Novum Initium (Ltd Edition)

SKU: AFM396-9
Label:
AFM Records
Category:
Melodic Metal
Add to wishlist 

Limited edition digipak with 2 bonus tracks.

"The road to Altzi is paved with good intentions…. When Masterplan announced the new lineup in November of last year, Jorn apologists flooded the comment strings of various metal news outlets with comments like “another band is spoiled by a vocalist change” and “no Jorn…no Masterplan.” While I might agree that there was reason for outcry when a well-known/respected singer leaves a band, it’s not as if Masterplan has never had another vocalist and is not a band with more past members than present. The object is to listen and make judgments later. The announcement of Rick Altzi was particularly intriguing and any fan of At Vance and Thunderstone can attest – there was much reason for hope.

The news that main man/guitarist Roland Grapow’s (Ex-Helloween) revealed that there was going to be a return to “faster” and “more metal” material made this more appealing. Add further still…the addition of Ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and the naysayers should have stood back and waited to react. Why? As it turned out, Rick Altzi proves a more than compatible replacement for Jorn…and *GASP* dare I say – a wee bit better in spots? Blasphemy? Try it…prove me wrong.

Musically, the album ranks as one of the band’s finest, recalling the best heard from the self-titled debut, 2005’s “Aeronautics,” and the appropriately titled 2010 “Time to Be King,” but with a heavier edge. Altzi is so compatible that only the most attentive Jorn fans can see the difference, most notably that low power that shifts with a slab of grit while on the way up to the high range. This is not besmirching Altzi at all, as his range is proven and perfect. His first appearance is at 0:47 on the album’s second track “The Game,” an admirable driving melodic metal song with noticeably well-crafted double bass from new drummer Marthus Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth) and copious amounts of heaviness intertwined with trademark melody. Grapow proves again what amazing solos he can play.

The album’s first music video was for “Keep Your Dream Alive” – a mid-paced winner expertly chosen, as it’s the song where Altzi shines brightest, showing the breadth of his range – and for many moments I said “Jorn who?” The finest track on the album is “Betrayal,” which will prove to be one of the best of the year when all is said and done, if not for its Middle Eastern charm that falls into the heaviest riff on the album drawn out like slamming shudders by Axel Mackenrott’s keyboards. Other notables are the appealing riff in “Earth Going Down” (which is a tad swallowed by the keyboards as the song progresses), the Strato-feel of “Black Night of Magic,” the speedier “Return to Avalon” and the never dull 11 minute title track (especially 6:13 to 7:15) and vocal duet of Altzi and Grapow. Highly recommended is the digipak version with bonus tracks “1492” and “Fear the Silence.”

My only complaint is not necessarily with the band’s play or its flawless execution, its more the melodic metal style in general. At the same time it represents a favorite style – in Masterplan’s case best defined as “what Whitesnake would sound like if they tipped a bit into power metal” – listening to entire album presents a challenge, if only for that mid-paced repetition. I find the album plays a bit better when I listen to a few songs at a time, mixing it in with other bands and styles.

This may be “a new beginning” for Masterplan in member changes, however the creation of high quality melodic metal perseveres. Grapow assembled a new team of musicians that prove just as compatible, especially Altzi’s performance. With the proof in the product, fans of the band should have little to complain about with “Novum Initium,” though I suspect some Jorn lamenters will never take the road less traveled….the one where its “time for” Rick “to be king.”" - Metal Underground

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Legendary first album comes with 4 unreleased bonus tracks. Now available at a great price.
    $5.00
  • Before their ground breaking Sensory debut, The Towers of Avarice, Zero Hour had released an EP in the hopes of scoring a recording contract. The self-financed Metamorphosis established the group as a prog metal tour de force upon its issuance in 1998; an initial pressing of 2,000 units sold out quickly, leaving fans worldwide anxiously awaiting more Zero Hour material. The praises of the press flowed from around the globe, and the self-titled debut garnered raves from Snake Pit (Germany), Hard Roxx (UK), and many more. Michael Rensen of the premier German magazine Rock Hard proclaimed, "Zero Hour is one of the five Best Progressive Newcomers in the late '90s!"Since the release of "Towers" the band has been featured at two sold out Prog Power USA festivals, toured Europe twice and generated world-wide acclaim.Sensory is proud to reissue Metamorphosis complete with two unreleased tracks from the original studio sessions, two demo tracks and new packaging featuring the stunning artwork of Travis Smith. With this reissue now in place, the past has come full circle for Zero Hour and the future is theirs to be had. With the group now hard at work on their third release De-Evolution, the future is looking very bright indeed!
    $13.00
  • Sleepmakeswaves is an Australian quartet from the Bird's Robe collective. Their stock in trade is a hybrid of post rock and post metal. All instrumental in nature the music shifts between ebbs and flows of sheets of notes. At times the music is crushing but others its languid and beautiful. Musically similar to bands like Explosions In The Sky and Long Distance Calling but with the occasional heavy outbursts that evoke Pelican and Isis. Cutting edge progressive music from an Australian band that shows signs of breaking out of Oz and trying to take over the world. Check out these guys now before they break and you can make fun of your friends for being late to the dance. Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • I thought Felix Martin's debut was insane but he's taken it to the next level with this one...If you are unfamiliar with Felix Martin that will probalby change soon.  He plays a custom made 14(!!) string guitar.  His musical background has strong roots in jazz but its clear he's able to feel comfortable with different styles.  His approach to this unusual guitar includes tapping as well as legato runs.  If you have seen any videos of him playing live its really something to see.  The Scenic Album is a trio affair - Martin is supported by Nathan Navarro on bass and Chapman Stick, and the mighty Marco Minnemann is behind the drum kit (ex-Behold The Arctopus' Charlie Zeleny is on the last track).  I don't think anyone other than Marco could tackle this material.  Martin's music touches on so many different genres - metal, prog rock, latin and fusion - all within a single composition.  Prepare to have your jaw drop! 
    $12.00
  • Latest from this Swedish power metal band that continues to redefine "heavy". Basically they are like Sweden's answer to Nevermore.
    $7.00
  • "I am somewhat torn doing this review as it is one of my favorite Metal cd's, which in itself is a very brash statement and also it is Rob Halford "without" one of the greatest Metal bands in the world..... Judas Priest.During those few very sad years back in the early 90's when Halford left Priest,he formed a band called "Fight" which I think surprised everyone(including your's truly) with it's raw power and brutal almost Thrash-like Metal riffs.This was definatley not some some lame Priest cover band but it was a new way for Rob to showcase that incredible voice of his.The cd opens up with what was a staple of Mtv's Headbanger's Ball back then with the song "Into the Pit" which was a fast and furious tribute to the "Mosh Pit".The music continues to grab you by the throat and choke the life out of you and never let's you come up for air.Some of my other favorites are "Nailed to the Gun", "Life in Black" the title track "War of Words" and two absolute Thrash classics, "Contortion" and "Kill it".There is also the (Dare I say hit single..."Little Crazy").Sadly, Fight put out only one other cd but it did not even come close to the power of it's predecessor and shortly after that the band called it quits. Over the next few years Halford tried a few other projects but none of them had the "Balls" of "War of words".A few years laterHalford and Priest resolved their differences and Priest was reborn,Badder than ever.I strongly recommend this cd to any "real" Metal fan,especially the younger one's which may not have known that Rob Halford was ever in another band besides Judas Priest.Without a doubt this cd "War of Words" scores a very HEAVY....10." - The Metal Pit
    $5.00
  • My Soliloquy is a British band formed in 2002 by multi-instrumentalist Pete Morten.  Since then the band has released a number of demos, gaining traction in the metal underground. The band had a number of notable support shows with Pagans Mind, Power Quest, Oliver and Rick Wakeman, and Threshold, as well as a second-to-headline set at Bloodstock 05 and a showcase at 2007’s ProgPower UK II.Since 2007, Morten has been an active member of British prog metal legends Threshold.  His membership has raised awareness (and created anticipation) for My Soliloquy’s long awaited debut.The essence of My Soliloquy is pure forward thinking metal – symphonic keyboards, shredding guitar leads, soaring vocals – all finely woven together with a blend of intricacy and melody.  The Interpreter was mixed and mastered by Rob Aubrey who has been a mainstay of Marillion’s camp for many years.
    $5.00
  • "IRON MASK stand out from many other artists of the neo-classical metal genre because they manage to combine high musical ambitions with a certain kind of accessibility and lots of variety. With 'Fifth Son of Winterdoom', Dushan Petrossi and his band manage the musical claim to be very catchy, so fans of Firewind, Dio, Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen and Rainbow will all have their joy in this extraordinary album."
    $15.00
  • "This is where everything almost went horribly wrong. Encouraged by a new distribution deal through Epic Records and his recent collaboration with old friend Ozzy Osbourne on his wildly successful No More Tears album, Motörhead's Lemmy set out to pursue commercial success like never before and, as a result, almost managed to toss their impeccable legacy in the dumpster. Sure, Motörhead (arguably the most important underground band in rock history) had flirted with accessibility before, but with 1992's March ör Die, the English legends shed much of their unbridled power and skull-crushing distortion in order to break down the radio barrier once and for all. Needless to say, it didn't work in attracting new fans, and lukewarm material like "Hellraiser" (in a different version than on No More Tears), the piano- and acoustic guitar-laced "I Ain't No Nice Guy" (a duet with the Ozzman featuring Slash), and a straightforward cover of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever" (it just sounds wrong -- maybe if they'd tripled the beat or something) had longtime fans gritting their teeth in frustration. Elsewhere, tracks like "Stand," "Bad Religion," and "Too Good to Be True" found Lemmy making a serious effort to transform his trademark croak into actual singing, and only a few numbers ("Name in Vain," the title track) bear any vague resemblance to the Motörhead of old. At the end of the day, simply attacking the band's motives may seem rather harsh (and is certainly subject to opinion), but there is no denying that March ör Die ranks among Motörhead's least-celebrated offerings; nor can one ignore Lemmy's swift about-face toward more extreme fare on 1993's excellent Bastards." - Allmusic Guide
    $7.00
  • "Italian power metal band Holy Knights have managed to let ten years elapse between releases. This is not often the best business model- just ask Axl. The band currently consists of Simone Campione (Nexus/Thy Majestie/Ex-Irencors): Guitars, Bass with Claudio Florio (Crimson Wind/Trinakrius/Ex-Synthesys): Drums and Dario Di Matteo: Keyboards/Vocals and they have produced an easy-to-review-for-the-lazy album. Why is it easy? That would be because it would be simple to say something along the lines of, "If you like (insert Euro power metal band such as Rhapsody)...then you'll like Between Daylight and Pain.In the main this is a generally accurate comparison as Holy Knights bombard the listener with a massive wall of sound including fairground/carnival type music on "Frozen Paradise". They are not quite as over the top as some of their contemporaries and when they rein it in they are like Royal Hunt which is a good thing. Yes it is somewhat of a cheesefest but it reveals a joie de vivre lacking in so much modern music and that makes this reviewer happy." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $14.00
  • "Ralf Scheepers has built himself quite a reputation for being one of the finest German Heavy Metal singers. With a career spanning three decades (he debuted with Tyran’ Pace’s “Eye to Eye” album in 1983), Scheepers sung on true Power Metal manifesto releases such as Gamma Ray’s first three albums, before starting Primal Fear in 1997, with Mat Sinner.His voice is high-pitched and tenor-esque and his abilities were often compared to some of the finest Hard Rock and Heavy Metal singers ever (from Rob Halford to Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan). Both Helloween and Judas Priest considered him as their possible next lead singer.Over the years Ralf wrote and collected a few tracks that did not fit exactly in the Primal Fear concept. As often happens, he had just been waiting for the right chance to present itself and that happened when himself, his buddy Mat Sinner and Frontiers Records President Serafino Perugino sat together and discussed plans for the future in… 2007!Over three years later and the results are finally here and in Scheepers’ words “I’m really proud of the result!”"
    $11.00
  • "Dark Sarah is a concept project from Finland, led by singer/songwriter Heidi Parviainen (former lead singer of the Symphonic Metal act Amberian Dawn). Financed by successful indiegogo campaigns, Dark Sarah’s Behind The Black Veil brings together a number of veteran musicians and singers and the act has released a strong and theatrical debut.Although not 100% new material (separate funding campaigns had allowed the first eight tracks to be released as two individual EPs), Behind The Black Veil consists of 12 main songs along with two bonus tracks – a substantial amount of theatrical goodness. Heidi Parviainen’s strong voice is the centerpiece of the release, and it remains as powerful and clear as ever. She shares the microphone with guests Manuela Kraller (Xandria), Inga Scharf (Van Canto), and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica). The band behind Heidi is technically excellent, consisting of guitarists Kasperi Heikkinen (U.D.O, Merging Flare) and Erkka Korhonen, bassists Jukka Koskinen (Wintersun) and Rude Rothstén, and drummers Teemu Laitinen and Lauri Kuussalo.“Save Me”‘ opens the album, and is the epitome of “cinematic” metal. A sad and melancholy track introduces the character of Dark Sarah and sets the standard for the tracks that follow. Dramatic orchestral musical passages and near operatic vocals are carried by well done keyboards and strong lyrics that lay the groundwork for the rest of the album. “Poison Apple” starts with moody keys but it quickly becomes a heavy rocker with intense bass and drums. On the whole this song is nicely balanced between metal and orchestral instruments. “Hide And Seek” is a stirring keyboard driven ballad that brings out the true beauty and power of Heidi’s voice. “Memories Fall” is a well done, energetic duet with Xandria’s Manuela Kraller, and their two voices complement each other well while riding over a crunching guitar line.“Evil Roots” kicks off the second quartet of songs. Inga Scharf (Van Canto) lends her voice to this well done Power Metal track, and the lead and backing vocal work on this track is truly outstanding. Broadway theatrics make an appearance on the unusual “Violent Roses” – a Tim Burton-esque cinematic track that starts slow and low and ramps up the intensity as it progresses. “Hunting The Dreamer” is a rousing rocker with a kicky rhythm line and driving bass. The interplay of full metal (great guitar solo!) and orchestra gives this one a unique personality. “Fortress” starts as a soft, moody and introspective piece with some nicely done vocals and textures, and then gets kicked up in power and speed as guitars, bass and drums join the keys.“Silver Tree” is a wonderfully done up-tempo piece with plenty of keyboards and lush orchestration, highlighted by a slightly manic drum line. Soft keys and peaceful vocals start off the power ballad “Sun, Moon, And Stars” – a song with a very simple arrangement in comparison to the rest of the release. “Light In You” is a superb Broadway showstopper – quite probably the most powerful song of the album – and features the wonderful voice of Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) playing The Moon, deep in conversation with Sarah. The official story closes on a high with the peaceful piano-driven “Sarah’s Theme”. Bonus tracks fill the balance of the run time – an orchestral version of “Memories Fall,” and very quirky, bloody, and somewhat amusing “A Grim Christmas Story” – very Tim Burton!Despite being produced at different times and with different performers, Behind The Black Veil has a consistent, solid sound. There is a good deal of warmth in the orchestral pieces, yet they are crystal clear. Heidi’s voice is crisp and accessible, and the musical delivery by the entire Dark Sarah ensemble is technically excellent. The music is powerful, the performances tight, and the story is one just waiting to be brought to life on file or stage. While the dark material and heavy orchestral overtones won’t appeal to everyone, fans of symphonic, Gothic, or female fronted metal will find a lot to enjoy.Dark Sarah’s Behind The Black Veil is highly recommended for fans of the darker, Symphonic genres." - Hard Rock Haven 
    $14.00
  • Chicago based Oceanborn are a very interesting new progressive metal band.  They draw influences from a variety of styles.  You can hear Avenged Sevenfold, Muse, Katatonia, and Dream Theater in their musicial DNA.  Vocals are all clean and most definitely angst driven.  Entwined with the progressive elements is a melodic, almost pop quality that creeps into the fray only to be beaten down by crushing riffs.  Somewhat of a tough album to describe but something really cool going on here.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00