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Vanden Plas - "Colour Temple (re-release)"
InsideOut 2002

What I hold right now in my hands is re-released version of a Vanden Plas first CD.It was originally released in 1994. Five years after Dream Theater began to shake the music scene and spreaded the new progressive "disease" in Europe.

"Father" is straight opener, with powerful heavy guitar riffing. Song with traditional German heavy metal sound. Alive! A driving rhythms with great atmospheric keyboards and melodic vocal lines. But on very special way, this is called Vanden Plas way. This is undoubtedly a new refreshment for music scene. Next song called "Push" is for my opinion based even more on power metal riffs. Refrains are melancholic, built on great melodies. Vocal lines in refrains are well backgrounded, that raises atmosphere.

A real candy and a song that shows a directions of band's further evolution is called "Soul Survives", in other words a complete progressive beauty. A stunning hooks, a great debate between guitar and keyboards in solos, followed by great drum bridges, that will satisfy all progressive maniacs for sure. As a composition "Soul Survives" is absolute highlight of Colour Temple. Things that make this record more than just a great band's beginning are non-cliché style of bands music performance, a great atmosphere during entire playing time of a record, and what is most important and very hard to achieve for majority of progressive metal bands, that every single song has its head and its tail. The band shows a great feeling for composing music.

"Judas" is another song that is more power drive oriented, while "Days Of Thunder" includes some glam metal approaches. "Days Of Thunder" is a bonus song, that confirms a roots from which the band derides.

We can find another fantastic composition (a second highlight of a record) in a final song called "How Many Tears" (don't worry, this isn't a Helloween cover). What steps out in this song are undoubtedly Andy's vocals. He made his improvisations very good here. Andy is by no means a right man to handle the microphone, with very special colour of his vocal. Easy to recognize and easy to remember. He can express very well his emotions through singing, never forcing his vocals to the limits when there is no need to. His vocal becomes on higher sequences sometimes very "thin" ("Father" refrain for example), but as I said, this is well compensated with his special vocal.

It is not over yet. A real surprise is re-release of "Accult" in the same package with "Colour Temple". So we have double CD re-release. "Accult" is entirely unplugged. Here we can find some covers from a bands that influenced on a Vanden Plas in what they are doing. "Kayleigh" (Marillion) for example. Some of the original Vanden Plas songs are as well included on "Accult" ("My Crying", "How Many Tears", "Father", "Days Of Thunder").

First release is more than just good. It contains great compositions with all qualities that are asked from a progressive metal standards. It is still more power metal oriented, but on the other hand, it shows a directions of further evolution of a band. "My Crying", "Father", "Sole Survives", "How Many Tears" are complete progressive metal attacks. Production is great and keeps the atmosphere real alive through entire record.

Author:   Ale¹

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