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Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Released: 2015, Frontiers Records
Long running German progressive metallers Vanden Plas are one of the most respected bands within the genre. This respect has been well-earned over a series of incredible albums, without a weak link in 25+ years of recording. Last year that band released the first half of their vampiric two-part tale, NETHERWORLD which I gave a perfect 5/5 score to. Merely one year later, Vanden Plas are closing out the Chronicles of the Immortals with NETHERWORLD II.
It’s immediately clear that this is a sequel album. It’s adorned with another visually striking cover which harkens back to the previous album, and the track list starts at Vision 11, picking right up where Part 1 ended. Musically too, this album continues mining the same progressive, melodic, yet heavy musical territory Vanden Plas is known for. By this point of their long career, there aren’t a lot of surprises to be had, but it’s never anything less than a joy to hear these guys do their thing. When the sprawling 13+ minute “Blood of Eden” is both the most complex and most enjoyable song on the album, you know they are doing things right.
While there are no weak tracks, for the first time in a while, Vanden Plas have presented a couple of songs that are less than memorable. “Diabolica Comedia” is standard progressive metal that is good, but not as good as these guys are capable of, which knocks this album down a bit from its predecessor. It boils down to this: while NETHERWORLD II is not the best effort from the Vanden Plas, it’s still excellent and is a must-buy for progressive metal fans.
1. Vision 11: In My Universe
2. Vision 12: Godmaker’s Temptation
3. Vision 13: Stone Roses’ Edge
4. Vision 14: Blood of Eden
5. Vision 15: Monster
6. Vision 16: Diabolica Comedia
7. Vision 17: Where Have all the Children Gone
8. Vision 18: The Last Fight
9. Vision 19: Circle of the Devil
Andy Kuntz: Vocals
Stephan Lill: Guitar
Gunter Werno: Keyboards
Torsten Reichert: Bass
Andreas Lill: Drums