|Review: Vanden Plas - Colour Temple|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 1995
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: November 11, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.07/5 (81.43%) (14 Votes)
It pains me when I meet Prog Metal fans that haven't heard Vanden Plas. They are one of the best in the business, with a rich discography of music behind them, and it grows and grows. Their 1995 debut Colour Temple is where it all started, and it's just one of their great works, but it deserves a listen from anyone remotely interested in progressive music, and in fact, metal in general.
These Germans took the blueprint from Dream Theater's first two albums and rammed it against riffs they pilfered from Savatage and Queensryche. It's metal, of course, but there are many prog rock elements, too, and those of you into bands such as Enchant and Spock's Beard will understand why Vanden Plas get shoved against them as much as Fates Warning and Sieges Even. From Andy Kuntz's fragile yet powerful vocals to the swirling keys of Gunter Werno, Vanden Plas are a class act all the way, and even though Colour Temple is their simplest release, it still gets the mind working like much of their later work. In the riffs, we have prog, power, and even hair metal inflections, and the melodies themselves are catchy and sophisticated, not over-doing it in any respect, but just letting them soar with Andy's silken croon.
The production is thick and enveloping, and the songs produce one classic after another. From the energetic "Father" to the ass-kicking "Push", straight into the epic "Where The Wind Blows" and from that into "My Crying" and the superb "Soul Survives"...well, you get the idea. There isn't a bad tune on here, and the pace varies a lot (though not within songs), giving you a different side to the band with every attempt. There aren't many albums as immediate as this in the Prog Metal world, and you'd be a fool not to snap it up. Crunchy but with a creamy middle, Colour Temple is one of the genre's finest pieces, and if you liked Dream Theater so much your love for them has waned, say hello to your new favorite band.
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