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German metal veterans of acclaimed acts such as Helloween, Ark, and Iron Savior join forces on Masterplan, a melodic metal troupe whose sophomore effort rocks hard. On AERONAUTICS, power metal is displayed prominently, as the pounding drums and harmonic keyboards found on “Into the Arena” aim straight for the gut, while “Back for My Life” matches Coverdale-era Deep Purple with shards of prog metal a la Queensryche and “After This War” showcase the quintet trying a bit of tenderness in a power metal style with stunning results. Falling somewhere between the heart-tugging hard rock of MSG and the odes that make you stand up and shout from Dio, Masterplan’s most recent release should appease the metal fan that demands powerful guitars and vocals with an air of rock cliché intact.
- Mike SOS