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Masterplan - Aeronautics CD (album) cover



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3 stars Like the previous one already this record is a quite good one in melodic power metal and moreover I like very much Jorn Lande's vocals that's why I try to collect everything from the numerous projects and bands he's involved. The performance of all musicians is really perfect as well, but in fact I like even more two other bands he's involved that are ARK and BEYOND TWILIGHT showing a more progressive approach. Listed in a metal archive I would even give 3 1/2 to 4 stars for this one.
Report this review (#33710)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars More European power metal than prog, this is a gem of an album with no real leanings toward prog other than the odd key change and unexpected chord progression (progressive yes but not trully in the 'Prog' sense that we would expect to find reviewed here). Otherwise an album that quite rightly deserves a mention and listen by anyone who generally enjoys this kinda thing. I love it but comparing it to the likes of bands at the core of this site is probably a little unfair.

Jorn has a great set of pipes but probably uses them less here than he did on the debut.

In a progressive sense I enjoyed Ark more and if you are thinking of giving this a spin I would encourage you to grab Ark's - Burn the Sun first as it is better suited to the progressive genre.

Good but not essential however in my own collection which is quite varied, prog being only one of my faves, I grade it an extra star!

Report this review (#33711)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Masterplan came about when Uli Kusch and Roland Grapow were kicked out of Helloween. Originally, Masterplan was intended as a side project of several members of Helloween, but after the split, the boys decided to recruit a suitable singer and as fate would have it, they really lucked out when they nabbed premier vocalist Jørn Lande who has been around for some time, fronting bands such as Ark, Yngwie Malmsteen and Beyond Twilight. The band then released a superb self-titled debut album in 2003.

Now, the boys are back with a follow-up, an album I'm happy to report will help keep them at the forefront of the metal scene I'm sure. Just so you know, Uli Kusch (drums) also did some time with Shock Machine, Sinner, Helloween and Gamma Ray. To round out the band they recruited Jan S. Eckert on bass (ex-Iron Savior) and Axel Mackenrott on keyboards. Alex was Gamma Ray's live keyboardist. So, with all this experience behind the band, you'd think they'd learn a thing or two over the years and that they would put out some pretty decent music? You darn right they did, learn a thing or two that is and put that into good use writing and playing some pretty nifty music, cause this album comes with metal so ripe and so sweet to your ears you won't be able to get enough of it.

I didn't think they could possibly improve on their debut album, but IMO, they did! I love the way the songs flow ever smoothly into one another, so very cool. I love Lande's voice, there's NO better voice doing metal right now. As for the music, it is heavy, sometimes very fast and always catchy, perhaps more so than anything I've ever heard before in the power metal realm of things. And I'm not just talking about one song here. Those who thought that Megadeth's The System Has Failed, Edguy's Hellfire Club and Dream Evil's The Book of Heavy Metal included some very palatable metal will find Aeronautics to be an even better metal meal. The solos are not overdone and are always included at the right moments. The keyboards are not overpowering, always filling in when required, adding that atmospheric touch that is often missing on many straight up heavy metal albums of today. Many of the tracks have some very interesting keyboard orchestrations with some great guitar solos. Because of it's overall mainstream appeal, I was afraid I would get easily tired of it, but I've been listening to this album for the past couple of months now, and I don't think I'll be getting tired of it any time soon. If the first album was perhaps slightly more accessible, then it is safe to assume that this album won't be leaving my multi-CD player any time soon.

Aeronautics is also heavier than their debut album, they've beefed things up somewhat, more guitars, more drums, more of everything. The album opens with "Crimson Rider", a song about the legendary fighter pilot "The Red Baron" who died over the skies of France during World War One. Mackenrott's keyboard orchestrations play an important role, Lande/Kusch/Eckert are all in fine form while the huge wall-of-guitar-sound created by Grapow that permeates throughout the song (and the album as well) results in a most unforgettable opening track.

There are no ballads but the album does include some emotional mid-tempo semi-ballad rockers. "Back For My Life" was the first single released in late 2004, "Headbangers Ballroom" and "After This War" are both excellent mid-paced tracks with good heavy metal energy. The awesome vibe created on "Headbangers Ballroom" initially reminded me of "Crystal Night" off their debut album. Great stuff! Also, you get some huge monster metal tracks with the likes of "Wounds" and "I''m Not Afraid." "Wounds" is sure to have many heavy music enthusiasts wetting their pants in metal jubilation, while I wouldn't be surprised to hear "I'm Not Afraid" and "Falling Sparrow" (which appears a little later on the album) on metal radio.

"In the Arena" is an energetic track, very powerful, Kusch really pounds on his drums, very heavy from the get go. I love many of Eckert's bass licks throughout the album, I think he is one of the most underrated bass players in metal right now. This album should help change all of that. "Dark From The Dying" is very heavy, very juicy, and just like a thick steak, you have to take your time to absorb it's flavor, to savor it and digest it slowly.

My FAV track is the album closer "Black In The Burn." It is a lengthy track that incorporates some progressive elements. It starts slow and builds to a huge sound so very slowly. When the pace finally picks up it turns into a fast power metal ride. During the mid-section the song slows down several times with nothing but piano before we are treated to a few very interesting musical moments in which the entire band let it rip. I can't end my review without underlining Uli Kusch inspired and varied drum work throughout the album. He absolutely rules here, driving the songs forward with a vigour I had not heard from him before. Outstanding performance, not just by Kusch but by the entire band. This is the kind of metal, pure and hard driving, that sells albums. Consider that Lande has one-of-the-best voices in metal today and you've got an explosive mix indeed...

The music of Masterplan is similar in a way to: Kamelot, Nocturnal Rites, Dream Evil, Edguy, Megadeth, Primal Fear, Stratovarius and Helloween.

Aeronautics is an excellent power metal album, though not necessarily essential material if you're looking to add it to your progressive music collection.

Report this review (#52013)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I wouldn't class this as progressive, hence the 3 stars, but it's worth 4 stars otherwise. Basically a melodic metal release, bit of hard rock and a bit of speed/power metal. Andy Sneap has given it a really nice warm sound which kicks in all the right places. Ex- Helloween, Grapow's down-tuned riffing is nice and the leads are tasty. Uli Kusch's drumming (Helloween, Mekong Delta) give the songs a backbone and perhaps contribute a bit to the 'progressive' elements. The keys add atmosphere more than anything else but they sound good too. Jorn Lande's vocals recall Coverdale and Dio and the melodies are really catchy in a good way. The downsides are some cheesy musical passages and some pretty silly lyrics (surely these bands know at least one person that could review their lyrics, I mean Andy Sneap is English....) Overall, there's not much to challenge a proghead, but much to enjoy if you like good accessible metal songs played with class.
Report this review (#73211)
Posted Sunday, March 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've been fan of Helloween for some time, though not so big fan nowadays, but still. I bought this album almost right after it came out, January of 2005, over a year ago. Then, I loved this album. Now, I enjoy this, and like this album. I agree with the others, that this is not progressive music. I have no idea what Masterplan is doing here, but whatever the reason is, here goes:

The first track is one of the best in the album. 'Crimson Rider' starts with good orchestreral keyboards and ambient noises of plane about to crash. The track is very swift and ends to early, but still very good track. 'Back for My Life' is kind of a metal ballad. Lyrics are about forgiveness and crying for lost love. Very lame actually. The riffing is quite basic, nothing special about the track. 'Wounds' is very pop song. Very happy feeling in the chorus. Solo is very original. Listenable song. 'I'm not afraid' is very fine track. Good keyboard intro. Very mellow verse and good mid tempo feeling. Easy goin' chorus. Fine guitar solo. 'Headbanger's Ballroom' is very heavy and metal song. A heavy metal song. Slow metal riffing. And poppy chorus. 'After This War' is fine ballad. Soft vocals and calm theme. Fine track. 'Into the Arena' is very high tempo, fast track. Very power metal styled song. Enjoyable track. 'Dark from the Dying' is my favourite track after the 'Black in the Burn'. Very metal track with creepy vocals in the verse. Good chorus. 'Falling Sparrow' is very Masterplan styled song. Very catchy chorus with good vocals. Very good track, easy to listen. The last track is 'Black in the Burn'. Good keyboard intro with nice vocals. The metal strikes almost instantly though. Very good keyboards in the track. Very melodic track with good metal riffing everywhere. Great vocals too. Catchy chorus. This is the definitely the best track in the album. Because of its length, this track is the only track in the album that reminds progressive music. Album highlights: 'Crimson Rider', 'Dark from the Dying', 'Black in the Burn'.

As said before, this music is not progressive, it is heavy and power metal. I enjoy this band, and think that this album deserves 4 stars, but I can't give that good rating here. Good metal music, but I have to give 2 stars, and "Collectors and fans only" because here that is the correct title in my opinion. If you are a fan, this album is must have, but assuming that you own this one already. If you are looking for progressive metal, walk away.

Report this review (#83873)
Posted Sunday, July 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a german melodic power metal not too progressive,with short songs except the last track ,that is the best.The style is similar to Helloween buit more melodic and symphonic,and the singer Jorn Lande,that now have solo records and sounds more or less like David Coverdale, have a strong voice,the production is ok,with details,the composition is good.The drums are powerfull like in Gamma Ray .The only problem is that there are many bands similar in this kind of power metal and for me there are more impresionant bands.Three stars is ok for this record
Report this review (#114737)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars First, this is not prog at all, this is melodic/teutonic power metal, typical for germans bands, and second not a bad album but not a special one either. Featuring some well known musicians , 2 from ex Helloween, drums and guitar and one from ex Millenium and Ark, the voice. Not many to add just a 3 star album, and i like the sadness of Lande's voice like on Back for my Life and Wounds the best tracks from Aeronautics. For metal fans only, with all that this is an easy album, you don't have to concentrate a lot to get this kind of music, just my opinion. 3 stars
Report this review (#140476)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Since I'm a prog fanatic and visit this site because it's a platform for progbands I shouldn't review this one actually. I agree Masterplan isn't really progmetal but it has some elements in that direction, so ok I will review Masterplan. The progelement that is involved in this bands music is the melodic compositions they perform. I also bought their first album, got enthusiastic and also bought this second album. I think it's slightly better than the first, there's more variety in the songs and the songs are a little bit better. I especially like After this War, Falling Sparrow, I'm not afraid and Into the Arena. But the one that really stands out is of course the almost epic Black in the Burn, a long song for Masterplanstandards. This one is very dynamic, as is actually the entire album. It's one of the things I look for in music so I give this one 4 stars because of the quality; although I have to admit it's not for a prog collection.
Report this review (#145873)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you like HELLOWEEN - the power metal pioneer from Germany, I'm pretty sure that you would adore this album by Masterplan. No wonder because the band was formed by veteran Helloween's guitar player (Rolan Grapow) and drummer (Uli Kusch) plus Jorn Lande on lead vocal. The music featured in this album represents full power metal set with its key characteristic as being tight, upbeat and fast tempo, speed guitar playing and double pedal bass drum that accompany melodic singing line.

The opening track "Crimson Rider" (4:00) is basically is an upbeat and fast tempo music, typical power metal music, with excellent guitar work through riffs and melody, augmented with dynamic drumming. It flows into slower tempo of music with "Back for my Life" (4:14) using orchestration as background. "Wounds" (3:15) maintains power metal tempo with its typical double pedal bass drum. By the first three tracks it's very clear that the composition of each track has focused on creating music with catchy melody and interesting interlude. "Wounds" has proved to be very good in fulfilling these requirements. "I'm not Afraid" (4:47) provides some good break upfront and inserts good keyboard work at background which sounds like a symphonic music. The song flows naturally with nice / catchy choruses especially when it is combined with guitar rhythm section.

"Headbangers Ballroom" (3:54) opens with heavy riffs followed with drums and powerful bass guitar, delivered in medium tempo. "After this War" (3:16) is mellow in style. "Into the Arena" (3:45) starts beautifully with keyboard solo which sets the nuance of the song followed with full blast of power metal sounds. "Dark From the Dying" is a very good song with a bit of symphonic touch. I like the riffs of this song - so powerful and catching. "Falling Sparrow" (4:42) is a nice melodic power metal song. "Black in the Burn" (8:51) is a relatively long duration but the composition does not make me getting bored. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#146175)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Back for their sophomore.

Yes those German power metalers are back, and with a vengeance. The second album from the Helloween spin-off finds the band back in top form and still rocking. Following close on the heels of their last album in terms of sound we find that this band has incorporated a few new things into their sound. These being mainly that the album is really heavy and the album actually has a progressive moment or two in it. While the sound is still similar the most striking difference in this album and their first is that this one has far more contrast between the songs wile the first album had a very themed, almost linear sound. Switching between strait up speed and slow crunchy songs, this album is sure to delight fans of the first.

The album opens with the sound of a propeller starting and synths come in for a moment to introduce the listener to the album until they're blasted by the heavy riffs. CRIMSON RIDER opens with a bang, showing the audience that the band has capitalized on what made them great on the first album -- strong vocals backed by a powerful, competent band. This doesn't let down, especially in the speedier songs such as WOUNDS (a song similar in style to that of ''Kind Hearted Light'' from the debut) and I'M NOT AFRAID.

Also interesting about this album is the apparent homage to former Helloween-er Kai Hansen and his band Iron Savior. AFTER THIS WAR is somewhat a cover of the Iron Savior song ''After The War''. The lyrics have been changed slightly as well as the melody, making this more of a tribute than a cover, but the song is good none the less. Even if it is one of the weaker moments on the album it's always interesting to see bands showing respect for one another.

A couple of the slower songs on the album certainly lead to show a more interesting side of the band. Starting with the album's lead single, BACK FOR MY LIFE, the album hosts a multitude of midpaced and slower songs that show that the band are quite good with that kind of diversity. While some of the slower songs on their debut came out as weaker than the rest, here they're actually fairly strong. The leading single of the album is somewhat of a twisted love song with a catchy chorus and good guitar licks courtesy of one Mr. Roland Grapow. Other excellent songs in the same style occur from here on in, including the Gothic love story, HEADBANGER'S BALLROOM. Perhaps not for the prog of heart, this song tells the tale of two kids who find love in one another away from the strangleholds of society. Featuring some great heavy-metal waltz music at the solo, this is one for the lonely hearted. FALLING SPARROW is another highlight, a slow crunchy rocker with a very melodic chorus.

The band also gets the chance to dabble in the prog-metal fields, if briefly. DARK FROM THE DYING is a short attempt at capturing some of the essence of Prog, bt it doesn't really make it. It's really just one of those songs that seems way longer than it actually is, but still features some very excellent vocals by Lande. Where the band really captures prog (if for a moment) is the coda track BLACK IN THE BURN. Bordering on the short side of 10-minutes, this is a track that the prog-metalers should love. Starting with some haunting pianos the song explodes into motion as Lande's vocals push the guitars over the top into some truly magnificent musical fireworks highlighted by some very impressive (if maybe Helloween styled) guitar solos. This is where everything comes together -- the crunchy guitars mix with the frantic pace of the drumming and keys coupled with a very melodic chorus to create what can only be described as Materplan's opus.

With a number of highlights and a few misfires this album is definately an interesting one. 3 stars, good but not essential to your prog collection. Recommended to fans of Progressive metal (even if this isn't part of the genre), Helloween fans, power metal fans.

Report this review (#162136)
Posted Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Jorn Lande from Ark and uli-grapow from helloween...nice introduction from This Band.and good musicians on this work.when i saw this album for the first Time i tought that this beautiful work was pure-power metal music.and really in a Certain Way it is,but it contains nice Vocals parts performed by the -master- Lande with gread melodic work,making this album more catchy and im never get bored listening to this songs. -Headbangers ballroom-After this war-dark from the dying-falling sparrow-.For my personal taste,they are the better ones on this a few times you can heart progressive elemments,specially in the solo section,a Lot of changes..Well.i like this album.and if you like power melodic will enjoy this,NICE. 3.5 stars

Cheers.. (-Jack-)

Report this review (#202414)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink

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