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MASTERPLAN is a band put together by former Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow in 2002. “Mk II” is their third release, and the first without acclaimed vocalist Jorn Lande and drummer Uli Kusch. Musically this is an album of European style power metal, from start to finish. The guitars are the main instruments here, most often pushed very high in the mix while epic chords, slow riffs or fast solos are played. The guitars are central, and very dominating. Playing and production see to it that the overall guitar sound here is epic and heavy at all times, creating bombastic and grandiose atmospheres at any given time. The vocals deliver melody as well as a lyrical context for the songs. And DiMeio's vocal abilities certainly add something extra to these tracks. Not a brilliant vocalist, but one good at adjusting vocal delivery to fit with every given mood. He's not in the same class as Lande, though. Synths are used to enhance moods and melodies throughout the album; and when not drowning in the guitar sound they do that brilliantly. The songs here are quite interesting; most of them are highly melodic, and many contain catchy chorus sections. The songs are mostly high on intensity, bombastic in style, and excellently performed. Too few of the tracks are good from start to finish, though. I'd recommend fans of bombastic, European style power metal to check out this release, as well as fans of classic heavy metal. If nuances and details are important to you, you'd better listen closer to this album before deciding to purchase it, though.
OMB: July 23, 2008
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