New album of this German band. Characterized by mixing heavy metal and progressive rock, Vanden Plas has taken its place with the most famous bands of this style. Not long after releasing their last live CD they offer us a new studio album. "Beyond Daylight" is their most ambitious work in which you can see how they have introduced new elements that might, or might not, make their music more interesting. It was recorded near the end of 2001. "Beyond Daylight" introduces us to a different world in which their singer and lyricist introduces us to 9 stories that take place in different times. There have not been any changes in the formation of the band since they edited their last studio album "Far Off Grace", so let's concentrate in the main thing, their music:
The first song of this CD is called "Nightwalker". An aggressive guitar riff accompanies the first keyboard chords. It's a song catchy enough to make you totally concentrate on the listening of the CD. I can notice how their guitarist Stephan Lill has decided to keep the aggressiveness of their sound but giving it more body, achieving a solid but clear sound. "Cold Wind" is no exception and again it starts with an aggressive riff, even more aggressive than before. Especially in this song is where you can notice the progression of their singer. A great rhythmic base for a great vocal melody. Maintaining their personal style that characterizes them I notice also the influence that Dream Theater has printed on the band, many parts remind me a lot of them. Continuing with the intense listening of the CD we come across "Scarlet Flowerfields". It's one of the best songs of this record, and in my opinion it's one of the best the band has got. It starts with a gentle acoustic guitar arpeggio that warns us that the song is going to be calmer than the previous ones. It features a great chorus with a very romantic and attractive melody and a very good solo section that remind once more of Dream Theater. An ecclesiastic canticle takes us to "Healing Tree". In this song in particular we can observe that Vanden Plas have chosen a more commercial attitude. "End Of All Days" is another great song with a catchy melody that makes us focus again completely on the album. We carry on shelling the CD and we come across "Free The Fire", the most power-metal track of the whole album. It has a beginning that can remind us of "Fear Factory", but straight away you can notice the double bass drum that characterizes this style of music. It's unusual of the band to make these kind of songs, but it's better to be too diverse than too monotonous. Time now for the ballad "Can You Hear Me", once more, their keyboard player Günter Werno delights us with a beautiful song where we can appreciate that these guys can also compose slow songs and with feeling. "Phoenix" introduces us once again to the aggressiveness that Vanden Plas has us used to. Intermittent and convincing riffs and a catchy chorus. It is worth while pointing out the great guitar solo of this track full of feeling. And without realizing we reach the last track, "Beyond Daylight" that gives name to the album. It stands out from the rest regarding the lyrics and music, in fact it seems like thought for another project. Just over 10 minutes where Vanden Plas clear any doubts about their talent as musicians and music writers. A great chorus using a 7/4 beat (it is becoming quite popular in this style of music) and a slow central part that makes you think that it is part of a rock opera. Great expressivity on vocals by Andi Kuntz and a good work in the composition. It's a pity that not all the songs are like this one.
Once finished the review of this CD, we will finish by doing an overall rating of it. Vanden Plas carry on in the same style, progressing of course as it should be usual in all bands. The only thing that will affect the rating of this CD is that sometimes it is too commercial. A similar case is Dream Theater's "Falling Into Infinity" that was a total disaster due to the same cause. Hopefully following albums won't have the same mistake and they will carry on offering us great albums like "Far Off Grace" and "The God Thing".