999 - Far Off Grace
2000 - Spirit of Live (live)
2002 - Beyond Daylight
2006 - Christ 0
2010 - The Seraphic Clockwork

2014 - Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld
2015 - Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld II
2017 - The Seraphic Live Works

Jürgen Rehberg - Vocals (backing)
Manuel Lothschütz - Vocals (backing)
Markus Teske - Vocals (backing)
Oliver Hartmann - Vocals (backing)

Recorded with Markus Teske at Bazement Studio
Mixed and mastered by Markus Teske
Artwork by Stan-W Decker

Released 2019-10-11
Reviewed 2019-11-26


frontiers records

Vanden  Plas returns with a new album, their ninth and the start of their second two-part concept release. The Ghost Xperience is what they call it and the first part Awaken is out now, the second part Illumination will come next year. We will follow Gideon Grace in this story that I will not go that much into as I don’t have the full story just the very short things that I have read about it so I haven’t really payed that much attention to the concept. Therefore it is good that you don’t really need to pay attention to the concept to get something out of the songs. The band’s strong theatrical progressive metal works well as it is and it will be familiar to anyone who knows the works of Vanden Plas as they have being doing more or less the same thing since the debut in 1994.

Continuity is both a blessing and a curse in this case; I think that for the first time when listening to these guys I find that I lose interest towards the end of the album. The familiar becomes too much, and the high quality production, grand arrangements, strong vocals and powerful guitars doesn’t thrill as they did on previous releases. It is like a cheaper version of the latest studio album I reviewed, an album that like this one was a first part in a double album concept. The variation is good, but the album a tad long, that may also help in this feeling of too much familiarity. Perhaps paying attention to the concept helps alleviate this somewhat, I think Frontiers should pass along the lyrics and information on the concept when releasing their promos, that would the critics to come up with a more informed conclusion.

Concepts aside this is a good album with good songs but it is hard not to be critical towards Vanden Plas as other than the concept it doesn’t seem to be many fresh ideas around – perhaps the concept isn’t really that fresh either. But while the fresh thinking might be lacking, the quality isn’t lacking. With excellent production, good son-writing and impressive performances it is hard to dismiss Vanden Plas and their most recent album. Vanden Plas fans will find the album very familiar, and they will probably really like it as well considering that it is the same kind of album as they always have done. I would have liked something fresher, something that dared to thread outside their well trampled down paths – perhaps something slightly insane.

The opening track is the highlight for me, setting a great tone that fades slightly the further into the album you get. Perhaps slightly boring but also a theatrical album with strong songs and enjoyable music, a solid high quality production is what it is. You ought to look closer to Awakening, the odds are good that you will like it.





Label: Frontiers Records
Three similar bands: Dream Theater/Pagan's Mind/Rush
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

läs på svenska