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Masterplan - "Time To Be King" (CD)

Masterplan - "Time To Be King" CD cover image

"Time To Be King" track listing:

1. Fiddle Of Time (4:20)
2. Blow Your Winds (3:19)
3. Far From The End Of The World (3:35)
4. Time To Be King (4:44)
5. Lonely Winds Of War (4:35)
6. The Dark Road (6:19)
7. The Sun Is In Your Hands (4:32)
8. The Black One (4:13)
9. Blue Europa (5:07)
10. Under The Moon (4:14)

Reviewed by on May 20, 2010

"Overall the last six songs just don’t punch as hard or have the same piercing bite that the first four songs do. "

When I reviewed Masterplan’s EP “Far From The End Of The World” just a few weeks ago, I said “While this EP is a mixed bag, it portends fairly well for Masterplan’s upcoming full-length.” What I didn’t know is how amazingly accurate that statement would actually be. The EP had a split personality, with one song very good, and the other not so much. Well this power metal super group has followed that path almost exactly on “Time To Be King,” with the two songs from the EP forming the dividing line between fantastic and filth.

The first four songs on “Time To Be King” just totally, absolutely rock. “Fiddle of Time” has a Mustang-driving riff, whirling drumming from Mike Terrana, and Jorn just wails and wails and wails until the song ends, completely exhausted. The next three all follow the same path and the key is the tight, yet diverse, songwriting. Each of these songs is compact, with focus completely on the guitar and vocal combo driving the overall essence of each piece, but they are all distinct units, not chips from the same block. Bridges and solos and soaring choruses and whatnot exist in each, yet each song still is a burly, self-contained brawler.

But the wheels come off on “Lonely Winds of War.” Not any better than it was on the EP, it starts the drudgery. The last six songs on the album all just drag a bit, as if Masterplan spent so much energy during the first four they couldn’t get any inspiration for the back half. The main parts of “The Dark Road” just don’t hold together as it has an alt-rock base with power metal glitz over top, and unfortunately it is the longest track on the album. “The Sun Is In Your Hands” just can’t get all the power chords to land, and “Blue Europa” is a darker piece that Masterplan just doesn’t have the temperament for.

Overall the last six songs just don’t punch as hard or have the same piercing bite that the first four songs do. From a super group like Masterplan, with members from Helloween, Iron Savior, and even the legend Jorn himself, it is quite disappointing they can’t keep it swinging for more than a handful of songs. That is ultimately the biggest problem with the album – we expected so much more. In the cliché world of European power metal you need an exceptional performance to make any mark on the metal community, and this uneven effort just falls short.

Highs: “Fiddle Of Time” and the title track just rip heads.

Lows: “Under The Moon” is the worst of a poor back half of the album.

Bottom line: If just the first four songs had been an EP, then this would have gotten five skulls.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)