Helloween’s The Dark Ride
is unanimously considered a great Power Metal album, and the biggest reason this is so beloved is due to each member of the band. Andi Deris’s singing reached new heights, while classic members Weikath and Grosskopf both play their guitar and bass, respectively, at their very best. Of course, I cannot forget the fired members Roland Grapow, the guitarist, and Uli Kusch, on drums, as a part of the successful formula. After their departure from Helloween
, they decided to form the new Power Metal band Masterplan
. Though their material is not quite as dark as The Dark Ride
, their material is a bit darker than the usual fare from bands like Helloween
and Gamma Ray
, making an awesome final product of a debut.
The collection of musicians might be the most important part of this band, as each is a virtuoso over their territory. The previously-mentioned Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch are the masterminds behind the instrumentals; being the men who control the guitars, bass, and drums of the release. Despite the difficulties of controlling so many musical tools, the band succeeds because of the proficiencies of the instrumentalists; crafting numerous tunes that are catchy and heavy for Power Metal. One standout track is the heavy “Crystal Night,” a song that is an enormous departure from the first two upbeat and fast songs. Kusch works with a slow tempo to deliver a grand performance, while Grapow’s colossal riff will make any Power Metal fan want to headbang. Outside of “Crystal Night,” Grapow consistently performs great riffs and solos, and has become even better after the Dark Ride
days. Kusch also never fails to impress, proving that he is one of the most formidable drummers in the Power Metal world once again. As for the typical Power Metal songs, the band delivers without flaws; as “Heroes” and “Kind Hearted Light” are both large, but enjoyable, pieces of cheese.
Singer Jorn Lande, already being well-versed in the Power Metal world, is yet another important member in the band. His singing throughout the songs provides a good mix of high and low pitches, and does a wonderful job throughout each song’s duration. Lande’s vocals on “Soulburn” and “Sail On“ are varied and extremely catchy; carrying each of these songs to become album highlights. He is easily one of the better Power Metal singers within the genre, and really shines throughout all eleven songs; especially because of how he fits so well with his bandmates. His slightly rougher tone works well with the band’s sound, creating an unusual mix while containing plenty of melodies and heaviness. In addition to this, many of his choruses will
get stuck into your head from the album’s beginning to the final notes of “When Love Comes Close.” His unique voice was made for these choruses, and assuredly impacts them without being too much of either very heavy or very melodic.
This album is also one for surprising listeners in a variety of ways. In “Heroes,” a familiar face to Power Metal takes his place in center stage: Michael Kiske, the former lead singer of Helloween
. His voice, already iconic to metal fans, is a dominating force on the song and is likely the reason many would identify [u]Masterplan[u]. His performance, combined with Lande’s own performance on the very same song, makes a modern metal highlight in the same vein as the melodic “I Want Out.” The band also has twists and turns in the form of “Into the Light,” the album’s token ballad that is surprisingly great. Grapow and Lande take center stage with fitting performances and atmospheres, developing a very beautiful and enjoyable song that works as a rest from the fast and heavy Power Metal.
Altogether, this is a Power Metal album that you should not ignore. The instrumentals, singing, and surprises throughout Masterplan
are all incredible; demanding a listen from many individuals who enjoy Power Metal. This album may not be a masterpiece or the most groundbreaking album in its genre; though I assure you that it is consistently amazing and offers a great listen of Power Metal done right.