It's been four years between albums for the German progressive metal group Vanden Plas. Members of the band have been doing German theater and vocalist Andy Kuntz embarked on the side project Abydos. Their latest opus is loosely based on Alexandre Dumas' "The Count Of Monte Cristo."
This is an album that's larger than life with epic orchestral sections, complex solos and painstaking arrangements. It's a work with a noticeable arc of musical ebbs and flows and superb dynamics. The musicianship is outstanding as well. And most importantly they are able to combine emotion with technique.
Kuntz's vocals have improved dramatically. His time in the theater served him well as his vocals here are spot on. The album ends with the song "Gethsemane" from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. It's an appropriate way to end the album, one that is a must have for progressive metal fans.
(From Chad Bowar, heavymetal.about.com)