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Vanden Plas - "Beyond Daylight"
InsideOut 2002

Wow I'm totally surprised. I've got more than I expected. I never imagine that band's fourth release will be even stronger than "Far Off Grace". The band took another step forward. This is real progressive fantasy. The most progressive record from a band up to date. And on the other hand the band succeed to keep everything that was asked from their music style. This release means a point in band's evolution when we can say: "Yes, they found balance between classic heavy metal of German school and progressive." It perfectly collides into what we understand under description as a progressive metal.

Beyond Daylight finally enthrones the band and gives the guys to take a leadership of Europe's progressive metal movement. The band went through serious problem. A disease of Stephan. Doctors even told him, that he won't be able to play guitar anymore, I mean anymore on Vanden Plas way. That would be a real tragedy for a band. But he recovered himself and did his performance fantastic again. The band is still in the same line up as it was on their first release "Colour Temple" from 1994.

Amazing opener is called "Nightwalker". A typical band's fashioned song. A straight shot in the head from the first second. It contains powerful drive rhythms, stunning hooks, atmospheric keyboard parts and a melodic vocal lines. All these elements are included throughout entire record. A great compositions that will never let you to get lost in for example extreme long lasting solos or psychedelic passages that could kill the dynamics of the songs. You won't find that on this record.

So, whenever we have some more progressive parts that are harder to digest, Andy's melodic vocals perfectly balanced it. Andy improved very much his singing on higher sequences. To keep the atmosphere in refrains of "Cold Wind" or "Phoenix" real high, he simply stays on lower sequences, that are well backgrounded with higher vocal choirs.

We have two progressive highlights. "End Of All Days" and "Beyond Daylight". Opening riff of "Free The Fire" reminds me very much on Angra's music style. We can also find a ballad "Can You Hear Me" with atmospheric keyboards in front and Andy's emotional singing. "Healing Tree" is half ballad with beautiful chorus. All choruses are melancholic again. Riffs in them are opened. More space is left here for rhythm line to strike. And this was used very well.

A production is alive again. A sound typical for the band. Another great thing is that lead breaks or simply breaks and passages are sometimes completely unpredictable. They happened when you at least expect them. Pay attention on a bridge in "Nightwalker" song just before the verse... "Where Are You Going? ...that will send you further to another dimension.

Author:   Aleš

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