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Review: Vanden Plas - The Seraphic Clockwork
Vanden Plas
www.vandenplas.de
The Seraphic Clockwork

Label: Frontiers Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 72:31
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: December 7, 2010
Reviewed by: Joseph Allen
Readers Rating
for:
The Seraphic Clockwork

Rated 4.13/5 (82.5%) (24 Votes)
Review


Ah, Vanden Plas. That prog powerhouse known for priding composition, bombast, and solid instrumentation above all else, has finally released a new masterpiece with The Seraphic Clockwork.

I love bombastic and epic prog, so this album was a no-brainer for me, as it's so epic every song might as well be a new album. Don't let that make you think every song is a 20 minute epic with 12 minute solos, however. Every song has a clear focus, and aside from the rare instrumental break, stays glued to that path until it builds into a massive conclusion. Like Christ.0, there is an increased emphasis on the guitars, which play winding solos and kinetic, driving riffs, while the ever-present keys help give them even more momentum. These riffs, coupled with the pounding, ever-versatile drum work of Andreas Lill and the soaring croon of Andy Kuntz, make every song huge and catchy, so much so that you can get lost in the album for hours. Bass is unfortunately a rare standout on the album, but that's the thing with these guys; there really isn't a bottom or top end, it's just Vanden Plas.

Unfortunately, the hugeness of the album (it is over an hour of mid-paced prog, after all) may turn off some listeners, but as with any other Vanden Plas album, I didn't immediately love this one either. Vanden Plas make albums that are deceptive, with instruments putting hooks in your head that will never leave, and after a brief grace period, will pull you back for more. This one certainly doesn't change that.

Every song on the album is great, but I do have to single out the first half as being stronger, purely on the basis of the melodies being more up-front, due to the shorter song lengths. But for the dedicated listener, the longer songs will yield even more understated genius. Overall, this album continues Vanden Plas' legacy as one of the most consistent prog bands alive, and I can only hope they keep making albums this good.

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