Masterplan - Time To Be King
AFM Records
Melodic / Heavy Power Metal
10 songs (44:57)
Release year: 2010
Masterplan, AFM Records
Reviewed by Kyle

Masterplan’s latest album, Time To Be King, may possess one of the worst pieces of album art and title of 2010, but even so, the return of Jørn Lande as the band’s crown jewel is far from sour. MK II, while still a very good album, lacked the charm that Lande had brought to the band’s first two records by the gallon; even though Masterplan is technically Roland Grapow’s show, Jørn is the established star, the true King that the overbearing crown on the album’s cover belongs to. As I expected, Time To Be King isn’t the true killer that it has much potential to be – after all, Lande originally left Masterplan due to musical differences – but it’s still a well crafted heavy / melodic power metal album that is an incredibly safe buy for fans of the genre; unfortunately, the album itself also feels a bit too safe.

If you’re a fan of Masterplan’s second album, Aeronautics, then you should have a good idea of how Time To Be King will play out; plenty of epic and heavy power metal tracks, mostly mid-paced, though TTBK is ultimately a more straightforward album. It’s also a low-end focused release; the riffs are mostly composed of power chord chugs while the perfectly audible bass guitar rumbles along in the background, though the never-over-the-top keyboard work contrasts this well, with Lande’s voice sitting somewhere in between. Along with the guitar work, the drums are also surprisingly simplistic; Mike Terrana gets the job done well enough, though his playing still isn’t as complex as Uli Kusch’s was on Masterplan’s first two albums. So the stage is set; we’ve got solid musicianship, the band’s trademark lyrics of fantasy, dreams, and maintaining a positive outlook (among other things), and a fantastic production job that puts the Power in power metal, but what of the songs?

The first five songs featured on Time To Be King are incredible; Fiddle of Time is a standard (though still excellent) opener that gives Jørn an opportunity to immediately shine, as it is one of his best performances on the album. Far From the End of the World, the album’s first single, is another highlight; though it’s a bit shorter than I’d like, the level of bombast simply isn’t matched by anything else on the album. Then comes the album’s title track and Lonely Winds of War; the former is the fastest track here, and the simple-yet-catchy verse meshes well with the slower, broader chorus, while the latter stands out as sort of an epic, folk-y dirge that’s both uplifting mournful; it’s not a typical Masterplan song, but it’s simply gorgeous, and one that will hopefully appeal to most fans. After Lonely Winds of War, however, Time to be King takes a considerable dip in quality as it enters its second half; The Dark Road, The Sun is in Your Hands, and The Black One, while all good songs, fail to live up to the band’s full potential. Thankfully, Blue Europa, a song about the second world war (that has a hidden message, which is a bit vague), saves the album from growing stale; it’s Masterplan at its very best, displaying every last ounce of emotion while still being a very heavy track, and is undoubtedly this record’s highlight. The album then ends with Under the Moon; a ballad-y sort of song that, while not the best here, still makes for a fine closer better than any other song on Time to be King would.

At the end of this album, I am left both satisfied and a tad disappointed; it’s essentially what I was expecting, but I was also hoping for something maybe a bit faster in pace and more diverse, showing different sides of Masterplan as Lonely Winds of War successfully did. Still, any Masterplan fan would make a wise decision in choosing to pick up Time to be King; It’s a powerful 45-minute ride that’s crammed with great songs (minus a few), and enough memorable melodies to keep any power metal fan satisfied for at least a couple of weeks.

Killing Songs :
Fiddle of Time, Far From the End of the World, Time to be King, Lonely Winds of War, Blue Europa
Kyle quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Masterplan that we have reviewed:
Masterplan - MK II reviewed by Chris and quoted 85 / 100
Masterplan - Aeronautics reviewed by Marty and quoted 90 / 100
Masterplan - Back For My Life (CD Single) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Masterplan - Masterplan reviewed by Danny and quoted 95 / 100
Masterplan - Enlighten Me reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
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