Masterplan – Time To be King
Label: AFM Records
Released: May 21, 2010
Masterplan’s fourth album, Time To Be King, landed on my desk around the time of the tragic passing of Ronnie James Dio. Like many of the new album’s I received around that time, it was set aside, as I became but one of a million plus Dio fans who dealt with what felt like a decidedly personal loss. Perhaps had I listened to Time To Be King first it might have helped salve my pain.
For those new to the German power metal band, Masterplan was formed almost a decade ago by former Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow. Tapped for vocals was Norwegian singer Jørn Lande. One listen to Jørn’s voice and you can hear a very Dio-esque quality in his style and power. Not surprisingly Jørn recorded his own tribute album to Dio last year which will be released on Frontiers Records this July.
But back to Time To Be King. The entire feel of the album has that classic Dio feel from the Rainbow Long Live Rock and Roll era, which is high praise. The album’s first single “Far from Home” brings back fond memories of “Gates of Babylon.” The album’s ten tracks are inspired by the legacy of the past while rooted firmly in modern soil.
The album is replete with epic guitar work and brilliant production from Grapow, a rich wall of rhythms and keyboards, and Lande’s incredible if not intense vocals. Everything lays just right without overpowering or getting lost in the mix.
Songs like the opener, “Fiddle Of Time” and “Lonely Winds of War” begin with minstrel-style interlude’s before the hammering rhythm section, crunchy guitars and soaring keyboards envelope the listener’s ear.
“Blue Europa” details the evil of Nazi Germany, the tragedy of World War II and its impact on Europe.
“The Sun is In Your Hands” yanks you out of your seat with its atmospheric energy. While “The Black One” keeps the blood pumping with it’s somewhat sinister keyboard backdrop and regal guitar work.
This is Masterplan’s best work to date. Listen once, then throw it in your iPod and absorb it. Each listen brings new layers and nuance to light, making the listening more pleasurable.
Epic European power metal!