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And... One step back. - 55%

Immortally_Insane, June 28th, 2013

June 14th marked the newest release for the band, “Novum Initium” with a fresh start and a fresh lineup, the sky was the limit.

This “new” Masterplan promised to deliver power metal, on the heavier side of the genre, while blending influences from all over the heavy metal universe. Unfortunately, the album doesn't quite meet that expectation. The songs, while they are good songs and pleasant listens, are somewhat lackluster and minimalistic in great head turning hooks. As a hardcore Masterplan fan from the very beginning, it's extremely hard to compare albums like the self-titled Masterplan and the greatness that is MKII to “Novum Initium”. It seems as if the band wasn't nearly as committed here as felt in the past. It's not as if the music isn't fantastic and full of great talent and skill, it just doesn't come together as well as it could.

After the intro track, the first two tracks on the album could not hold my attention. The track “Betrayal” picks up some momentum and definitely regains a listener's focus from the get-go. The chorus is catchy without being corny or over the top. The musicianship is spot on, and it brings back a little bit of that classic Masterplan that we all have grown to love. “Return From Avalon” starts off marvelously, but somewhere between the verse riffs and dragging vocal lines, I stopped listening. As a true sucker for ballads and emotional metal tunes, this album is severely lacking in true emotion. I don't feel anything, not even a tad bit of excitement in the music.

This album is proof that big names doesn't always equal out to a great album. While there are justifiably good tracks on the album like “Pray on My Soul” and “Earth is Going Down” I feel it is too little too late. The listener has likely moved on to another one of the amazing power metal albums of 2013 by the time they even make it to those tracks. It's a shame to see a great like Masterplan heading down this road, especially with the pure talent in the musicians on their own is undeniable. With a new lineup, it's always expected that the following album will be far from perfect, as we're constantly comparing them to older material that we know and love. That being said, something huge is going to have to change for Masterplan to get their groove back.

[Originally written for MetalWani.com]