“Aeronautics” is the second release from European metal band Masterplan on AFM Records. If you are not familiar with the group then I’ll tell you that it is the union of ex- Helloween members Roland Grapow (guitar) and Uli Kusch (drums) along with Norwegian vocalist Jorn Lande.
The album is a natural progression from their 2002 self-titled effort and it takes the band, in my opinion, a step closer to superstardom in the metal world. “Aeronautics” is more powerful, more melodic, and more focused than the debut—and that’s saying a lot because that first album was a fine slice of Euro metal!
The record opens with the song “Crimson Rider” which is a powerful song with a chunky guitar sound and the superb vocals of Lande, but it is the underlying keyboards of Axel Mackenrott that gives it a very melodic feel. The song is an obvious highlight right from the start! “Back for Life” is a mid-tempo song with a chugging guitar riff and some very melodic singing from Lande.
Jorn Lande always amazes with the ability to sing with such power but still remains very melodic. I’ve said it before and will continue to say that Lande may be the best voice in metal today! The song “Wounds” gets off to a speedy start but is interspersed with some nice melodic breaks giving it an almost power-prog feel. “I’m Not Afraid” starts off with Lande doing his best David Coverdale impression but it kicks in with some double bass drum playing and a great chorus. “Headbanger’s Ballroom” has a razor-sharp guitar riff courtesy of Grapow and a nice melodic chorus. The song reminds me of the great Thin Lizzy at times, especially in the Celtic-flavored guitar breaks. “After This War” is just about a perfect power ballad with a great arrangement and awesome melodic solo from Grapow. The song is not only one of the highlights of the album but is also a personal favorite.
Special mention should be given to the track “Black in the Burn” as it clocks in at close to ten minutes and in that time; it takes the listener on a great ride. The song is everything that is Masterplan… it is melodic one minute and unrelentingly heavy the next. I almost get “winded” just listening towards the end of the song because of its almost brutal heaviness. An absolutely killer song!
Beside the tremendous songs, one of the stronger points of this disc is also the sequencing of the songs. It is just about perfect because it flows between heavier tracks and mid-tempo ones and with that, it keeps the listeners interest peaked throughout.
I also want to add that the production on the album (courtesy of Andy Sneap and the band) is pristine and adds to the overall enjoyment of the album. The disc also features a special multimedia section complete with a screen saver and various wallpapers for your computer if you’re into that stuff.
“Aeronautics” is a fine album and considering this is only the band’s second effort it gives me great anticipation for the future of this group. If you’re lucky enough to live in Europe and have the chance to check them out in concert you should do so by all means as the musicianship in the band is sure to make for a great live experience. I can only hope they will someday hit the shores of the US for some shows.
- Jorn Lande – Vocals
- Roland Grapow – Guitars
- Uli Kusch – Drums
- Jan S. Eckert – Bass
- Axel Mackenrott – Keyboards
- 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
- Treasure World (limited edition bonus track)