Review by Denis on February 18, 2003.
Masterplan may very well be a new band, but the musicians are no new comers to the metal scene. Four very well known and accomplished musicians, as well as a stranger to the scene, have created an incredibly good debut album. Made up of two guys from Helloween; guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch (who happen to be the composers of most of the material), former bass player from Iron Savior, Jan S. Eckert, Axel Mackenrott on keyboards (the only stranger) and last but not least, Jorn Lande, one of today's best male vocalist around.
Now, if you are not too hot for Power metal, you might disregard this album as being just another side project from a couple of ex-Power metal musicians doing another Power metal album. If you do that, you would then mist the boat. Even if it was that, you have to consider the fact that Jorn Lande is not your typical Power vocalist and if you had the chance to listen to the bands he has worked with before, like Ark, or even more so, the awesome dark Progressive opus "The Devil's Hall of Fame" by Beyond Twilight, you know this guy is a different breed of cat.
This type of music can be described as Progressive metal with some Power elements done with melodic singing. The singing is clean, rough and emotional at the same time. I'm telling you, this singer is great! He's not the Death or Black type, but far away from the typical high-pitched screeches that Power metal usually has. He gives the songs a very special atmosphere that needs to be listened to really understand the implication.
The best part of this album comes in as a trio near the end with the songs 'Into the Light,' 'Crawling from Hell,' and 'Bleeding Eyes.' The first one starts with an acoustic intro and alternates between a calmness and a heavier mode with good keys and a guitar solo. The following number is a Prog/ Power composition made of great guitar work, and some especially great chorus lines. The "piece de resistance" is with no doubt 'Bleeding Eyes.' What a great guitar sound to begin a song! This leads us right into an incredibly heavy composition with jaw dropping walls of sound, painted with powerful bass and key parts! Thrilling beats, guitar solo and outstanding vocals - the peak of the opus.
Bottom Line: Great album, thrilling music, memorable vocals.
Categorical Rating Breakdown:
Rating: 8.5 out of 10