Masterplan are back with album number five full of more melodic metal magic that is far from the straightforward kind, and once again there is a different vocalist, Rick Altzi (At Vance, Thundertone) who is the third to front the group.
Jorn Lande did make a welcome return for the last album Time To Be King having appeared on their excellent debut Masterplan and the impressive follow up Aeronautics. After which Jorn had then left the band for the first time and vocalist Mike DiMeo(ex. Riot, Ilium) featured on the third release MKII along with the drummer Mike Terrana, due to original drummer Uli Kusch's(ex. Helloween) departure also from the group he had co founded with Roland Grapow(ex. Helloween) in 2002. But it's not just their vocalist as also new to Masterplan since the last album is the talented pair bass player Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius) and drummer Martin Skaroupka(Cradle Of Filth), they join original members guitarist Roland Grapow and keyboard player and co-songwriter Axel Mackenrott.
So with their semi new line-up in place Masterplan are all set to become significantly more active with live performances in the works plus they have this engaging new album titled Novum Initium .
Rick Altzi is an agreeable addition and his vocals are commanding and distinctive and really aren't a drastic change from Jorn Lande's . Masterplan's albums have previously featured a vast component of Roland Grapow's compelling guitar work on their songs and yes this recording is no different with more gripping riffs and solos. But Roland's guitar isn't the soul focal point as this latest version of Masterplan is one potent melodic force. Martin Skaroupka shows that he can easily adapt when going from the extreme drumming required for the darkened music of Cradle Of Filth to that more suited to Masterplan, he displays his crafty footwork from the start on the short instrumental "Per Aspera Ad Astra" and continues to impress during the various songs on Novum Initium .
"The Game" is a fitting title as it's game on for Masterplan as this track takes off flowing with potent metal, of which this release has its share no matter what the pace. While the slower and mighty feel of "Keep Your Dream Alive" sounds very cool, "Black Night Of Magic" moves along with more animated music and this is followed by one of the best metal tracks I've heard in a while "Betrayal" which is a great example of what this line-up is capable of. The rest of the album continues to impress and Masterplan save the title track for last and "Novum Initiu" is also the longest displaying how adventurous the band can be with more of that great Masterplan melodic metal.
You cant go wrong with Novum Initium Masterplan is one band you can always rely on for quality metal releases and this is one of their best.
1) Per Aspera Ad Astra
2) The Game
3) Keep Your Dream Alive
4. Black Night Of Magic
6. No Escape
7. Pray On My Soul
8. Earth Is Going Down
9. Return From Avalon
10. Through Your Eyes
11. Novum Initium