´╗┐Masterplan - MK II - 2007 - Candlelight Records
1. Phoenix Rising 2. Warrior's Cry 3. Lost And Gone 4. Keeps me Burning 5. Take Me Over 6. I'm Gonna Win 7. Watching The World 8. Call The Gypsy 9. Trust In You 10. Masterplan 11. Enemy 12. Heart Of Darkness
Being a long-time Deep Purple fan, I couldn't help but notice this album's title, which bears a more than passing resemblance to that of Purple's most revered lineup. In both cases, the name refers to the band's second lineup, which is thought by the band members to have provided a much-needed creative boost.
Mind you, former Masterplan vocalist Jorn Lande and drummer Uli Kusch were hardly a musical liability, as original Purple members Rod Evans and Nick Simper supposedly were in the eyes of their former band. But with the arrival of longtime Riot vocalist Mike DiMeo and drummer Mike Terrana (of Rage fame), Masterplan seem to have turned a corner.
Gone for the most part are the basic, almost non-existent riffs and relatively non-threatening nature of the band's second album, Aeronautics. What has taken their place is not quite the anthemic, semi-progressive metal of their debut album, but a record with (to my ears) a greater dynamic range and versatility than was found on Aeronautics.
Musically and lyrically, MK II does not stretch out into proggier territory, sticking mostly to "intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus" arrangements and fairly general lyrics about various types of struggles encountered in life. However, the album does display considerably more adventurousness and spontaneity than either of the band's previous efforts, making it a satisfying listen and a return to form that should please fans whose attention had started to drift. While it may not be earth-shattering, MK II finds Masterplan again offering something worthwhile for rock and metal fans across petty sub-genre divisions. From the slow but steady and anthemic "I'm Gonna Win" to the mid-tempo grooves of "Enemy" and "Take Me Over" to the explosive bursts of power, speed and melody on "Warrior's Cry" and "Masterplan," the power/ prog/ hard rock hybrid bases are covered nicely.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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