Sound — 8
Masterplan are renowned power metal band, who first came together back in 2001 following multiple issues within the band dynamic of Helloween. During this period, guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch decided to try and form a side project, which they would later work on full time after being fired from Helloween following their "Dark Ride Tour". Now motivated to become master musicians with their new band, with the name Masterplan the band would go on to release a multitude of power metal albums. Now, following a three year break from the studio, Masterplan are returning to the music world with their fifth studio album, titled "Novum Initium". Immediately, the new album is a powerful return-to-form, which shows the band delivering a string of powerful tracks, such as "The Game" and "Black Night Of Magic"; all of which showcase articulate guitar licks and racing synthesizer work. Those signature progressive elements are undoubtedly in surplus, which helps provide each new track with a powerful nostalgic feel. But it also shows the band moving into ever expansive territory, with broader vocal harmonies, heavier guitar work, as well as the element of a new lead vocalist, all of which propel this new album above Masterplan's previous outings. So far, it's a great comeback, which leaves little more to be desired.
Lyrics — 9
Rick Altzi is experienced when it comes to this genre of music, despite this being Masterplan's first album with him on vocals. He formerly sang with such power metal bands as At Vance, and he sinister lower octave range added some powerful depth to many of their tracks. When it comes to "Novum Initium", it's no different. His singing helps attribute an additional layer of atmosphere throughout this new collection of songs, that drives it well over the top and rivals the bands earlier works.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all, "Novum Initium" is a standout power metal album from supergroup Masterplan, which shows the band despite adding several new factors into their sound continuously coming out on the winning side. The entire album is continuously standout, and only gets better each time you listen to it, however that doesn't mean some tracks aren't more standout than others. Some of my personal favorites are the aforementioned "Black Night Of Magic", "Pray On My Soul", and "Through Your Eyes". For any fan of Roland and Uli's original work in Helloween, as well as power metal in general, should look into picking up this album for themselves.