Masterplan - Aeronautics
AFM Records
Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (54'06)
Release year: 2005
Masterplan, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
Masterplan's debut was my top pick for album of the year in 2003 and received rave reviews by much of the music press. With veteran vocalist Jorn Lande (Jorn, Ark, Yngwie Malmsteen) teaming up with the duo of guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch, both former Helloween members, all the ingredients were there for what promised to be a great union. Besides being a part of Helloween for many years, both Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch matured into excellent songwriters; contributing many top notch songs to the Helloween legacy. Along with bassist Jan Eckert (Iron Savior) and keyboardist Axel Mackenrott, they have shown that Masterplan is not just a "project" band but a real band that is in it for the long haul. With a brand of melodic power metal that has progressive influences and occasional speedy Helloween styles all topped off with one of the strongest and best voices in the business (Jorn Lande), they significantly raised the bar for all of the other melodic power metal bands out there. With their new album Aeronautics, Masterplan have once again delivered an outstanding album that although is very similar in sound to their debut album, still highlights the amazing songwriting ability that's required for any band to maintain a stronghold in a very crowded metal genre.

Crimson Rider, opens the album with it's has a great thick de-tuned guitar sound that's both melodic, heavy and a David Coverdale style vocal delivery by Jorn. Back For My Life, the first single from the album is an effective mix of quieter and pounding heavy sections with a great melodic chorus. Helloween revisited can be found with the track Wounds. With it's speedier and "happy" Helloween style, it's soaring and majestic quality and amazing chorus have blended perfectly into one of the best tracks that this band has ever done. Other album highlights include the salute to all the heavy metal "headbangers" out there (is that term still used anymore??). Headbanger's Ballroom uses a melodic and chugging de-tuned guitar sound that's just bursting with melody from a vocal standpoint and once again, the David Coverdale similarities are uncanny with the layered vocals for the choruses. This "heavy metal waltz" with a big traditional hymn style chorus is an ode the Headbanger's Ballroom, a metal club in Hamburg Germany where metal fans go to meet and enjoy metal music. Falling Sparrow gets back to the speedier power metal and with it's soaring Tommy Shaw (Styx) style chorus, it's another very spirited and killer melodic heavy metal track. Black In The Burn, the last track on the album is a heavy, dramatic and more progressive song that has a speedy celtic-flavored chorus and some classic speedy Helloween style speedy guitar leads and interludes. A solid track in every way, this one sees all aspects of the Masterplan sound coming together in one track.

Once again, Masterplan has delivered. There's absolutely no sign of a sophmore jinx here as this album is a great successor to their debut album. With a sound that's being used by countless other bands, what sets this band so much above the others is the songwriting and the amazing voice of Jorn Lande. I see the Masterplan sound as a progression of what the original vision was for Helloween's The Dark Ride album. Very similar in mood and style, that type of darker yet still very melodic style better suits Masterplan over Helloween especially with Jorn Lande's voice. Every track on this album is very high quality; the vocals are amazing as is the overall production and sound. I wish they would make more use of the keyboards rather than just for orchestration effects as it would significantly broaden the band's sound. The first couple of listens to this album leaves the feeling that this is just a clone of their first album but upon repeated listens, the quality in the songwriting and performances comes to light. The bar has been set quite high and it's still very early in 2005. This is likely a strong candidate for power metal album of the year and it's only February.

Killing Songs :
Crimson Rider, Back For My Life, Wounds, Headbanger's Ballroom, Falling Sparrow and Black In The Burn
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Danny quoted 96 / 100
Mike quoted 90 / 100
Alex quoted 85 / 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 - Back For My Life (CD Single) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Masterplan - Masterplan reviewed by Danny and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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