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Masterplan Masterplan album cover
3.76 | 52 ratings | 13 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirit Never Die (5:26)
2. Enlighten Me (4:37)
3. Kind Hearted Light (4:25)
4. Crystal Night (5:14)
5. Soulburn (6:15)
6. Heroes (3:31)
7. Sail On (4:35)
8. Into The Light (4:09)
9. Crawling From Hell (4:11)
10. Bleeding Eyes (5:39)
11. When Love Comes Close (4:08)

Total Time: 52:10


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Roland Grapow / guitars
- Uli Kusch / drums
- Jörn Lande / vocals
- Jan S. Eckert / bass
- Axel Mackenrott / keyboards

Releases information

Painful Lust PL007

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
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MASTERPLAN Masterplan ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MASTERPLAN Masterplan reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Vanwarp
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.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by progrules
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.

Review by 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.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1128310) | Posted by Progrussia | Friday, February 7, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#210734) | Posted by Kustin | Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#104232) | Posted by | Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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" (sty ... (read more)

Report this review (#93274) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 Angr ... (read more)

Report this review (#43761) | Posted by riversdancing | Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#18220) | Posted by V0lcaN0 | Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#18219) | Posted by | Saturday, December 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#18218) | Posted by | Monday, December 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#18217) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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