Masterplan - Aeronautics 4/5

Reviewed: 7-22-05





Tracklist:

1. Crimson rider
2. Back for my life
3. Wounds
4. I'm not afraid
5. Headbanger's ballroom
6. After this war
7. Into the arena
8. Dark from the dying
9. Falling sparrow
10. Black in the burn


Masterplan made a great first impression with their 2003 debut s/t CD. Ousted Helloween members Uli Kusch and Roland Grapow joined forces with monster singer Jorn Lande to form a bit of a power metal "supergroup". The result was a great CD of catchy memorable power metal with a sound that didn't break any genre barriers, but did come off sounding very unique. It's very hard for a group to follow up such a successful debut with their sophomore release, so I was excited and weary to hear their 2nd CD 'Aeronautics'.

The band basically plays things safe with this CD, putting out a CD that sounds much like the first one in terms of music and song style. "Crimson rider" opens the CD and immediately the staples of the Masterplan sound are evident. Jorn's raspy, powerful delivery is back and impresses as always. The tempo here is in the upper range of the midtempo with catchy and driving riffing. Once again you can hear the class and polish that helps distinguish Masterplan from the crowd. "Back for my life" is a slower number, with Jorn singing lamentably over cheating on his woman. A somewhat pedestrian topic you'd be more apt to hear from an 80s glam metal band, but nonetheless, the song is very good. With "Wounds" you get your first truly speedy song on the CD, and Roland out Helloweens Helloween with an awesome harmony dual lead in the middle. The CD continues on, with several tracks of distinctive high quality power metal. "After this war" is an interesting track. It's almost a cover of Iron Savior's "After the war" from their 'Dark assault' CD, but it actually just borrows heavily from the music and vocal melodies. They do give a songwriting credit to Piet Sielck, so everything seems to be above board. Anyway, I would say Masterplan's version of "After the war" is considerably better than the "original" version. "Black in the burn" is a suitably epic closer without dragging on for too long.

Overall, the quality of this sophomore CD is, in my mind, very close to that of the debut. The biggest difference now is that you've heard it before. So, this CD doesn't have near the impact the debut did. Still, the band stuck with the winning formula and it's not like I'm sick of them after only one or 2 CDs, so 'Aeronautics' remains one of the better CDs released this year.



JOHN




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