Masterplan MKII AFM Records
· Produced By: Masterplan

· Running Time: 40.27

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Metal

· Links: Masterplan
Songs: 86%
Sound: 96%
Masterplan may have moved on without vocalist Jorn Lande, but they haven't moved on from the winning formula that delivered two exceptionally good melodic metal albums.
The German outfit was faced with a huge dilemma when their charismatic and popular frontman departed, but faced it head on.
Their decision to recruit American Mike DiMeo (Riot, The Lizards) was a gamble, but coming off one of Riot's best received albums in years, the momentum was with the new singer.
Masterplan's faith in DiMeo has been justified with a truly great performance here, allowing the band to continue their musical journey without having to make any radical changes to direction or basic band philosophy.
Jorn Lande is one of metal's great vocalists, so naturally there are times within this record where you miss Jorn a little or ponder what might have been with him singing, but Mike really does a terrific job with the material.
Speaking of the material – I don't think this album is as consistent or as high a quality as the absolutely classic Aeronautics record. That was always going to be a tough record to top – even without losing Jorn.
I do think that this record does deliver another selection of strong melodic metal tunes, but perhaps not a full album of classics this time around.
The band keeps the same sound, style and approach of the first two albums – the sonic onslaught of dual lead guitars and an ear splitting rhythm section is relentless.
I do love the sound – the production is once again immaculate – but I do feel that something Jorn brought to the band is missing here. That is his natural ability to apply some breathing space between the onslaught that is the album's furious tempo.
Track By Track:
After the obligatory mood creating building intro, MKII is underway in traditional Masterplan style - double kick drums, furious riffing and a faster than hell pace.
Mike DiMeo makes his mark immediately with a strong vocal – perhaps not the presence here of Jorn, but solid. Warriors Cry is a seriously heavy song – sonically intense to the point of bursting ear drums! The song gets better and better as you get to know it and kicks the album off to a monster start.
Lost And Gone is the first single from the album and is more restrained from the bombastic opener. Solid riffing and an enjoyable song with a good chorus, but again, not quite the quality of the band's last album Aeronautics.
Keeps Me Burning is for me the first classic from the new line up. This is what Masterplan are all about for me and I love this track and what Mike brings to it with his vocal hook. A huge guitar sound and a perfect production offers melodies from the first riff through the laid back verse to a monster chorus which sees Mike deliver one of his soaring vocal melodies. I love everything about this song. It just isn't long enough!
Take Me Over is another sonically intense track and trademark Masterplan sound.
The chorus isn't instant nor is it overly anthemic, but it works well within the power of the song.
I'm Gonna Win is a mid-tempo track, but still filled with intense and heavy riffing and another good chorus – matched by an equally strong verse. Not as immediate or brilliant a chorus but enjoyable nevertheless.
Likewise with Watching The World and Call The Gipsy and even the album as a whole. Good strong songs that put most of the competition to shame, but compared with the band's first two albums, I think they haven't quite matched their own brilliance.
Trust In You is the only ballad of the album as such, but even then, it is super heavy. I like the song, even without a big chorus. Mike delivers a heartfelt and passionate vocal.
Naming a song after themselves tins time around, Masterplan heads back into double time riffing and furious kick drums, plus the most aggressive in your face chorus break of the whole album. A truly intense metal moment!
Enemy has a solid hook and I like the way the song morphs into something a little different towards the end.
Heart Of Darkness closes the third Masterplan album in pretty good style. Another fine, intense rocker and another fine lead vocal, but once again, missing is the chorus hooks that Jorn seemed able to manage.
The Bottom Line
MKII is another enjoyable and perfectly produced album from Masterplan. Epic melodic metal without a doubt. The album sounds better played through from start to finish, and I wouldn't say it has as many stand alone highlights as the first two albums.
I think overall the record is missing two or three classic songs and some better choruses, but that is comparing this album to what we now expect after two great initial releases.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Masterplan
· Aeronautics

Line Up:
· Mike DiMeo: Vocals
· Roland Grapow: Guitar
· Mike Terrana: Drums
· Jan S. Eckert: Bass
· Axel Mackenrott: Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
· Masterplan
· Mike DiMeo
Track Listing
· Phoenix Rising
· Warriors Cry *
· Lost And Gone
· Keeps Me Burning *
· Take Me Over
· I'm Gonna Win *
· Watching The World
· Call The Gipsy
· Trust In You
· Masterplan
· Enemy *
· Heart Of Darkness

--*Best Tracks

18/05/07: cutter -
Rating: 50
Good music on this album but imo the vocals just don't quite fit. At times Mike Demio sounds like Jon Bonjovi to me and i don't think that complements the music on this. Can't help but wonder what these songs would sound like with Jorn on them!

29/04/07: Wardys3 -
Rating: 80
For all the fuss re the change of vocalists and the departure of the 'other half' of Masterplan, drummer Uli I am quite impressed with the result. While on one hand I feel 80% may be a tad generous, everytime I listen to the album I'm happy enough with it. Granted it isn't quite what the first two albums were but the results are quite good, tracks such as Warrior's Cry, Keeps me Burning, and my personal fave Enemy are good examples of where this band is headed. Mike brings something else to the vocals and to be honest it is simply unfair to compare him to Jorn. No-one should have to be but I guess it goes with the territory, ya step up to fill big shoes you gotta expect some flak. But I like his voice!

If you go into this one expecting everything to be as strong as the landmark Masterplan debut or its follow-up you are quite rightly going to be disappointed. This isn't quite the same band anymore but they are continuing on a similar path. If this is any indication the next album should truly return them to form. This one has to be taken on its own.

My biggest gripe is that it doens't feel as complete as previous efforts, there is some filler and the songs don't sound as unique as previous albums. Not that they're bad but maybe at times a little too predictable, too radio friendly perhaps?

Oh, and the band picture on the rear of my digi-pack version which I assume is the same as the jewel case version is LAME! The two new boys in particular look sad, biggest chest posing I've seen since the 80's. Get over yourselves guys and just stick to your music! ;) The MKII digi looks great next to my Masterplan and Aeronautics digi-packs just as long as you don't turn it around and look at the back :) :) :)

But not a bad effort.

27/04/07: Nukster -
Rating: 65
Being a big fan of the first two Masterplan albums featuring the mighty Jorn Lande I was apprehensive listening to this for the first time. Again the musical content is very good but we should all realise that Masterplan where never going to repeat the supreme power and quality now Jorn has moved onto pastures new. Its going to take something special from a vocalist to better Jorn's talents. Saying that if this was the first Masterplan album and we hadnt become accustomed to waiting for Jorn's genius we would be suitably impressed with this album. Good album overall but its always hard to win over die hard fans with new members because the base line and the standard has already been set with the first two releases.

25/04/07: Zok -
Rating: 69
Masterplan where the masters of this kind of music with their two first albums. Now they are just like the other bands in this genre. Pretty boring. It΄s seems that Jorn and Uli are truly missed.

24/04/07: Sava Karadzic -
Rating: 89
I didn't like this album on first listen, but after some spining I think it's the best Masterplan record so far!

20/04/07: Rockman -
Rating: 88
This band has been, and always will be, about Roland Grapow. Mike Dimeo really sings the songs extremely well. Rolands songs are always very good. Not overly technical but very well layered. Excellent harmonies and melody. Another very good disc.

19/04/07: Addyeddy -
Rating: 95
I was apprehensive about this album, but needn't have worried.

I don't miss Jorn at all, and I think this is the bands most accessible album so far.

Hope they are still supporting Saxon next month!

19/04/07: ignacio -
Rating: 50
for me really disappointing ... still hearing aeronautics ... i can't get enought from this one ;-)

19/04/07: dino -
Rating: 55
I was smart enough this time not to buy the album judging by Andy's review. And boy am I happy I didn't. I borrowed it from a friend and I listened to it for 3 days straight. This must be one of the worst records in the genre ever!
Boring melody lines, it all sounds the same, stupid lyrics, the same boring sound. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of this ind of music, Jorn is the best singer around, but this album is just so boring and predictive. If you play music you will be able to predict the chords as you are listening to a song. To cut the long story short, it's releases like this that make me realise why wider audiences stay away from this kind of music. Sometimes I feel the same...

19/04/07: Edu -
Rating: 95
Brilliant album, Mike Dimeo sings with passion and the songs sounds really strong. another winner!!

18/04/07: Peter -
Rating: 97
Metal at its best! MKII has the rawer sound of the first album. Roland Grapow did it again, the 2 Mikes make another perfect Masterplan.

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