I never pass on anything â€˜Helloweenâ€™ related. So, when I saw Masterplan was coming out with an album of covers from the band called PumpKings, I couldn’t wait to hear it.
Why Masterplan you ask? Well, if you have been living under a rock, guitarist and founder Roland Grapow left Helloween back in 2001 to form Masterplan, and here he is revisiting his past and giving the songs he wrote with Helloween some attention and attitude.
Grapow played on five albums from 1990-2000, and it was great hearing some of these songs again from these albums. “The Chance,” off 1991’s Pink Bubbles Go Ape, leads the way here. Lead singer Rick Altzi gave the song a darker side and more aggression than the original. But, the guitars are the key. Grapow has matured since then as he flat out rips on this song.
“Step Out of Hell,” from 1993’s Chameleon, was a forgotten song from a poorly produced album, and it was great hearing it with the new, heavier sound it deserved. “Escalation 666″ and ” The Dark Ride,” from 2000’s underrated The Dark Ride, are gems to hear all dolled up. “The Time of the Oath,” the title track from 1996’s release of the same name, was an album I had not listened to in quite some time. Hearing this song again made me listen notice how Grapow was a genius in the making in Helloween. I don’t question him one bit leaving a group that big at that time to do his own thing.
Helloween still exist today with Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen reuniting with the current members this fall for a world tour playing old classics and new material from them, but Masterplan has made an album worthy of their own, even though they were released under Helloween. This is a must get for your collection. You won’t regret it.