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Masterplan - "Masterplan"
Painful Lust / Soul Food 2003

This release is a proper opening of a new metal season. Under a new band name, experienced musicians joined their strengths. Yes, I'm talking about a real fuckin' band and not about some kind of short lasting side project. One of first names on the German drumming scene, Uli Kusch and the guitar maestro Roland Grapow (it was said, that they were both fired from Helloween), accompanied by Jan S. Eckert (Iron Savior) on the bass guitar and Jorn Lande (ex-Ark, Beyond Twilight, Jorn) on vocals. Lande is a very important key in the new band, 'cause he's simply the best in comparison to the other blazing vocals of his generation in the metal scene. Even the biggest die-hard fans of Whitesnake, couldn't believe that on "Once Bitten..." (The Snakes, 1998) Jorn and not David Coverdale actually sings. Jorn has his attractive and sincere soulful style of performance that will always convince you.

80% of all music was written on the last Helloween tour. So the guys had a lot of time for composing really strong and expressive songs with "heads and tails".Grapow and Kusch succeeded in bringing intensity and really high atmosphere from the last two Helloween releases into Masterplan's music. Songs are short and powerful strikers, such as the opener "Spirit Never Dies", "Kind Hearted Light", "Crawling From Hell" or, actually, the only more or less cliché song "Heroes", where M. Kiske contributed his vocal. On the other hand we can find mid tempo "dirty new age" sounding boosters like "Enlighten Me" or "Into The Light" with a great energy flow captured inside. The album ends with one of the finest compositions called "When Love Comes Close" with a nice acoustic guitar touch implanted into its power mid-tempo drive, where Lande's hardrock feel is most impressive. The atmosphere reaches it's highest peak in oriental flavored "Bleeding Eyes".

So we are dealing with diverse, compact structured pieces with dramatic passages included on every step.When every single note finds its right place, when keyboards make a nice company for guitars, when the sound is colorful and the instruments are balanced in the sound production. Both "ex-pumpkin" guys are showing all of their huge talents as a composers and performers again. And this is, by now, somehow requested and expected from them.

This band launches a really strong debut release and it won't be any surprise if this album will be voted as a debut release of the year 2003. And New Year has just began. Masterplan are must for all Helloween die-hard fans and lovers of Helloween quality clones as for example Edguy or Avantasia are.

Author:   Ale¹

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