Masterplan - Masterplan

Year of Release: 2003
Label: AFM Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:49:00

When I first heard about this band, I thought: Hey, here's another supergroup. We're talking about some well known people in the business: vocalist J?rn Lande (ex-Ark), Roland Grapow on guitars (ex-Helloween), Ulli Kusch on drums (ex-Helloween), Jan S. Eckert on bass (ex-Iron Saviour) and Alex MacKenrott on keyboards, who's the lesser known member, having been in a few cover bands and a band called Punch TV.

I'm very apprehensive when it comes to this type of band because I feel that too often, the well known members rely more on their notoriety than their talent as composers to sell the band. First thing that strikes when you spin this disc is the quality of the melodies. This is very accessible and serious at the same time. The focus is definitely on the compositions so there's not a lot of showing off. A bit of "cheese" here and there, but it's very minimal. There's no filler on there, but some songs shine more than others. Highlights for me would be "Enlighten Me," "Into The Light" and "When Love Comes Close."

Most songs are very simply constructed as it's the typical verse ? chorus ? verse ? solo... (well you know) type of songs. Masterplan definitely falls into the melodic metal category as there's not too much wizardry (as stated before) and it's not heavy and bombastic enough to fall into the power metal realm.

It's still more than heavy enough to retain the attention of a vast majority of our readers. Production is very well balanced and you can hear clearly every instrument except for the bass which is more felt than heard. Guitar tone is very nice, Grapow is easily spotted with some tasty soloing. The keys are used with finesse. They add a lot of richness, atmosphere and texture to the whole sound.

There are some people who prefer J?rn Lande's rougher side, but he goes for a smoother more controlled delivery here, which is very welcomed by my standards. To me, this is simply his best performance ever. He annoyed me a bit on the Beyond Twilight disc [ Devil's Hall Of Fame] since I felt he was trying too much. Here he stays in his natural range and he uses more of the subtleties he has and it's a big plus for him.

So, this is a disc that took me by surprise, since I'm more of a proghead usually (read Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Threshold, etc...). But, when any music is so well done, you just can't help but fall in love with it and that's exactly what happened to me with Masterplan. I think it's one of the most enjoyable discs I've heard in that style ever. Certainly worth the dough, as it's a great job. Kudos to the band for not falling in the clich?s and keeping an old formula fresh. We need more of this type of disc and if you're into foot tapping melodies with lots of emotion, this is for you.

Human Fortress, Whitesnake, Supreme Majesty

[This review originally appeared January 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Spirit Never Die / Enlighten Me / Kind Hearted Light / Crystal Night / Soulburn / Heroes / Sail On / Into The Light / Crawling From Hell / Bleeding Eyes / When Love Comes Close / Bonus Tracks: Through Thick And Thin / The Kid Rocks On

Jørn Lande - vocals
Roland Grapow - guitars
Jan S. Eckert - bass
Axel Mackenrott - keyboards
Uli Kusch - drums

Masterplan (2003)
Back For My Life (ep) (2004)
Aeronautics (2005)
Lost And Gone (ep) (2007)
MKII (2007)
Time To Be King (2010)
Novum Initium (2013)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Steve Fulham
Artist website:
Hits: 872
Language: english


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