German progressive metal masters Vanden Plas return after a 4 year absence with their 9th studio album, the first of two part series titled ‘The Ghost Xperiment – AwakenIng.’ Part 2, ‘The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination’ is expected in 2020. With an accomplished 30+ year career, where could the prog metal veterans take their fans this time around? The answer is one of their most melodic and accessible outings, and one that is still certain to please the Vanden Plas audience.
The opening riff of “Cold December Night” sets the tone right away. The sinister guitar and double bass explosion that enters is the perfect intro this hard-hitting number. For anyone, not familiar with the band, this is as good a song as any to claim a new fan. The chorus is tremendous and memorable from the first line. Add in the solo and epic ending, and you have yourself a killer opening track. The second track “The Phantoms Of Prends-Toi-Gardes” is a great transition from the opener, keeping the same feel with a slighter slower tempo. The chorus enters quickly at the 40 second mark and is another home run.
The next three tracks are each around the 8-9 minute mark, the highlight of the 3 being the track “Three Ghosts”. The band enter acoustic territory here for the verses but the chorus is another fist-pump moment. Meanwhile, “Devil’s Poetry” goes in an even heavier direction, with a middle breakdown where the band showoff their prog metal chops. The album closes with the 1-2 punch of “Fall From the Skies” and the title track “The Ghost Xperiment”, also the album’s first single.
The vocal harmonies are flawless, the guitars and keys on display at all the right moments, and the metal rhythm section is top notch. This is another solid album from a band that know what they do well. The Ghost Xperiment should create a good amount of anticipation for the sequel ‘Illumination’ due out next year.
Released on Oct 11th, 2019 on Frontiers Music
Key Tracks: Cold December Night, Three Ghosts
1. Cold December Night
2. The Phantoms Of Prends-Toi-Gardes
3. Three Ghosts
4. Devils´ Poetry
5. Fall From The Skies
6. The Ghost Xperiment
Andy Kuntz – Vocals
Stephan Lill – Guitar
Günter Werno – Keyboards
Andreas Lill – Drums
Torsten Reichert – Bass