"Masterplan" (Painful Lust/AFM Records)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Masterplan's self-titled debut is an impressively strong metal album that falls comfortably between power metal and progressive metal. Bboosted above and beyond the norm by talented musicians and a vocal performance by Jorn Lande that has to be marked among his best ever, "Masterplan" is, for the most part, an awesome CD.

Like all great power metal CDs, "Masterplan" features sharp, perfectly balanced production, sophisticated songwriting and impressive technical musicianship. Except for a few songs near the CD's end (when things seem to lose steam a bit), "Masterplan" stays strong throughout, every track an above-average epic that is hard and heavy yet always accessible ... like all great power metal.

It's worth repeating that Jorn Lande's vocal performance here is among his best. At times emulating the legendary Ronnie James Dio, but always keeping a unique voice of his own, Lande lends a lot of strength to the 11 tracks hereon. Not only does he have incredible range, but he makes his passion for the music apparent throughout. I've been less than thrilled with some of Lande's work in the past, but what he does on "Masterplan" more than makes up for any of it.

Fans of power metal and the heavier side of melodic metal should do themselves a favor and discover Masterplan.

Masterplan: Roland Graphow - guitars; Uli Kusch - drums; Jorn Lande - vocals; Jan S. Eckert - bass; Axel Mackenrott - guitars.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.