Masterplan - Back For My Life (CD Single)
AFM Records
Melodic Power Metal
6 songs (25'32)
Release year: 2004
Masterplan, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
I've been anxiously awaiting some new material from these guys and it's finally here!! Their debut album was my Album Of The Year last year and it still finds it's way into my CD player once in a while even after almost two years since it's release. Promising a more "progressive" edge to some of their new material for their upcoming Aeronautics album due later this month, Masterplan has released this 6 song E.P. with emphasis on the track Back For My Life, the first single from the new album. Jorn Lande, Roland Grapow, Uli Kusch and company have yet again delivered some very solid material and although I'm sure there will be some surprises with the sound of the new album, I really don't hear anything new with this E.P. Having said that, there's no doubt that the quality is there and we can look forward to another great melodic power metal album from Masterplan.

Back For My Life leads off the CD and features a slower pounding heavy style but with all the melody and catchiness that was ever so prevalent on their debut. Jorn's voice soars once again and some keyboard orchestration effects add a nice atmospheric touch. Another new track from their upcoming Aeronautics album, Crimson Rider is also included on this release. Along with a great thick guitar sound, it has lots of energy, dynamics and variety and doesn't rely too much on speedy power metal segments. This track takes the stereotypical speedy Euro power metal sound and literally chucks it out the window!! Two non-album tracks are included here with Love Is A Rock having a more atmospheric quality with the use of keyboards and abstract vocal effects. Overall, it's a mid-tempo track with great chunky riffs but without a well defined chorus section that is so characteristic of their songs. Killing In Time, another non-album track is featured here in two forms, one with vocals and the other being and instrumental version. It's a choppy heavy and richly melodic track with more of the soaring harmonized vocals that Jorn does so well.

I like what I hear with this new material and it has all the richness and heaviness as the material on their first album. Whether or not the new album lives up to people's expectations, we'll have to wait and see. As much as I like this band, I am critical of including 2 versions of Back For My Life on this release; the single version and the album version with the only difference being that for the single version, the last bar of a repeating riff to end the track is chopped off...that's it! As well, the "instrumental" version of Killing In Time is nothing more than the full version of the song with no vocal track. It would've been great if they could've added some guitar and/or keyboard effects to carry the vocal melodies. These sorts of things bug me and are nothing but filler. So for a 6 track CD single, you really only get 4 new songs. On the plus side, a multimedia section is included giving you a special Masterplan screensaver and two different wallpapers for your computer.

Masterplan is an example that there's still plenty of room to experiment within the power metal genre and these new tracks indicate that we can expect another great album. I suspect that they'll pass the sophomore jinx with flying colors. I just hope that they don't fall into a repetitive rut like bands such as Iron Savior and Primal Fear that keep releasing essentially the same type of album over and over again. Masterplan were initially popular because of the involvement of former Helloween members Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch as well as the vocals of Jorn Lande. Now that the novelty has worn off, it's time to let the music do the talking and to see if this band will have any staying power..........I have faith.........

Killing Songs :
Back For My Life (album version - for the extra 15 seconds!!!) and Crimson Rider
Marty quoted no quote
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 - Masterplan reviewed by Danny and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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