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Masterplan - PumpKings

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 July 2017, 11:22 PM

It seems logical enough that if the upcoming HELLOWEEN reunion tour wouldn’t have come to pass, MASTERPLAN would have probably been in the studio working on a brand new release in their own image. Eventually, reality had something else in plan, so why not go vengeance is mine? After twelve years with HELLOWEEN, between 1989 to 2001, entering the big shoes of Kai Hansen back then, I can understand guitarist Roland Grapow’s frustration and dismay. He should have been a part of this reunion tour, as one that helped setting the tone of the band throughout the 90s. Therefore, it was only natural that with his current band, MASTERPLAN, which he formed in his last years with HELLOWEEN, he will make a bold move. And here we are with “PumpKings”, released via AFM Records. A compilation of HELLOWEEN songs from Grapow’s era that he wrote or co-written, with a present MASTERPLAN force.

Generally, “PumpKings” establishes the notion why the 90’s shown upon HELLOWEEN, and even after the departure of Michael Kiske in 1993, which was soon after replaced by Andi Deris. Furthermore, it provided a good enough idea of the slowly going darker compositions that Grapow made with the band. Starting from the moderately sarcastic / humoristic “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” and lasting till “The Dark Ride”. Personally, I found this period of time to be quite diverse for HELLOWEEN and these new recorded versions right here, made this revamped journey a pleasant one as it was in the first time.

The vast majority of the songs felt natural in the MASTERPLAN version, others felt odd without their original singer mostly, yet, also proved that MASTERPLAN has a very strong frontman that challenged both Kiske and Deris as he delivered the past hits. In addition, although shrouded in a sort of a darkened cloak, the songs felt pumped up with new energies, even the slow tempo ones and not merely the speeding bullets. MASTERPLAN’s rhythm section deserves all the thanks for that. On the early releases as “Master Of The Rings” and “Time Of The Oath”, the keyboards received an almost natural stance in HELLOWEEN’s music, for MASTERPLAN it was more than suitable with a fine ambiance created throughout the compilation. Lastly, there is the man of the hour on the strings, playing the riffs and lead sections to mere perfection with a massive guitar sound.

Honestly, songs such as “The Dark Ride” and “Music” were less compelling in contrast to other HELLOWEEN songs of their era. Nonetheless, the stellar “Still We Go”, “The Time Of The Oath”, “Someone's Crying”, “The Chance” and “Mankind” made my day. MASTERPLAN was able to reach the high standard set by HELLOWEEN of those days and also able to enter their own essence to the songs. Additional tracks to notice: “Step Out Of Hell”, “Mr. Ego” and “Take Me Home”.

If there is maybe one thing that came out of this HELLOWEEN reunion mess that resulted with the excluding of Roland Grapow from the festivities, it was this album. It is a show of worth and a clear indication that someone made a bitter mistake.

Purchase Link: AFM Records

4 Star Rating

1. The Chance
2. Someone's Crying
3. Mankind
4. Step Out Of Hell
5. Mr. Ego
6. Still We Go
7. Escalation 666
8. The Time Of The Oath
9. Music
10. The Dark Ride
11. Take Me Home
Rick Altzi - Vocals
Roland Grapow - Guitars
Kevin Kott - Drums
Axel Mackenrott - Keyboards
Jari Kainulainen - Bass
Record Label: AFM Records


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