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Review: Masterplan - MK II

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 52:32
Tracks: 12
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: February 7, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating

Rated 4.05/5 (80.91%) (22 Votes)

The collective minds of musical engineers Uli Kusch and Roland Grapow created a tidal wave of anticipation back in 2003, when after an official booting from Helloween demanded they propagate their combined genius elsewhere. The result, as we all know, was the mighty Masterplan. Now, both Uli and original singer Jorn Lande may have buggered off, but as ever, the stoically minded guitarist will soldier on, and with ex-Rage man Mike Terrana and former Riot screamer Mike DiMeo replacing them in a flash, I doubt Mr. Grapow will find difficulty pleasing his audiences any time soon.

Another turning point for the German heavyweights, "MK II" follows nicely from 2005's "Aeronautics", albeit with less raspy whining from the aforementioned Lande, and with a focus primarily on melody. The progressive elements are hard to find here, being replaced with short, sharp, punchy power metal numbers in the style of tracks like "Spirit Never Die" and "Heroes" from their self-titled debut. DiMeo breathes life into these songs with a depth Lande could never attain, and Mike Terrana's drum work is nothing less than stellar; replicating Kusch's approach to the kit whilst filling the perforations left by his predecessor with panache and only a sprinkle of pretension. Opener "Warriors Cry" gives DragonForce a run for their money in terms of speed and accessibility, and both "Enemy", and "Keeps Me Burning" are catchier than an STD on a cold day. The song writing is ingenious, with Kusch only contributing the music for the rattling "Masterplan" – a song that on first listen is rather akin to Nocturnal Rites – and as you'd expect from the boys at Finnvox, the sound is clearer than a summer sky.

"MK II" is an album that fans of catchy, uplifting power metal cannot afford to miss. A triumph for AFM and an inspiring piece of work, Masterplan are flying above their competitors towards the holy grail of commercial acceptance. Just like Marty Mcfly in Back to the Future II, where they're going they don't need roads.

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