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Vanden Plas: The Seraphic Live Works
Vanden Plas - The Seraphic Live Works CD Album Review

Vanden Plas; The Seraphic Live Works

Melodic Progressive Metal

One of the most astounding things about Germany's Vanden Plas is that, over their thirty plus year career, they have the same original band members. That is rarely found within the naturally volatile music industry. Also of some curiosity, until this year, the band had released only one live album, 2000's Spirit Of Live. Now, Vanden Plas drops The Seraphic Live Works in a CD/DVD package recorded at Prog Power XII in Atlanta in 2011. Yeah. You read that right. This is concert recorded almost six years ago. The natural follow up questions ensue. "Where was the video all this time?" Or, "Why release something this dated, now?" I have no clue.

Vanden Plas Band Photo

Vanden Plas

I don't know if those questions matter all that much. Suffice to say, The Seraphic Live Works is a fine recording and an exceptional performance by the band. One of the things that makes this show and recording work is simply the venue. The folks at Prog power can be minimalists when it comes to concert production and staging. Both the audio and visual focus is on the band's music and performance. It's like having a fresh blank slate, or stage in this case, to perform, and Vanden Plas sounds enthusiastic and precise. Of the two elements, audio and visual, the former takes precedence, but the latter has some interest. The cameras feature the usual angles, from individual band members to wider shots. But, here and there, you get double and triple angles place together. Also for the song Holes In The Sky, they splice live performance with the music video.

As for the set list, as you would expect, the lion's share of the songs are from the 2010 release The Seraphic Clockwork, with additional songs from the previous albums. Notable of the latter is Silently from Christ 0, which gets stretched nearly a full three minutes in performance. Perhaps the greater conundrum of this concert is that it is from six years ago. This recording may best be suited to long time fans, who would have greater familiarity with this older material. Nevertheless, as said earlier, The Seraphic Live Works is an exceptional performance by Vanden Plas, and those same fans will be pleased. I close with one final observation, perhaps only for some grins. While the band members try to engage the audience, they aren't always that animated at times, with the exception of vocalist Andy Kuntz. His movements are large and dramatic, reminding me of a heavy metal Joe Cocker, and he's very good at doing air guitar riffs. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

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The Bottom Line

While nearly six years old, suffice to say, Vanden Plas' The Seraphic Live Works is a fine recording and an exceptional performance by the band. Easily recommended.

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