Masterplan - Masterplan
AFM Records
Melodic Power Metal
11 songs (~50'00)
Release year: 2003
Masterplan, AFM Records
Reviewed by Danny
Album of the month

The year 2003 hasn't started yet and we have already received an amazing promo at www.metalreviews.com that has the potential to become the big surprise for next year. To tell you the truth, we were almost dying waiting for that promo : Masterplan, the new band of the ex-Helloween musicians - Roland Grapow & Uli Kusch - plus Mr. Vocal himself, Jorn Lande (Jorn, ex-Ark). Of course, with such lineup, you expect great songs to hit your brain ! And guess what ... this is exactly what is happening on this magical album. Let's dive into this album one track after another :

1) Spirit Never Die : After a pseudo flying dark intro, the first guitar notes reminds you immediately Helloween - at the top of their ages ... in other words ... a long long time ago - but the tempo oscillates throughout the song from middle to fast, let's call this the Masterplan touch. Jorn takes the vocal of Coverdale - we already knew he could do that - and the melodies of this song reminds you of Whitesnake & Helloween. Great melodies, great chorus, great start ... and what a sound, this is what I call a powerful production. Thanks who ? Mr. Andy Sneap, who also produced Machine Head and Testament in the past.

2) Enlighten Me : the single track, see our review. I like the "gothic" feeling of this song, Paradise Lost meets power metal. Woow !!!

3) Kind Hearted Light : also on the single album, one of the best song I have heard since a decade :) Masterplan is born !

4) Crystal Night : After an arabesque intro, the tempo gets much heavier ... a kind of Judas Priest tempo. This time Jorn is enormous as the guy sings like Dio. Yes Mr. Ronnie James Dio. This is unbelievable how Jorn fluctuates from Coverdale to Dio with his vocal. I am also smashed by the pounding riff which haunts my head. Great chorus again and the talent is definitely present because we are not talking of power/speed metal stuff - Helloween just to mention a band - but we are listening to a wonderful heavy metal song.

5) Soulburn : Starting with a piano, the tempo is again heavy and "gothic". The piano follows Jorn ... or shall I say Coverdale because on this track, Jorn resuscitates Whitesnake's singer ... I am on my knees. A mid-tempo song, almost a power-ballad, proving again the quality of the song-writing as both bridge & chorus devastate your brain. Slow, but powerful ! Yeah, a Soulburn track.

6) Heroes : The "amusing" song on this album. Masterplan did the right choice to place it at the 6th position because this is a typical Helloween song from the first note until the last one. Or is it because the song features guest singer M. Kiske (original Helloween' singer) , in any case : what a f*cking catchy chorus ! You will sing along on that one, trust me :))

7) Sail On : After a speedy guitar intro, Jorn is again the shining star on this track. The chorus & the bridge are less "punchy", but this is a well structured song confirming again the talent of these musicians. The keyboard melody reminds me somehow of Journey's (Separate Ways) and the guitar solo is really cool. Something is however missing here to recreate the astonishing feeling of the first six tracks.

8) Into The Light : First "slow" track, a kind of ballad. Again, Jorn plays the first role and being accompanied by a classical guitar. The tempo gets harder for the chorus. Again it reminds me Paradise Lost ... and Whitesnake is not that far :)

9) Crawling From Hell : After Kind Hearted Light, here comes the second Masterplan signature. Between the guitar solo and the drums, the song runs fast at the beginning and is balanced with a slow and heavy chorus, a kind of angry Accept chorus. The guitar solo is remarkable and the never ending changing tempo cannot be described ... it has to be discovered by yourself. Superb !!!

10) Bleeding Eyes : An arabesque intro again, a song reminding me Kamelot - because once Masterplan's record is over, I am swapping my player to Kamelot' Epica :). More seriously, this arabesque tempo twisted with an heavy guitar sound and the "truncated" voice highlights again the talent of this band. The chorus is another pure diamond and I hope these guys have not exhausted all their talent on this album as such quality song-writing is rarely at the rendezvous for a debut album.

11) When Love Comes Close : The weak track. What a shame the band didn't decide to stop after 10 songs. This one being a Whitesnake ballad type and doesn't really bring anything new to this wonderful album as all the bullets have been fired before. Jorn remains incredible again and I am wondering if Coverdale himself doesn't sing on that one ? Anyway, if you like ballads ... you might appreciate When Love Comes Close.

Let's resume : this is a f*cking great debut album and I am already dying here for the following one. Excellent job guys !!! One worry is haunting me however : would these guys be able to "re-create" a second album as good as this one. Let's hope so ... after all, it is Christmas time.

Hummm, the ball is in Helloween's side ... or shall I say in Mr. Weikath's hands.

Killing Songs :
Kind Hearted Light, Spirit Never Die, Crystal Night, Heroes, Crawling From Hell, Soulburn
Danny quoted 95 / 100
Chris quoted 96 / 100
Marty quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Masterplan that we have reviewed:
Masterplan - PumpKings reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Masterplan - Time To Be King reviewed by Kyle and quoted 84 / 100
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
To see all 7 reviews click here
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