Ride The Sky - New Protection
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
12 songs (50'06)
Release year: 2007
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ben

When Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch left the monolithic Helloween simultaneously in 2001 the pair formed Masterplan, a new band that had utilized the excellent skills of singer Jorn Lande to perfection. In Helloween, both Roland and Uli wrote some fantastic material together and individually. That same chemistry carried over to Masterplan and their sophomore album Aeronautics was one of my most played cd’s for that year. However, when Uli left Masterplan that musical bond was severed and the resulting outputs from both parties are boring chunks of predictable power metal.

With the exception of an added dosage of keyboard electronics there is nothing on New Protection that hasn’t been done over many times before. I find it disheartening that the guy who wrote Departed (The Sun Is Going Down) and I’m Not Afraid is churning out this half warmed over tripe. A Smile From Heaven’s Eye comes close to being a saving grace, one hit song in the murky waters of mediocrity, but the sole hook (the chorus) is done awkwardly and too heavy handed and by the time the song is over, the catchiness is long gone. At least the sweet keyboard and guitar harmony intro is at the beginning, that section’s worth listening to more than once. I see where Ride The Sky is trying to go by down tuning their guitars throughout this cd but it just isn’t working their way. The lackluster melodies dissolve the newness of the guitars by being completely by the book. Black Cloud begins with a riff that reminds me of Terminus by Dark Tranquillity and some sprinkled on keyboards and hey, this is starting to become interesting. Then comes along the overly long and over dramatized chorus and I’m left wanting to get back to the guitars. Those of you looking for speed are going to be left wanting as New Protection is all mid tempo material. Variety is scarce around these parts and the album tends to blend into one big borefest. Vocal melodies become interchangeable and bring down the performance of Bjorn Jansson since he is a talented singer, he kicked ass in Beyond Twilight. The one constantly inspired part of each song is the guitar solos. Whatever sludgy paths the song takes you can always count on a hearty solo to wake you up.

I think the poorness of New Protection has much to do with two things. The first being the split from Roland Grapow. Playing with someone like that for almost ten years develops a chemistry that is hard to replicate. Secondly, it probably didn’t help that these songs were written around the same time as Beautiful Sin. Just like Tobias Sammet ran a little dry with Mandrake following the release of the first Avantasia I think Uli Kusch’s songwriting has run out of steam for time being. Hopefully when he gets his engines recharged he can come back with something better than this.

Killing Songs :
A Smile From Heaven's Eye
Ben quoted 57 / 100
Mike quoted 80 / 100
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There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:14 pm
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