AFM/The End Records, 2003
REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/17/2003
With former members of Helloween, Iron Savior and Ark, Masterplan has the looks of a supergroup, and plays with a confidence that would contradict most bands coming into their first album. The tightness of the first track guarantees no rookies, blending classical-influenced keyboards and elaborate guitar rhythms into songs that could shake the airwaves if only they had shorter hair.
Helmet based an entire career on the lock-step riffing Masterplan does on the first song, but our boys do it with emphasis on m-m-metal, which isn't a dirty word anymore. The vocals often suggest Chris Cornell reaching for it, and the songs occasionally rely on self-help book proverbs, but it all comes in short doses. Precise, complex and sharp, these tracks played over and over and over in my stereo; and that's part compliment and complaint.
The songs were consistently great, but their record label mixed all eleven numbers onto a single 50:51 track to send to press folks like me. How am I supposed to listen to "Bleeding Eyes" without <FWD>ing past most of the album? Another grumble would be that whoever mixed this should ponder diversity; every single song fades out, and bleeds into the next. The sameness of the mixing hurts Masterplan in the end, as the entrance of "Crawling From Hell" takes your mind away from the song themselves, and you ponder what you'd have done that day in post-production instead.
Still, I'm considering buying the full-length of this online somewhere just so I can hear a single song at a time