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Masterplan is Martin Skaroupka masterfully banging the drums, Axel Mackenrott on keys, bassist Jari Kainulainen, Rick Altzi on vocals and features guitarist Roland Grapow. They bring forth a fun take on some of the best Helloween tracks of yesteryear with their 2017 release of ‘PumpKings’. Seems fitting with Grapow having worked on many of the songs featured during his time with the legendary German power metal band. The track listing is quite an interesting collection as it features a few lesser known tracks alongside the familiar anthems that most metallers have memorized at this day and age. This album is reworked and re-recorded as a top favourites list of Grapow’s and we’re excited to take a deeper look into it today…

Grapow and co. do a really great job on most that is offered on this record. Some of the standouts are tracks like ‘Mankind’, ‘Step Out of Hell’, and ‘Music’. ‘Mankind’ is such a fitting piece, really. Altzi’s voice fits the overall theme perfectly. ‘Step out of Hell’ comes across as truly perfected guitars and kick ass singing. While ‘Music’ is likely one of my favourite Helloween tunes of all time, and I really love the way everything balances out so well with keys, powerful riffs and a stellar horn section. I’ve heard each of these so many times, that I almost found myself enjoying this recording better than the originals!

Has to be mentioned - for those expecting a literal follow up to 2013’s ‘Novum Initium’, you might be a bit disappointed. This is a fun pack of covers crafted to the stylings of Masterplan and, at its purest form, should be considered a cool project piece or spinoff that fans of the band are more than happy to lap up. For those Helloween purists, you may want to check it out just to hear another take on some kick ass tracks. If you’re new to the classic recordings, you will likely feel somewhat out of place with the tracklist and wonder what the overall theme is here. While each track is well written (of course) and performed very well, the transition from tracks one through the end feels kind of awkward. But, honestly, so does every “Best Of” album I’ve ever listened to. Recommended for a listen.
AFM Records
Review by Joshua Jaeger
28th July 2017
1) The Chance
2) Someone's Crying
3) Mankind
4) Step Out of Hell
5) Mr Ego
6) Still We Go
7) Escalation 666
8) The Time of the Oath
9) Music
10) The Dark Ride
11) Take Me Home
"...a fun take on some of the best Helloween tracks of yesteryear..."