It´s interesting to see what the almost totally renewed band has come up with. Almost three years after releasing their last record, “Time to be King”, the guys behind mastermind Roland Grapow are back. Three new musicians have joined Grapow´s ranks: Martin Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth) on drums and Jari Kainulainen (Ex-Stratovarius) on bass. And after Masterplan and Jorn Lande parted ways again after the long-awaited reunion and only one record, there is a new man behind the microphone, too: Rick Altzi, who has played with At Vance and Thunderstone. AFM says that Rick´s voice is similar to Lande´s but I don´t agree - one can´t really compare the two voices with each other. But I immediately recognise that Rick´s voice is scratchier than before, during his Thunderstone time, and that it sounds better, it seems to fit better to Masterplan´s sounds. The band is just the right thing for the Swede and he manages to make up for the loss of Jorn Lande easily - simply because he sounds so different. The sound of the new music on “Novum Initium” has grown accordingly, even though they sound much more like Stratovarius than ever before. But that´s not necessarily a bad thing. The new compositions are great. It remains to be seen whether the band can translate their studio recordings to a live set. By the way, I thought it would be more difficult for me to like this record, as I think that Jorn Lande´s voice is unsurpassable but Masterplan made the right choice and are now heralding a new and hopefully successful era. Great!