MASTERPLAN members Uli Kusch (drums) and Roland Grapow (guitar; both ex-HELLOWEEN) have started the recordings for the band's third album. According to a posting on Kusch's web site, a replacement for singer Jorn Lande, who announced his departure from the group in early May, will be confirmed soon. The band's final show with Lande took place on August 8 at Lokersefeesten in Belgium. A photo taken during the performance can be found at UliKusch.de.
According to a statement released by the band in May, Lande's departure was caused by increased "musical differences" between the vocalist and the rest of the band. During the songwriting process for the group's third album, it became increasingly apparent that the other members of the band had different visions and plans for the group's musical direction. While Jorn wanted MASTERPLAN to follow a more melodic path, the rest of the band wanted to return to the metallic roots of their debut album.
Jorn recently released fourth solo album, "The Duke". The CD — which entered the Norwegian national album at position No. 54 — was produced by Lande and PAGAN'S MIND guitarist Jörn Viggo Lofstad, and was mixed at Jailhouse Studios in Denmark by Tommy Hansen.
In related news, reunited German progressive-thrashers MEKONG DELTA, which feature Kusch in their ranks, completed the drum recordings for 11 new songs at Kusch's studio in Norway. A vocalist for the group — which also includes Ralf Hubert (bass) and Peter Sjöberg (guitar; also known as Peter Lake from THEORY IN PRACTICE) — has not yet been named.