CD Review: Vanden Plas – The Seraphic Clockwork

Vanden PlasVanden Plas’s new album “The Seraphic Clockwork” will be released by Frontier Records June 22, 2010 in the U.S.A, and has already been released in Europe. The German progressive metal band recorded The Seraphic Clockwork at “Bazement Studio”, and consist of Andy Kuntz (vocals), Stephen Lill (guitars), Andreas Lill (drums), Torsten Reichert (bass), and Gunter Werno (keyboards).  They are based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and are also involved in theatre as well as rock musicals.  Vanden Plas is also known for recording two national anthems for the local league football club “FC Kaiserslautern”.

The Seraphic Clockwork was written as an epic tale of a protagonist that goes through a journey in time from 16th century Rome, back to Jerusalem 33 anno Domini.  The character comes under a spell of an Old Testament prophecy and the album chronicles his journeys as he faces his Jehovah given destiny. Vanden Plas calls this album science fiction, but others may see it as a Bible thumping. Whatever the case may be, it is still a progressive metal album that gets your attention at the start. Many great bands hail from Germany such as Scorpions, Accept, Rammstein, and Gamma Ray for example. Unlike Rammstein’s albums, Vanden Plas’s new album is in English with the exception of their bonus track “Eleyson”.

It is so easy to get swept away into heavy metal land right at the beginning of the first track Frequency and get lost halfway through, wondering “where did those banging riffs go?”, and to not find your way back until the beginning of the second track Holes in the Sky.  As did all the rest. As impressive as Andy Kuntz’s flawless vocals are, and the excellent skills demonstrated by all the band members on this album, I have to say that without a movie to watch to go with the dramatic sounds in The Seraphic Clockwork, most rockers are going to hit fast forward to the next song all the way to the end. It might be a case of too much lightning and not enough thunder – a bit like the rock without the roll. The talent is there to make some of the greatest metal in recent years, but sometimes you just want to raise a fist a yell rather than be preached to.