Tag Archives: uli kusch

“MKII” by Masterplan

Artist: Masterplan
Title: “MKII”
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 3/20/2007
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 4/5

Oddly enough I had never listened to the Melodic Power Metal band Masterplan before this album even though I was well aware of the group that Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch had founded back in 2002 after being fired from the legendary Helloween. More resultant of it being a matter of time to absorb every band out there against any form of slight I was well aware of how popular they had become and meant to sink my teeth into them one way or another. Sadly by the time I got to it drummer Kusch had moved on and formed Beautiful Sin while singer Jorn Lande had departed citing musical “differences”, the all too common phrase we hear from bands around the world from time to time. My own exploration into their Power Metal glory would begin with two new members and ones I have enjoyed listening to in the past with other groups. The first was singer Mike DeMeo who many remember from his work with Riot but who also was commendable as a Bluesy-Hard Rocker with The Lizards (a band that featured Bobby Rondinelli) and madman behind the kit – Mr. Mike Terrana. Terrana has done his percussive damage in bands like Yngwie and Rage and can also be heard on over a dozen more notable artists as well. The question would be could the pair fit in and offer up a seamless transition for the band’s fan base and I am happy to report this as a yes. With no offense to Lande, I thought that DeMeo was a perfect fit for the group and with his joining forces we can all now enjoy new melodic Metal adventures as they are forged.
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“New Protection” by Ride The Sky

Artist: Ride The Sky
Title: “New Protection”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 9/18/2007
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 4/5

When I read that Ride The Sky was a new Power Metal “super group” I had high levels of anticipation about who could possibly be in the lineup to make it deserve such a regal title for as many Metal fans are aware this term itself is sometimes truly misused. Historically we have found super groups forming and one such example is Whitesnake and of course this made perfect sense since the band had a roster from Deep Purple, Dio, Quiet Riot, Vandenberg and Ozzy Osbourne. Yet in recent years we have found the label also being used for the garbage that was Rockstar: Supernova, that horrid television band with Tommy Lee, Gilby Clarke and Jason Newsted in its lineup. So where does this new super group fall in comparison to these widely opposite sides of the musical fence? To me this is no super group but instead a group of superb and talented musicians who were at one time associated with venerated super powers in the Power Metal genre, and I will leave it at that. Truth be told, this band offers up some really tasty Power Metal and it’s not too over the top and allows those who seek an introduction into the format a safe haven that might have them looking deeper into it as opposed to running off to listen to bands like Daughtry and Nickelback. So just who makes up Ride The Sky, well we have Bjorn Jansson (vocals), Uli Kusch (drums), Benny Jackson (guitars), Kaspar Dahlqvist (keyboards) and Mathias Garnas (bass) and together they do some serious justice to the music. Their biography information lines out their stellar pasts as part of the genres history as players for bands such as Masterplan, Gamma Ray, Stormwind, Circle II Circle, and Tears Of Anger among many others and between them have contributed to over 70 releases. Drummer Kusch has 25 of these releases to his own credit and that is one hell of an accomplishment so perhaps he is the main super power in the lineup when you look at it from that perspective. Musically this sounds on many levels like that of Masterplan and this is not a bad thing considering the bands reputation and Kusch’s long association with them. I also felt that Bjorn reminded me of David Coverdale at some points in the material.
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“Heading For The East” [DVD] by Gamma Ray

Artist: Gamma Ray
Title: “Heading For The East”
Label: Sanctuary Visual Entertainment
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 6/10

My first exposure to the music of Gamma Ray was back in 1991 when Kai Hansen had left Helloween to start this side project of power metal. I really liked the first CD entitled “Heading For Tomorrow” and fortunately for me the core of the material comes from this release. Power metal was slowly becoming my music of choice since the States was being consumed with the Grunge movement. Now, I liked most of the bands that came out from this movement, but I preferred the majesty and drive that European Power Metal had to offer.
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