Friday, November 13, 2015

Vanden Plas - Chronicles of The Immortals: Netherworld II (2015)

Growing older comes with several down sides, one being the sensation that every year feels shorter and shorter, giving you the realization that you are closer to your demise. I still cannot believe that there has gone a full year since the Germans in Vanden Plas released "Chronicles of The Immortals: Netherworld (Path I)", and that they are now ready to unveil the second part of this massive saga, in which they created together with the German author Wolfgang Hohlbein. Oh, how time flies by...

Anyway, let us snap out of this depressive mood, because the first part was a fantastic experience, so naturally, the second part follows in the same foot steps, both musically and atmospherically. The music is still classic Vanden Plas, very epic with several heavy and melodic riffs thrown into it, creating a complex synergy that is hard to resist. And to aid the music, the band has certainly brought their A-game, especially the singer Andy Kuntz, whom I have always thought had a unique, but strange voice. Here though, his voice fits perfectly with the music and helps in creating a stunning mood. Andy has never sounded better than what he does in this album.

Another thing that has not changed since the first album is that the songs are called visions. This was one of few complaints I had on the first part, and my mind over it has not changed since, it looks so dumb that they are labeled as 11even, 12elve, 13teen, and so on. Please, just decide on if you want to use numbers or letters, do not compromise. I know that this critique is petty, but it still bugs me.

The album opens in a beautiful fashion with "In My Universe", a slow, epic tune that drags you in into the Netherworld and gives you a first person perspective of all that is happening here. the same tempo goes in the following song, "Godmaker's Temptation", before kicking it up a notch with "Stone Roses Edge", a heavier song that still contains the same amount of epic within it. These thrilling riffs makes my bones chill in an exciting way, the same thing happened when I listened to "Godmaker" in the first part.

Another highlight of the album is the grand epic "Blood of Eden (All Love Must Die)", a three part, 13 minute song where the band shows all of their skills. Even if it is easy to distinguish the three parts aside, they fit together nicely and creates a great epic piece that serves as the main part of the story. But my favourite part of the album comes in the same part in which some of my favourite movie scenes of all time takes place, which is the final battle. Cleverly titled "The Last Fight", this track mixes fast, frenetic riffing and keyboard loops with more soaring parts. Let us also not forget that it also have some of the best solos in the whole "Chronicles..." series. A well worthy climax to a fantastic concept.

So if you have not guessed it by now, the both parts are practically the same cup of tea, which I think is the biggest strength. Why fix something that is not broke? They are so similar that I think that none of them should be favoured over the other. Both albums could have easily been released as one, humongous entity, because there is no fillers on either albums, making this concept fluent and strong. Kudos to Vanden Plas and Wolfgang Hohlbein for making such an amazing double album experience.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Last Fight, In My Universe, Stone Roses Edge, Blood of Eden (All Love Must Die)

Rating: 9/10 Godmakers

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