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Masterplan: MKII

Melodic Metal is NOT dead, kiddies. It is alive and well & residing in Germany. The 3rd release from German Metal band Masterplan (the brainchild of former Helloween guitarist, Roland Grapow) is simply titled MKII and keeps the melodic Metal flowing. Armed with new vocalist Mike DiMeo (Riot), easily one of the best singers in the traditional Metal style and new drummer, Mike Terrana (ex-Artension,Yngwie, Tony MacAlpine, ex-Rage), Masterplan deliver a diversely dynamic record with slick production and some great musicianship.

Masterplan's sound is somewhere in between Helloween, Primal Fear, Firewind and Hammerfall. A nod to the traditional melodic Metal of the '80's with the feel and the sound of today's Metal. A very Euro-Metal sounding record complete with keyboards and built in atmosphere, Masterplan offers some thick guitar riffing intertwined within some carefully crafted songs. From more polished tracks like "I'm Gonna Win" and "Keeps Me Burning" to more Metallic rockers like "Masterplan" and "Enemy", MKII has a little bit of all things considered Heavy-Rock.

MKII might take a few listens to get embedded into your head, but the melodic styling's are apparent. And enough can not be said about the powerful vocals of Mike DiMeo. In this day of cookie monster vocals all over the place, it is refreshing to hear a singer that delivers the goods with sheer power & emotion. His vocals are reminiscent of Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath-post Dio era), Russell Allen of Symphony X and a wee bit of Ripper Owens (ex Judas Priest, Iced Earth & Beyond Fear). A true vocalist!

Masterplan's MKII is a solid record that will find a true home with those into the melodic Metal scene. The songs are well written, the musicianship is top notch and the vocals are some of the best that I have heard in years. With songs ranging from commercial to blistering, there is truly something here for all Euro-Metal fans. A must listen for Melodic Metal fans.


Track Listing

  1. Phoenix Rising
  2. Warriors Cry
  3. Lost And Gone
  4. Keeps Me Burning
  5. Take Me Over
  6. I'm Gonna Win
  7. Watching The World
  8. Call The Gypsy
  9. Trust In You
  10. Masterplan
  11. Enemy
  12. Heart Of Darkness

Added: February 27th 2008
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Score:
Related Link: Masterplan Website
Hits: 1100
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Masterplan: MKII
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-02-27 06:36:39
My Score:

Oddly enough I had never listened to the Melodic Power Metal band Masterplan before this album even though I was well aware of the group that Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch had founded back in 2002 after being fired from the legendary Helloween. More resultant of it being a matter of time to absorb every band out there against any form of slight I was well aware of how popular they had become and meant to sink my teeth into them one way or another. Sadly by the time I got to it drummer Kusch had moved on and formed Beautiful Sin while singer Jorn Lande had departed citing musical "differences", the all too common phrase we hear from bands around the world from time to time. My own exploration into their Power Metal glory would begin with two new members and ones I have enjoyed listening to in the past with other groups. The first was singer Mike DeMeo who many remember from his work with Riot but who also was commendable as a Bluesy-Hard Rocker with The Lizards (a band that featured Bobby Rondinelli) and madman behind the kit Mr. Mike Terrana. Terrana has done his percussive damage in bands like Yngwie and Rage and can also be heard on over a dozen more notable artists as well. The question would be could the pair fit in and offer up a seamless transition for the band's fan base and I am happy to report this as a yes. With no offense to Lande, I thought that DeMeo was a perfect fit for the group and with his joining forces we can all now enjoy new melodic Metal adventures as they are forged. After the opening melodies of "Phoenix Rising" are heard we get a powerhouse of a number in "Warriors Cry" which is a track that stands tall and had me doing air guitar and pretend vocalist of old since I had so much fun as it played through. Having the new members adding their unique style to the mix led me to find the harmonies were not only rich in Power Metal standards but also had some strong Blues influx as well and when you add the throttling drumming by Mike Terrana you had an album that meant business and was sure to remind you that this form of the genre was still going and growing strong. Tunes like "Call The Gipsy" reminded me a little of Kamelot, a powerhouse in today's Melodic Metal world while "Trust In You" had hints of Whitesnake and Dio to it. Yet despite some of the similarities that I draw the album and band are not as interchangeable with the rest of the crop of groups of this type and yet manage to be the perfect blend of old and new school styles. It's safe to say that the larger demographic of Power Metal fans could safely enjoy much if not all of this album as they keep the sound fresh and every track seems loaded with necessary energy for them to be a continually growing success.

Grapow's guitar sings as we expected it to and I times I felt that perhaps he even views the group with some renewed enthusiasm even after the aspect of losing two popular members in the genre for the new blood he had brought on. Fortunately for him the players while new to Masterplan were no strangers to Metal and came to the game very well prepared. The band's name track of "Masterplan" is sure to be a fan favorite as a powerful and memorable number while the closer of "Heart Of Darkness" is a slowly trudging epic that really works as the albums final piece. The bands original fan base might hold too strongly on the bands earlier work and find issues in this one for the sake of it, but I advise others to be a little more open minded and free when it comes to enjoying a truly thrilling recording. This is recommendation for fans of Blind Guardian, Helloween and Gamma Ray as well as others along these same lines.



» Reader Comments:

Masterplan: MKII
Posted by Carlos Canales Vega on 2007-10-11 11:36:49
My Score:

I'm sorry to report that this is a lackluster effort from a once great band.And i really didn't mind rating this high without the pressence of their original singer (Jorn Lande), if it were more developed and advanced.I mean, almost all of the songs are poorly written and exectuted: i have never heard such an uninspired performance from Roland Grapow and Mike Terrana.On a good song like Warrior's Cry, the drums are just tiring! And Roland couldn't come up with a solo? Besides, why keep on an on with a boring riff were nothing happens (after the second chorus)???
Having said that, DiMeo sounds good and full of feeling (but you have to assimilate that he's no Lande).Although i would have mix him higher, the guitars tend to bury his vocals.
Among the filler (half the album) there are some gems: Lost And Gone and I'm Gonna Win, probably the best commercial sounding metal song that i've heard since I Can from Helloween.
Masterplan needs to deliver big time next record to not loose this dissapointed fan.




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