ABYDOS - The Little Boy's Heavy Mental Shadow Opera

Abydos - The Little Boy's Heavy Mental Shadow Opera

12 songs
70:20 minutes
***** ***


I have to admit I was rather sceptical at first: Vanden Plas vocalist Andy Kuntz doing a solo album with a really long title - The Little Boy's Heavy Mental Shadow Opera About The Inhabitants Of His Diary. My first impression wasn't that glorious, but then it's a well known fact that complex music needs more than just a little attention to truly work for your mind. Apart from being the singer for the aforementioned German prog metal band, he used to be Jesus in ALW's Jesus Christ Superstar and could even be seen as close by as Trier, if you can afford the ridiculously high prices you have to pay for musicals these days, but I digress.

Abydos, the name of the project, probably is needed to show that this is more than just the brainchild of one person. Vanden Plas drummer Andreas Lill plus Stefan Glass and Michael Krauss are in charge of the music, while the amazing cover artwork, reminding strongly of Neil Gaiman graphical novels, has been prepared by Kuntz but eventually designed by Li-Wen Kuo. The album floats somewhere between hardrock and prog metal, and it wouldn't be wrong to call it a rock musical, considering that Kuntz has already planned to get the whole thing done on a regular theater stage. Well, good luck to him.

The album, while very long, never becomes pretentious, but there's also not that much originality here. Although the song writing and the execution of the material is flawless, the same thing has already been attempted and done by the likes of Spock's Beard (Snow), Saga (Generation 13), Savatage (Streets) and Aragon (Mouse). There are not only musical, but even conceptual parallels, which means if you liked the predecessors, you should also like Abydos. Kuntz's vocals remind further of Dream Theater. So while the concept is a well known and well liked one, the song material is very strong, ranging from ballads to dynamic rockers, and most of the time with all these elements within every single song, but then average lengths of six minutes leave enough room for variation and at times even more gimmicky but also fun parts.

If you want your music straight forward, then skip this album. Also skip it if you don't like dramatic hard rock music, but if at times you enjoy wallowing in the really big cinematic emotions, then Abydos is definitely for you.

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