Saturday, January 29, 2011

Masterplan - S/T (2003)

Eons ago, I used to hear endless praise for this group all throughout my high school years, but it wasn't until I picked up this Helloween offshoot's debut that I realized that, for once, a whole lot of people can't be wrong. Grease up Stratovarius with a bit of old school thrash crunch (Metallica, Celtic Frost, etc.) and you end up with skittering little hellraisers like 'Bleeding Eyes' and 'Crawling From Hell', but thankfully the band isn't a one trick jackass -- suckers for the melodic sensibilities of early Whitesnake and their contemporaries have plenty to cut their teeth on with the balladic 'Into The Light' while a song like 'When Love Comes Close' is comparable to any of Blind Guardian's best acoustic moments. Roland Grapow's shredding is something to behold at times -- he never gives into the temptation to wank over vocals of veteran Jorn Lande, whose performance throughout the album is truly an inspired one and the main reason you'd want to hear these songs in the first place.

In my opinion, Masterplan is everything their name promises -- a focal point of melodic sensibilities from power metal past and present, while still retaining enough individual identity and charisma to cast it's own shadow against those very same influences. But even if you don't care about any of that shit, I can promise that this is an excellent balls-to-the-wall metal record which the band has (unfortunately) been unable to surpass on subsequent releases. Highly recommended.

Listen Here - "Sail On"

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