MASTERPLAN, the new band featuring ex-HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow, ex-HELLOWEEN drummer Uli Kusch and former YNGWIE MALMSTEEN/ARK singer Jorn Lande, recently entered Crazy Cat studio in Hamburg, Germany with producer Andy Sneap (MACHINE HEAD, ARCH ENEMY, NEVERMORE, SKINLAB) to begin recording their second album, tentatively due in early 2005 through AFM Records in Europe and Marquee Records in Japan and Southeast Asia.
Speaking with Rockdetector.com's Garry Sharpe-Young, MASTERPLAN vocalist Jorn Lande revealed the new album has taken on a distinctly different shape to its highly successful predecessor.
"This record has a far more natural feel to it and it's even very progressive I feel in a lot of parts," Lande said. "We had to cut two epic songs back to six minutes. The 'Masterplan' album was very intense, even schizophrenic, but with this one we have really used space a lot more. Vocally, it is slightly different too, I'm using a lot more darker moods, almost Peter Gabriel- or David Bowie [-like]. Don't worry though — it's still a very heavy record, great riffs, solos and songs, but a bit more of a challenge."
Are you still on target for a January release?
"Maybe later now because we got behind a bit. I have just come out of hospital in Hamburg. I got really, really sick because I have just been working too hard recently. Total exhaustion because of no sleep, so my body just stopped! I go back into the studio in a few days to finish off all the lyrics and the vocals.
"There will be a maxi-single release for Christmas I think," he continued. "Most of the songs don't have titles, so we have not chosen that track yet. There is a bit more of a theme to this record, not a concept, but more a natural flow. There is one song called 'Falling Sparrow' and one about old Fokker aeroplanes, so a bit of a bird/plane thing going on. There is also a strong life and death theme too. Then we have 'Headbanger's Ballroom', which is about a great rock club in Hamburg. Most of the songs are still waiting on titles though."
Does it phase you when you are now regularly being compared to vocal greats such as Ronnie James Dio, Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale?
"These are the guys that inspired me so it's an honor, really," he replied. "I'm just a Norwegian guy from the woods really, so to be doing what I'm doing, recording the music I love and touring the world is pretty near perfect right now. I am certainly of that classic style of singing, that just comes natural to me and it seems that a lot of fans around the world want to hear that again now that grunge and nu-metal has faded. Time to get back to some 'real' music I think!
"There's a lot more attention on me now for sure, and also on MASTERPLAN. We know we really have to deliver with this record and we're all really happy with it. With the first record, Roland and Uli had great concerns, because not too many bands that are a split from something as successful as HELLOWEEN can make it. Well, we won the 'Breaking Borders' award for a best-selling debut album, so that was mind blowing to pick up that award at Cannes alongside all these pop bands and THE DARKNESS. Now that MASTERPLAN did so well we now have a new kind of pressure, because there are all those fans that expect a great deal from us."
For the full MASTERPLAN history and discography, click here.