12/19/2003 - Review by: Anthony Burke
Masterplan S/T 2003 - Reviewed by Anvil
The album itself is comparable with Helloween with some nuances of Stratovarius and a little touch of Primal Fear. You could say that it's simply a great power-metal album that really kicked ass in Europe (it launched under the top positions for 2003 in Germany and other European countries) and surely it will do that too in the US. What is it that makes this album that special? Well, first of the production is absolutely great. The riffings are modern, heavy and melodic too, the song structure is full of good ideas (but never complex) and the sound is heavy, fast and polished with the great voice of Jorn Lande. All tracks are really fantastic. You won't find a song that isn't great and once you hear them you won't be able to knock them out of your brain.
It's really hard to give hints for getting in this album.... The opener "Spirit Never Dies" will make you crazy, but it is just a taste of what's to come. "Enlighten Me" and "Kind Hearted Light" are hymns and both will surely become classic live tracks that no one will want to miss. But the two best songs (for me) on this great album are "Soulburn" - you cannot top that one!!! - and "Bleeding Eyes" that is rather slow and a little bit gloomy too but absolutely great.
Just one thing remains for me left to say: This album will set new standarts and it will remain as a milestone in power-metal history. Buy it or you'll really miss a masterpiece. Great! - Nuff said.
Rating 7 of 7
For further information go to the official page: http://www.headbangers-ballroom.de/mp_page/index1_800.html
5/23/2003 - Review by: Guest
Masterplan - Masterplan - reviewed by: Metal Rob
Masterplan prove that power metal can still be fresh, genuine and passionate in the new millennium. They push the boundaries of power metal, injecting a good dose of diversity into their sound. At times Masterplan come across progressive, sounding, like a Coverdale fronted Conception circa Into Your Multitude (Spirit Never Die and Enlighten Me, especially in the Tore Otsby inflected riff Grapow cooks up in the latter). There are moments with AOR and melodic rock references (especially in the Ark-like ballad When Love Comes Close, and the tasty mid-paced ambiguity of Soulburn).
However, while Masterplan certainly push the boundaries, power metal is the continual touchstone of their various departures, suturing this strange beast of many heads together with an overall cohesion. Their strategy is not to entirely avoid all the lyrical and musical clichés associated with the new wave of power metal (double bass drumming, impassioned melodic vocals, speedy and soaring guitar lines, fanciful lyrical themes). Kind Hearted Light, Heroes and Crawling from Hell, arguably the most conventional power metal anthems on this album, show quite dramatically (and to my great surprise) that there is indeed life left in the stereotypes that seemingly threatened to make power metal an unintentionally comical caricature of itself.
Masterplan pull off the near impossible, re-injecting passion and authenticity into what many have for some time dismissed as tired and overused constructs. How do they do this? They do it by the sheer force of their conviction and intensity, by the infectious enthusiasm of their performance, and by the sheer virtuosity of their songwriting skills. The production and presentation are appropriately brilliant, shiny, articulate and fascinating, making this, overall, a very tasty power metal nugget that will satisfy even the most cynical old power metal headbanger, like myself.
--Metal Rob 5.23.03
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