Power of Metal.dk Review

Novum Initium
Style: Melodic Metal
Release date: 14 June, 2013
Playing time: 51:23

Masterplan was created by Uli Kusch and Roland Grapow when they left Helloween 2001. They managed to find the quite unknown Norwegian vocal power house Jorn Lande in the band Ark and with his magical voice they created an unique metal sound that made the self-titled album "Masterplan" a big success and got many fans (myself included) immediately.

When the sovereign and outstanding metal album "Aeronautics" was released in 2005 they reached what many though was the band's absolute highlight with Jorn. Both Jorn and Uli left Masterplan in 2006 and Mike DiMeo took over the microphone and Mike Terrana the drums on the so-so album "MK II". The fans wanted Jorn Lande back and the Norwegian returned on the album "Time to be King". Everything looked fine and dandy, but in 2012 Jorn Lande left Masterplan again (for good this time?) and Roland Grapow was without a front man again.

Rick Altzi (At Vance) is a Swedish singer who is trying to satisfy the demands of all the Masterplan's hungry fans. "Novum Initium" (a clean new start) is the well-fitting name for this production, which Roland Grapow has produced himself. In the first real track 'The Game', it sounds like good old Masterplan melodies with Rick's a little grittier and rougher voice compared to Jorn's, but I'm not going to compare their vocals differences. I'll give Rick a fair chance to get the German melodic power metal machine their new vocal tune. 'The Game' contains quick and alert drumming, which is supporting the classic and melodic guitar loops that Roland Grapow has as his trademark; a very melodic and catchy track.

The pace slows down in the half tempo song 'Keep Your Dream Alive' and Rick does really show what a great singer he is. In the typical Roland Grapow song 'Black Night of Magic' it feels like I've heard it all before. The special atmosphere with clear keyboard sounds (Axel Mackenrott) and magical drumming from Martin Škaroupka (Cradle Of Filth) creates a solid base to build brilliant songs on, like 'Betrayal' with an eastern touch, stiff hard rhythm and powerful vocals. Martin is a Czech monster behind the kegs and is one of the globe's best drummers. A good recruit. The middle songs 'No Escape' and 'Pray On My Soul' is written and played by the metal bible and are solid tracks, but no masterpieces.

In 'Return from Avalon' I've found my personal little gem that makes my legs bounces. Nice melody and big vocals from Rick and a killer solo from Roland Grapow. The only slow song on the disc is 'Through Your Eyes' and is matter of fact an emotional and beautiful love song. The title track is the last one on the album and it clocks in over ten minutes mark. A real though piece of metal to digest I must say.

After several spins, I have to say that this is an impressive and heavy album from Masterplan. I do hope that the line-up will hold together for some time, because this sounds promising.

I like it!

01. Per Aspera Ad Astra
The Game
Keep Your Dream Alive
Black Night Of Magic
No Escape
Pray On My Soul
Earth Is Going Down
Return From Avalon
Through Your Eyes
11. Novum Initium
Label: AFM Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 89/100
Reviewed by: Patrik Skoglund
Date: 2 June, 2013
Website: www.masterplan-theband.com