With current At Vance vocalist Rick Altzi at the helm handling vocals, and former Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow. Masterplan a Power metal band hailing from Hamburg, Germany have crafted a masterpiece known as Novum Initium, which means "New Beginning" in English when put into a translator. Each track on this album begins and ends with flswless endevor as each mucisian plays their instruments with profession that one would not expect from a band that has only been aroud for thirteen years.
Novum Initium opens with the instrumental track Per Aspera Ad Astra, which only lasts 1:01 before slowly fading into the album's single The Game, which showcases Rick Altzi performing at his career best, at least in my opinion. I might have to listen to more At Vance to decide that though. Next we come to the ballad on the album Keep Your Dream Alive, and as most of you know by now I hate ballads, but this one I actually like. Black Night Of Magic is the best track on the album with Altzi's soaring vocals and Grapow's guitar work.
At this point in the album you can tell that Masterplan have gone through a lineup change with Altzi replacing Jorn Lande on vocals even though he will be missed, his solo work could use some work though. Betrayal and No Escape are actually filler on this album talking about relationships, and what happens when they go wrong. Pray On My Soul is track number 7 clocking in at just 4:35 the band manages to put alot of craftsmanship into this one track talking about religion, talking about how one doesn't need god if he has friends and family rooting from them. Earth Is Going Down is another masterpiece on this album talking about the apocalypse, and judging man's existance. Return From Avalon the bands more symphonic side as they bust out the keyboards, and pay tribute to the Power metal gods. Through Your Eyes is the second ballad on Novum Initium and unlike Keep Your Dream Alive I don't particularly like this one as much. The last track on the album is the self titled Novum Initium and clocking in at slightly over 10 minutes this the longest song on the album. The deluxe edition also comes with two bonus tracks 1492, and Fear The Silence, which you'll just have to listen for yourself to form an opinion on them as I did.
In conclusion, Novum Initium is without a doubt a game changer here in 2013, with other albums being released this year in the Power metal category such as Dark Moor's Ars Musica, which was up until now my pick for album of the year, Stratovarius' Nemesis, Circle Of Silecnce's The Rise Of Rebellion, and the list goes on. For some reason though this release seems to transend all those other albums mostly because of the addition of Rick Altzi on vocals and Roland Grapow on guitar. Masterplan's Novum Initium has easily become one of my favorite albums here in 2013, and is my pick for album of the year even though we have only just entered the second half of the year. Sorry Dark Moor, but Masterplan has the better album this time around.
Highlights: Per Aspera Ad Astra, The Game, Keep Your Dream Alive, Black Night Of Magic, No Escape, Pray On My Soul, Earth Is Going Down, Return From Avalon, Novum Initium, 1492 (Bonus track), Fear The Silence (Bonus track)