Masterplan Aeronautics AFM Records
Produced By: Roy Z

Running Time: 45.00

Release Date: January 24

Released: EU JP

Musical Style: Melodic Metal

Links: Masterplan
Songs: 98%
Sound: 100%
One of the year's most eagerly anticipated metal releases is one of the first off the ranks. The January 24 release of Masterplan's second album is another step towards world domination for the band.
One of the very best hard music vocalists in the world is Jorn Lande. He fronts a band whose line-up may not consist of household names, but whose recording pedigree runs deep. Should the label do their job properly, these guys will soon be far better known.
Aeronautics takes the blueprint of the band's debut and builds on it to create an even more impressive beast. The debut was something pretty special, but without making to many changes, this is close to magnificent.
While not as instant as the debut that album featured a couple of pretty catchy anthems to grab on to Aeronautics is far more consistent and song driven affair. The first run through offers the listener a lot of promise, but it's the subsequent plays that sees the promise delivered.
This is an incredible collection of songs that gets better with each listen, as the intricate musical weave unravels, revealing the layers and the melodies beneath the surface.
And the key to this depth and maturity is an utterly sensational production job by man of the hour Roy Z. A better choice could not have been made and Roy delivers a package that is as tight possible, while remaining evenly mixed and a joy to listen to.
He has also brought out the best possible performances in everyone Lande's vocals are among the best recorded anywhere, the urgent riffing and inspired soloing of Roland Grapow drives the record, while the rhythm section is amongst the most brutal I recall.
And adding melody and dramatic texture to the record is keyboard master Axel Mackenrott.
Once digested, it's easy to see the many moods this record has. The dark and pounding opener Crimson Rider is brutal, yet melodic; the natural choice of a single Back For My Life takes on a certain commercial feel and could easy fit amongst the top charting songs anywhere in the world especially in this post-Evananscence world.
The anthem Wounds is anything but that during an enthralling moody verse, but suddenly doubles momentum during the breakthrough chorus.
I'm Not Afraid is driven by that monster rhythm section and some soaring vocals, but it's the keyboards of Mackenrott that creates the mood on this album highlight.
The band rock through Headbanger's Ballroom, but prove they can change tempo and slow it down during After This War.
Into The Arena is another brutally heavy track and Lande's vocal is again inspired. How he brings melody to such a heavy track is amazing.
Dark From The Dying is yet another track that reveals itself after several listens and provides another change in texture to the album. It seems to provide some ease in the intensity of the album, which is ideal leading into one of the best tracks on the album in Falling Sparrow. I believe this track will be a favourite with many as it has a brooding moodiness to it and through a winding chorus provides Lande with one of his best vocals of the album.
Determined to end the album with a high impact track, Black In The Burn fits the bill perfectly. This track really builds from a killer intro into a monster of a track that winds through some 9 minutes of pure metal joy.
The prog-rock tinged song features inspired vocals, intricate piano work, deafening riffs and a mid-song passage to rival Metallica, making this another classic track and an example of perfect world class metal in 2004.
The Bottom Line
Aeronautics delivers nothing unexpected, but thanks to the highest possibly quality songs, expert production, and some breathtaking performances, the album improves on the debut in every facet and will be hard to top as 2005's best melodic metal release.
This band has a great chemistry and one hopes there is plenty more to come. A live CD and DVD next would be nice.
Discography / Previously Reviewed

Line Up
Jorn Lande: Vocals
Roland Grapow: Guitar
Uli Kusch: Drums
Jan S. Eckert: Bass
Axel Mackenrott: Keyboards

Essential for fans of:
Jorn Lande
Roland Grapow / Helloween
Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Real Metal!
Track Listing
Crimson Rider*
Back For My Life*
I'm Not Afraid*
Headbanger's Ballroom
After This War
Into The Arena
Dark From The Dying
Falling Sparrow*
Black In The Burn*
--*Best Tracks

25/01/06: JT -
Rating: 80
Are you all mad ?!! This is beyond any shadow of a doubt one of the most overated releases of the year ! i`ve played this CD 5 times on the trot & i still can`t find a rememberal song on the entire album !! Some songs start with a great riff & then fall apart some don`t even have great riffs !!! Yers the production is great. This album sounds the business but that doesn`t hide the fact that there arn`t any great songs on it. If you like power metal with songs that you can walk away singing then check out Pagans Mind - Enigmatic Calling & see how it should be done. to those of you unsure on this album i would check out some tracks 1st before buying

28/08/05: hotzi -
Rating: 95
GreatAlbum !!!

27/07/05: Rob -
Rating: 100
This is one hell of an album! Great singing, guitar playing and a drummer that just can't be beat (look out Mike Portnoy!). The music just grabs a hold of you and it's really hard to take the CD out of the CD player. The best album this year by far!!!

21/07/05: Carrfox72 -
Rating: 90
Excellent album. Great songs, great musicians, great performances. If you liked this cd then you might also like Helloween's Rabbit Don't Come Easy and The Dark Ride. Both albums are extremely similar to Masterplan's (duh!).

10/04/05: WardyS3 -
Rating: 93
Nope, checked out some of Altaria's work you reccomended (a plus side to downloading :) ) and although it's okay it's no Masterplan. The overall sound wasn't too far removed from your typical European semi prog type caper, by no means as memorable as Masterplan and I struggled to find any uniqueness to the vocalist. Not trying to jump at you Nigel, just wanting to let you know and others here that I did check em out but wasn't too fussed, but thanks for the tip, always good to check out unknowns. Each to their own :)

Actually they reminded me of Australia's Vanishing Point whom I have a lot of time for!

05/04/05: Nigel James -
Rating: 90
Very good melodic rock/metal, but Altaria`s Divinity is better.
Divinity is more memorable and catchy and I love the vocals at least as much as Jorn`s

23/03/05: Metal Mark -
Rating: 90
Whitesnake on steroid? Nope, just another excellent slab of hard melodic rock from Masterplan. At first I was (slightly) disapointed with "Aeronautics" because most of the power metal splendor of Helloween has all but disapeared. But the band has settled into their own sound. Jorn Lande is an incredible vocalist, maybe one of the best in the business. The band's debut is stronger, though, and that's where my disapointment lies. It's simply a 'heavier' effort. This one grew on me over the past few weeks and I've been enjoying it ever since.
Just hope the next effort includes at least a 'Heroes'-styled song. Other than that, "Aeronautics" is a classy piece of AOR-infused hard rock.

21/03/05: Mark -
Rating: 100
I got it wrong with my previous review; I have listened to this non-stop for the last few weeks and it is one of the most consistent albums I have ever heard; the singing from Jorn is unbelievable and I have never heard such amazing depth and range from a singer, (Glenn Hughes apart) - I am simply blown away.

19/03/05: Robin McGhie -
Rating: 100
Utterly Sensational !!! The perfect crossover of hard and melodic rock. I didnt think they could surpass the debut, but they have. I am usually critical of overblown reviews and high scores, but with this release you should ask only one question. "What else can you possibly hope for in rock c.d."

09/03/05: Longtime Boston Fan -
Rating: 95
These guys know how to pour out some seriously melodic power metal!
I bought the 2 disk set that in which disk two is titled "Back for my Life" and includes 7 songs.
The way this thing is packaged is excellent!
This is gonna be a tough album for any other band to beat even though we still have 9 months to go.
Go buy this one today!

02/03/05: Daymond -
Rating: 99
If Dream Theater would write another "Images and Words," it MIGHT be as good as this. DT clearly forgot how to write songs and focus more on showing off their chops. Masterplan manages to do both. Will probably end up in my top 5 for 2005. Awesome. Falling Sparrow is THE killer track on the album...A must buy!

02/03/05: WardyS3 -
Rating: 93
No, you're right Neil, indeed I have seen the light and today I finally received my true copy of Aeronautics. Complete with packaging and paid for with cash! (My wife's but that's beside the point!). The CD booklet layout looks fantastic, stacks of photo's, complete lyrics and it smells of quality too. The whole thing (obviously music included) just smacks of melodicrock album of thr year! I get the feeling my rating could climb a tad higher by years end! These guys are class!!!!!

28/02/05: Jonny_B -
Rating: 100
In one fell swoop, Masterplan drops the guillotine on 2005 and decapitates any other band's slim hopes of achieving album of the year. This is what European power metal is all about: heavy riffs, catchy hooks, intricate keyboards, and a masterful vocalist. Andrew summed it up perfectly. My Album of the Year, and no other album within the next 10 months will dethrone it; not Stratovarius, not Circle II Circle, not Evanescence, nor any of the power metal, melodic rock, or mainstream/nu-breed regulars. Had it come out in December, I might've ranked it ahead of Within Temptation, and those are pretty damn bold words from a guy with a strong bias towards female rock. Recommended to everyone who likes rock in general.

26/02/05: Mark -
Rating: 90
Album of the year? If there is anything better than this, then hell will freeze over. First-rate vocals and great songs.

22/02/05: Neil -
Rating: 96
Mick Ward has seen the light... hallelujah !! (just kidding mate !) Perhaps now though you might consider re-evaluating the criminal '80' you gave Lande's classic "Out to every nation.." Like Freddy I was more 'Pride of Lions' than 'Worldchanger' ..but not anymore with albums of this class & quality & heaviness & melody..
truly everything Mr Lande touches seems to turn to gold !!

18/02/05: IAN -
Rating: 99
Simply put - BRILLIANT

15/02/05: Tom C. - TCAV34@AOL.COM
Rating: 100
I have only bestowed a 100 rating once before, but this album deserves it and has earned every point! Jorn Lande's vocals are incredible, and though the music has a hard rock edge, most of the songs are very melodic. I enjoy music that has layers, and this album delivers. Hard rock fans, and fans of more melodic rock will all enjoy this cd. If you haven't bought this album yet, go buy it now, you won't be disappointed. Jorn is the preeminent rock vocalist of the 21st Century.

14/02/05: John Elway -
Rating: 95
Wow! This is flat out great. Not a weak song in the bunch. This is the best "Power Metal" record I've heard since "Keeper of the Seven Keys 2" or "Operation Mindcrime." I guess calling it just "Power Metal" is selling it short as this is hard yet melodic and quite catchy. Great stuff.

14/02/05: HarryB -
Rating: 100
Just go buy this! If you haven't heard the first CD, go get it. If you have it, I think this one is even better. What sets this apart from so much other metal? Melody. My taste in music is typically hard rock in the vein of Soul SirkUS, Priest, etc. or what most would consider AOR, like Journey. And they appeal to me as much as any heavier act out there. These guys are heavy, and have great layers in the music. I would think they would appeal to just about everyone. I only wish I was in Europe so I could catch a show.

12/02/05: micke -
Rating: 95
What a starf of 2005, Masterplan did it again. I like the first one, but this maybe better then the first.
All ten songs is great, no fillers here, the debut have two songs that I dont like so much.

10/02/05: WardyS3 -
Rating: 93
Well first up I have to find out where Cutter lives and see what latest software he's runnin on his system cause not ony has he read my mind he's stolen my lines. Had he not already posted his review here than mine would read almost word for word.

Second up I can hear Andrew now "Mick giving a 90%+ score! Call a staff meeting, something's not right!!!!!"

I digress, here comes album of the year, or last if you were naughty enough to download it before 2005 - go buy it when released, you will be forgiven :) But seriously, do NOT for a second overlook this sensational album if you enjoyed either their first or good progressive Euro rock! I kid you not that this album is a bag of goodies, and yes my favourite song and potential for song of the year does indeed go to Fallen Sparrow.
OMG! What a splendid Maiden like (don't let that put you off, it's Better than ANYTHING off Dance of Death, although Rainmaker was classic), and in fact this melodic beauty is similar to Rainmaker if comparisons are wanted.

My least faves are Wounds and After this War, Wounds being a tad too mushy and old day Helloween in its melodic sense and After this War although lyrically involving just doesn't grab me the way the remainder of the album does, but I must emphasise both tunes are still mighty fine. Another gripe is the labels decision not to include Treasure World on the regular release as although I find the chorus a tad mellow the remainder of the song contains a lush melodic run in both the verse and bridge!

Faves are the rest of the album, top scores although hard to seperate one from the other, I'd go with Fallen Sparrow, Crimson Rider, and I'm not afraid and mention goes to Headbangers Ballroom for whilst lyrically being about a venue doesn't sound hairbandish in the slightest.

And finally a big thanks to Andrew for personally suggesting these guys to me way back. Fantastic band, fantastic album.
Buy it!!!!!

10/02/05: CUTTER -
Rating: 100
This is even better than the stellar debut lp. Not a bad song on this one, the production is flawless and i think the songs just are easier to digest than the 1st MP. I can't get enough of "falling sparrow", it's probably one of the best songs Jorn has been involved in and that's saying something with his extensive body of work. The style on this to me is more like jorns solo and maybe a bit of Ark thrown in than the 1st one. It's also maybe a bit more melodic too which is a good thing in my opnion. I got the Limited Editon Digi-box CD and the only dissapointing thing is the multi media section only contains a screen saver and wallpaper for your pc, unlike the debut which has an extra disc of interviews and behind the scenes and a video but it does have a bonus track "treasure world" that is great and pure Jorn solo style all the way.

10/02/05: Figge -
Rating: 98
What a start of the music year 2005!

Last year we got "My Religion" (TNT) and this year will belong to MASTERPLAN. Jorn Lande HAS to be the best hard rock/metal vocalist around these days....I say that with every release he's involved in, I know, but this is the most consistent and best album he's done so far in his career in my opinion. Those intriguing melodies, hooks and choruses are out of this world. The man's a superstar!

"Aeronautics" is a superior album to the debut in every possible aspect. There truly isn't a one song that isn't a masterpiece in it's own right on this disc. The quality of the songwriting is simply amazing and of course the performances is certainly as impressive (especially Jorn and Roland). The band sounds incredibly tight and there is nothing at all to complain about productionwise either. Great job by Roy Z and the guys.

This will most certainly top my best of 2005 list (I hope there will be contenders later this year of course...but I doubt it).

It's almost impossible to pick out favourite songs on the album 'cause it works so damn well as a whole and all tracks are just great, but "I'm Not Afraid" is such a MONSTER I just have to mention!


09/02/05: Freddy De Keyzer -
Rating: 90
Brilliant hardrock ! What more can I say ! All lovers of traditional classic hardrock MUST BUY this album !
I'm an AOR fan, but this is superb !

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100)