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4 stars it isn't a single metal band, Masterplan mixes differents metal styles, with topics from symphonic rock, neoclasic, and even thrash, many songs uses harmonies and effects from differents ages of rock, great musicians in a great band, very interesting and likely
Report this review (#18217)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Actually, this album is supposed to be A Masterpiece of Metal genre, not progressive rock. True, this Masterplan's debut album delivers perfect compostions of heavy metal, power metal and a bit of progressive metal. The ex-Helloween members Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch successfully come out of Helloween's shadow making a perfect album. The best one in the genre. All the tracks are superb! With the amazing voice of Jorn Lande, which was also made a masterpiece record with Ark's "Burn the Sun", "Masterplan" is an album that any metal fans must have.
Report this review (#18218)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars You true, is not progressive rock but heavy and power metal. this album is very punch on the face.Agressiff,melodic fast the quality of song is nice!!! Masterplan know where is go!!Two old menbers of Helloween start the band and put the experience vocalist on place JORN Lande WOW!!!!! Jorn Lande is reputed for is rock apparence but he look great on Metal land.For first album i recomande Hightly!!!!
Report this review (#18219)
Posted Saturday, December 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't think this is a progressive metal album. It is clearly a composition of some worthy power metal music, with some progressive elements floating here and there. What I disliked about Masterplan from the start was Jorn Lande's voice, although I really liked the way he performed in Ark's albums. His voice just does not seem to be fitting to the whole idea. As for the album itself, it contains several outstanding power metal songs, such as Sail on, Spirit Never Dies, Kind Hearted Light and Heroes, with the guest performance of metal's best singer ever, Michael Kiske. The other tracks of the album are however somewhat not really interesting, and fail to attract attention. We have the old same, normal euro-power metal structure with the strong choruses, though here reinforced by some very nice use of keyboards that defines how this instrument should be used in this genre, in contrast with the overuse of other bands of the same style. The bottomline is that this one is an album that is worth a shot, but might possibly disappoint some people, especially for those looking for something beyond a well designed typical power metal affair.
Report this review (#18220)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Masterplan has managed to slip trough the stricktly guarded borders of ProgArchives (whilst other much more progressive bands haven't), but what you can hear on this album is German-type speed/power metal a la Helloween with minor progressive elements. If you like bands such as Symphony X or Angra, then you might interested in this one. The only reason I bought this album is my uncurable Jorn-mania. Considered as the most promising hard-rock voice for ages with perfect Dio/Coverdale vocal cords, I simply couldn't resist. Leaving Ark was a regrettable event, but touring was nearly impossible with the Norwegian prog/metal band, so Jorn has joined this German metal 'supergroup' to ensure his career.

To rate this one is a diffcult task, considering the rating system and the meaning of stars it deserves only 1.5 stars. If someone is a fan of German heavy metal, then it's around 4 stars. And for those who loves any album released with Jorn's magnificent powerful and melodic voice and wants to collect them, then buy it without a doubt, but in this case I suggest to start with Ark or the second Jorn soloalbum "Worldchanger" instead of this. To sum up, I give it 2 stars, but on MetalArchives it would be 3.5 stars.

Highlights: Crystal Night, Soulburn, Bleeding Eyes, When Love Comes Close


Report this review (#43761)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Whenever seasoned musicians get together to form what many might consider "a super group," the results can be huge and sometimes the ensuing album is merely nothing more than a first-rate effort. Nevertheless, the news of a collaboration usually always generates a lot of attention and fan expectations are always high. Masterplan definitely qualify as a super group and their debut album is simply awesome. I had to get that off my chest as quickly as possible. But is this really progressive metal? That is a good question...

Masterplan have no doubt successfully melded two metal sub-genres together, and they are heavy metal and power metal.

Masterplan, along with similar bands Edguy, Falconer and Dream Evil all display an energy and vitality that clearly separates them from the plethora of utterly stagnant power metal bands on the market right now. Vocalist Jorn Lande's smooth controlled delivery stays in his natural range and we are treated here with a most powerful performance. His voice is instantly recognizable and his style reminded me of Ronnie James Dio of Black Sabbath/Rainbow fame and also of David Coverdale of Whitesnake fame. As far as Masterplan's music is concerned, their debut album contains some of the most infectious melodies and memorable hooks you'll ever hear. What makes their music even more interesting is the added gothic elements included on several tracks. From the high energy and huge sound productions of the opening track which starts everything off perfectly to the final 80's style power ballad which was updated with symphonic strings - and lets not forget everything in between - the album is a thoroughly mesmerizing experience.

What more to expect from this album?

Nothing but great heavy/power metal songs! I can't repeat this enough. Essentially, what you get is a good mix of fast and mid-tempo tracks with a few ballads thrown in for good measure. Also, no warriors and dragons, no kings and wars. Just as the cover depicts natural destruction, whether by fire, tidal wave, tornado or earthquake, so do the album's themes.

"Spirit Never Die" starts with a symphonic intro and builds with the full band in tow. This song has it all, fast double kick tempo's, slow atmospheric passages, wonderful guitar solo, simply a solid opening track.

"Enlighten Me" is the album's first single. The gothic atmospheric feel of this song initially reminded me of Entwine, but the chorus is what makes this song the most accessible radio friendly song on the album.

"Kind Hearted Light" is a killer track. The keyboard intro and heavy up-tempo beat moves everything along superbly. Stratovarius comes to mind but Masterplan's performance is majestic, one of the highlight's on this album.

"Crystal Night" starts as a mid-tempo rocker. Great pounding beat, best chorus yet, wonderful track. I love the mid section break and solo...and the strong ending, wow! Another highlight and after more than a year, it ranks as my FAV overall track. The slower paced "Soulburn" starts with a piano and some heavy pounding beats. The symphonic/gothic feel of this song brings a touch of originality, very different approach than what we find on the opening track.

"Heroes" is or should be another hit single. This is typical Helloween or Stratovarius but like I said before, the high energy performance makes this track standout. Of interest here is that Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween vocalist) makes a guest appearance on this one.

"Sail on" continues where "Heroes" left off. The drum intro is very cool, very fast tempo, great melody, strong chorus. The track ends acoustically, adding further creativity to the album. At this point, only 7 songs into the album and one comes to the conclusion that this is a very good disc, all excellent tracks from the very beginning. Even I wondered what more could this album possibly have to offer?

The acoustic ballad "Into the Light" with it's heavier sounding chorus is a refreshing change of pace. Strong vocal performance by Lande.

"Crawling From Hell" picks up the pace again. More slow gothic atmospheric elements in the beginning and during the chorus mixed with a fast tempo and heavy rock beat in the verses. The music break and solo are definite highlight's on the album.

"Bleeding Eyes" slow symphonic opening and Lande's whining vocal intro are very cool. Much more gothic atmospheric feel than most other tracks and I consider this song to be of the pure Gothic metal genre. Love the psychedelic feel of the guitar solo, excellent work!

The album closes with the ballad "When Love Comes Close." The relaxed acoustic guitar opening is very unwinding and when the band kick it in, the song fills in beautifully, this track could easily be another single release. The acoustic guitar break and solo and then back to the final acoustic ending is what closes Masterplan's brilliant debut album.

Repeated listens of this album is highly recommended...If you know of a better album in this particular style and genre, please let me know! As for it being classified as a progressive album, I'm not so sure the reasons why, but it surely is worth adding to your heavy/power metal collection but certainly not essential material for a strictly progressive metal standpoint.

Report this review (#53833)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definitively "Masterplan" isn't a band that can be considered within the world of the progressive rock, that is sure. But also is true this German band has an undeniable talent. The first time which I listened their album debut I was fascinated with this form to make "melodic power metal" (style that goes more with the musical description of the band).

The album is very complete, it has songs with force, character, melody, enchantment and is very emotive (personal opinion) from the begin to the end. I think that was a very good starting point for masterplan's career.

Some comments about this album:

1. Jorn Lande's voice - absolutely amazing (I like all his projects, but mainly "ARK" and his solo career), he's one of my favourites rock/metal singers nowadays.

2. The songs - all are made with quality, honesty and force.

And finally this album in my opinion has been one of the most complete debut album in a long time.

By: Epsilon

Report this review (#93274)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterplan is one of the biggest name in the heavy metal genre these days ! They released two perfects records up to date and the third one is on the way, but unfortunately without one of the most important person of the group Jorn Lande. But as to their debut "Masterplan" I can say that this album was a big positive surprise for me. Yes everybody knows that its a combination of heavy metal, hard rock and sometimes with some progmetal touches, but this combination is perfect, I like mainly all its arrangements and all the small details in this music. Every single guitar or keys tone is a result of work of the professional musicians in heavy metal and I must say that guys from Masterplan are real professionals. I don´t beleive that it´s better band in heavy metal these days and hope that the following record will be at least on the same high quality metal level !!!
Report this review (#104232)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yet another Helloween love-child.

Masterplan, the remnants of German Heavy Metal Masters - Helloween as of 2001. Guitarist Roland GRAPOW and drummer extraordinare Uli KUSCH form the side project that they'd wanted to do prior to Helloween's 2001 album The Dark Ride and are ready to attack the market with former Yngwie Malmstien vocalist Jorn LANDE... and some other guys. 'What's it going to sound like then?', some might ask, being that the two were fired from Helloween after 'The Dark Ride' because their influence in the band was too great, resulting in a controversial album. 'The Dark Ride Vol. 2', then? No. Not at all. The result here is quite different. Euro Power Metal with a hint of prog (more on the next album than this one, however). Onto the music, shall we?

Characterized by heavy riffs, tight drumming and superb vocals, Masterplan's debut is sure to please the head-bangers. SPIRIT NEVER DIE is a dark, yet positive track that sets the mood while the first single ENLIGHTEN ME takes more advantage of Lande's excellent vocals. KIND HEARTED LIGHT and SAIL ON see a more speed metal oriented side of the band with some blinding guitar work by Grapow, while SOULBURN and CRYSTAL NIGHT both see a darker, more reflective side of the supergroup. the latter two mentioned definitely smell of prog.

Where the group really shine, though, is the combination of both styles. CRAWLING FROM HELL, BLEEDING EYES and INTO THE LIGHT, to be specific, combine the styles mentioned above to made for some very good music. WHEN LOVE COMES CLOSE is also excellent and ends the album with a bang, Lande's vocals prevailing on that one.

But ah, who could forget HEROES. Former Helloween vocalist Michael KISKE comes out of his heavy-metal retirement (having resigned to AOR) to let the blimpish lungs cry out the metal once more, and what a job they do. We're the heroes of a new world, the masterplan's rising out dreams will come true screams Kiske as he and Lande combine their voices to make a heavenly chorus of two of the best metal singers to ever grace the land. Amazing song... Kiske... if you're reading this... the metal world needs you back! (Rumor has it, though, that he's working on a project with Grapow and other former Helloween-er Kai HANSON... metalheads have your ears tuned for that.)

So what's the rating for this excellent album?

Three stars ('What!?' cry the readers) for a good album. Will prog heads like this album? Maybe... if you have a thing for Prog Metal (which these guys happily sit on the border of) you'll enjoy it quite a bit. What about those who don't like prog metal? Dodge this one, you'll likely not like it. Recommended to Helloween followers, Kiske followers, metal-heads and prog-metal-heads.

Report this review (#161612)
Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I already did the review of Aeronautics and had originally the intention to leave it at that one. This was because I (like most other reviewers) truly believe this is not prog, at best just a slight touch of it. And I have the habit of ignoring the bands and albums that shouldn't really be on this website. But if you look at my list of reviewed albums you can see I already have been quite inconsistent with that (10 CC, Queen, Santana, etc.) so I might as well do Masterplan.

Also because I really love this band, their songs are very strong and powerful and can give one a lot of energy just by listening to it. And I always love and admire bands that have that impact on someone's mood. And what's also a great achievement: it goes for all the songs on this album, another aspect I can very much appreciate. Not every album I know has just very strong tracks, most of the time there are a few less impressive ones.

So that's what I can say about it. Another great effort by Masterplan and a very strong debut. I can only reward it with 4 stars. A great (power)metal album but not a convincing progressive one to say the least. But in this case quality and impact beats progressive content.

Report this review (#164321)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars There was a period of time in my life as a young man when I found it difficult to understand deep, complex music, especially when it's basically prog. I held myself onto mainstream music, especially to post-grunge music, but the problem was that there were so many different songs crossing my mind that I've had difficulties to decide what's my most favourite band/group/artist. But now as I found something that offered me a warm, friendly step towards the further understanding of music in the prog and metal territory, Masterplan revealed the opportunity and marked the beginning of a new path where people like me walk further away from the eclectic fields of the mainstream territory.

And as I have shared my first experience of becoming one of the million pilgrims in the prog and metal world, I am writing my first review on the first album that gave me one of my life's revelations: The Masterplan debut album.

Looking back to the first days when I listened to Masterplan, I never thought that power metal could grab me with with its catchy, accessible melodies but also with the complexity that allows the songs to keep growing on me. The band's reliability on their song's depth was somewhat inspired from the progressive rock/metal territory, most notably from the Norwegian band Ark. So, the founding members, Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch, have really used their potential to their fullest since they were fired by the remaining band members of Helloween. I've personally never been a fan of the latter, so I guess it justifies the duo's commitment to what was originally their side-project.

And so... our lord above sent us Jorn Lande! That's right, Jorn frigging Lande! By now, he's been famous for his voice, which (and here we go again) possesses the versatility of David Coverdale and the power of Ronnie James Dio. Not only am I in love of his unique voice and his melodic songwriting, I also admire him for his imaginative, introspective and thought-provoking lyrics that he helps providing the band with. Masterplan, I do tell you my good friend, is not a band with just another high-pitched vocalist, this is practically a one-of-a-kind vocalist. Sadly, it's a pity that he left the band 3 years later due to musical differences (Jorn leans more to the melodic, hard-rock direction while the duo leans more to the heavier sound), much to their fans' disappointment. Oh well... Those were quite sweet times while they lasted, and I am certain they haven't seen the last of each other yet...

Though those three members stand out the most in their debut album, creatively and musically, both the ex-Iron Savior bassist Jan Sören Eckert and the Children of Bodom-keyboardist Janne Warmen (or was it Warman?) deserve some credits as well. Janne only lasted temporarily as a session member due to his commitment to CoB, but he left some decent marks in Masterplan's sound with some pianic pieces (Soulburn) and atmospheric layers (especially in Into The Light, Crawling From Hell and Bleeding Eyes). The member position he left was soon filled in by Axel Mackenrott, who is also a decent keyboard player despite that his musical career just began to gain momentum. Jan S. Eckert is... well, in my opinion, he just fills the bass lines where it's needed. Nevertheless, the sound is well audible and I thought it helped kick up the heat of the songs, especially in Crystal Night and Crawling From Hell.

In short, Masterplan is one of the few bands that you'll find some difficulty not to like, if you're at least something of a metal fan. Their debut album stands well out thanks to its accessible and hooky melodies and at the same time leaves you wanting for more... And the following albums won't disappoint either, the band members have proved their consistency in their well-inspired songwriting. And if you're just like me, you'll probably begin to learn the significance of how progressive elements, if only a few, helps the band to stick out from other bands of the same genre. (Though not a prog-metal band, Masterplan is commonly known as a power metal band, with some prog-related inspirations)

Personal album highlights: Almost every song are worthy highlights, but honorable mentions go to Spirit Never Die, Soulburn, Into The Light and Bleeding Eyes.

Report this review (#210734)
Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars My heavy metal taste is strange. It seems to come in phases. My last one was between the years of 1997-2001. It was good to know several bands that mixed very well prog elements within the heavy metal context, some more (Dream Theatre, Thereshold, Shadow Gallery, Royal Hunt, etc) , some less (Kamelot, Edenbridge, Nightwish, etc), but all bringing something new and exciting to the musical scene. So I was back into the ´pure´ prog format when this CD came out. And its qualities made me buy it when it came out and I heard it on the store.

Formed by ex Helloween members Roland Grapow (guitar) and Uli Kusch (drums), both excellent players and songwriters, plus singer extraordinaire Jörn Lande (ex Yngwie Malmsteem´s Rising Force and In The Company Of Snakes, among others), bassist Jan S. Eckert (ex Iron Saviour, another Helloween spin off) and keyboardist Axel Mackenrott. Their sound is a very powerful melodic heavy metal with prog hints. All songs are catchy, very well written, tastefully arranged and produced. All tracks are excellent, proving once and for all that Grapow and Kusch, even if they were not original members, were very much responsible for a lot of the ´Helloween sound` of late.

There are no fillers and my special edition CD came with a bonus disc containing the videoclip of Enlighten Me, interviews and screen saver. Highlights are Lande´s strong and versatile vocals (he is one of rock´s best singers ever), the fine musicanship of all involved and the superb production. Although the prog element here is harlly the main course (it´s mostly on the atmospheric keyboards parts), the music is nevertheless very good and elaborated. If you´re into power metal with great melodies, addictive hooks and skillful playing, go for it! It is one of the best debuts i´ve heard in the new millenium.

Report this review (#289373)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am a little surprised by inclusion of Masterplan, founded by former members of German power metal pioneers Helloween. Both bands are power metal with just a whiff of prog (and Helloween has more multi-part epics). Include both or neither, I think. Anyway, as far as power metal goes, Masterplan are above the fray. Lyrical themes are above average, melodies often dramatic instead of the usual happy-go-lucky lets-go-pillage, and the icing on the cake is the superb hard rock gruff vocals of Jorn Lande, whose convincing delivery alone elevates this above the usual power metal stuff. Too bad he would stay with them only intermittently.
Report this review (#1128310)
Posted Friday, February 7, 2014 | Review Permalink

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