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Album Review: VANDEN PLAS The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things


It’s been four years since we’ve heard from Vanden Plas and their last album The Ghost Xperiment-Illumination. Haven’t heard of them before? Perhaps it’s about time you gave them a listen. German-based Vanden Plas have been around since 1991 and have composed a total of 4 rock operas. They’ve even performed with live orchestras, solidifying their place in the progressive rock and symphonic metal scene. Despite their tenure and output, they’ve gone under the radar of much of the metal community. It’s a shame because Vanden Plas have a remarkably consistent legacy of solid, thoughtful records.

An impressive feat for any band, Vanden Plas have as of now released 11 studio albums and one EP. Each release has songs layered in complexity and are catchy enough to create an easy, enjoyable listening experience. Within their discography, you get all the chops of progressive music without feeling like you’re doing ear-homework. They also manage the difficult feat of creating a range of styles across their catalog while still delivering a sound that is uniquely theirs.

The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things is a melancholy release, offering moments of brightness like sun beams breaking through dense, grey clouds. Despite it’s sense of longing, the album is a well-composed group of songs that offers harmonic, twisting synths and organ-forward solos. The mix of prog and symphonic is effortless and it reminds me of a less bombastic version of old Dream Theater.

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Each song is mid-tempo and tracks like “The Sacrilegious Mind Machine” show off their proggy quirkiness. There are no growls to be had here – rather you’ll find clean, warble-y vocals that fit the music quite well. There are moments where a choir comes into play, pushing the music into the symphonic territory. With just a dash of epicness, the choir plays well with radiant guitar solos and yearning choruses.

The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things only boasts 6 songs, but as you can probably expect from an experimental band the tracks are quite long, ranging from 6 to 16 minutes. Tracks like “They Call me God” are unapologetically emotional and a hair over-the-top lyrically. It’s welcome, and a bit indulgent to listen to.

Overall, The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things is a good listen. I don’t think it’s their best work, but I like the direction in which they’re headed. According to their press release, “Vanden Plas is embracing a ‘back to the roots’ direction”. Clearly, this album is full of passion. However, it is laying the mood on just a bit too thick. Their previous works are moody too, however this one is especially sentimental. Give Vanden Plas a shot if you’re looking for some accessible metal that will be sure to satisfy your melodic tooth.

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