Masterplan have some meaty metal pedigree with Jorn Lande back on vocals (last heard on second album 'Aeronautic' in 2005), guitarist Roland Grapow (Ex-Helloween), bass man Jan Soren Eckert (Ex-Iron Saviour and Running Wild), drummer Mike Terrana (most notably Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony McAlpine, Rage, Axel Rudi Pell, Artension), and keyboard player Axel Mackenrot (Ex-Gamma Ray, guest on Megadeth's 'United Abominations' recording). Masterplan were formed by Grapow and Uli Kusch (Kusch left in 2006 citing lack of democracy - time to be King, indeed) after they were both sacked from Helloween and originally intended the band as a side project, then becoming their main focus.
'Time to Be King' is album number four for this power metal mob and how you imagine they sound in your head from their former employers probably won't be far from what is the end result, European power metal with melody, sometimes silly lyrics, high quality musicianship, and some fine songs. An album that sits at the higher quality end of this genre of all things metal but not quite the classic to break out into the main stream (well, in the UK at least).
On first play, opening tack 'Fiddle Of Time' quickly builds with keyboards into an approving head nodding rocking tune and, as is the theme, a clever use of keyboards to enhance the melody and not take over the song. The stand out tracks on the album being the afore-mentioned along with 'Far From the End Of The World', 'Time To Be King' and 'Lonely Winds Of War'. The problem with this is that they are the first four tracks of the album and from there on in it all gets a bit, well, not quite meeting these highs again.
For those of you old enough to remember when you had your favourite sides of a vinyl album, well Side A of this album hits you right between the eyes but the B side you may give a spin every now and again, not that the songs are bad just that I was getting part way through the back end of the album before wanting to get back to the four first songs again to listen to them in their entirety.