Masterplan – PumpKings (AFM 2017)

This must be the most unnecessary album I’ve experienced in quite some time. I have fond memories of nearly all the tracks on this re-recording from the original Helloween releases, but do I really need to have them in “a more modern”version? Heeeeell no!

Maybe the title should just be “Roland Grapow – Cranky and Bitter”? Productionvise the album is ok, up to modern standards, the cover art is ok for minor release like this. The timing of this release is more conspicuous; why now, mr. Grapow? The reason seems obvious, Roland didn’t get invited to the big Helloween reunion / celebration / money grab and now feels the need to mark his territory. And he goes about it like a dog would, by pissing on the stuff he feels belongs to him.

The music isn’t changed or revamped in any major way, they sound like lesser versions. However there are three distinct differences and none of them good:

  1. The vocals: Rick Altzi isn’t my favorite vocalist, but he has a rough voice with quite a bit of power. What he really lacks is the technique to sing this style. His voice is more suited towards a harder style of music. All these tracks were originally recorded by Andy Deris and Michael Kiske in their prime. Both of these are / were extremely talented singers and with a huge range and emotion in their voices. Rick Altzi isn’t anywhere near able to pull off their melodies and falls flat.
  2. The keyboard: Most of Helloweens songs has a keyboard in the mix at some level, sometimes barely audible, sometimes just pleasantly present. In this rerecording they are loud, ALL THE TIME. I’m not the biggest fan of keyboards, but it has it’s place and it’s functions. But this … this just too much.
  3. The guitarfills. Grapow uses every chance to include a little twiddelidi, sometimes it works most time it’s annoying.


The songs are still good, but I’d rather go with the originals. This seems like a bitter mans revenge fantasy; so they don’t want me with them? I’ll show ‘em, I’ll record my versions, they’re my songs after all, and that’l show ‘em MWAHA HA HA …. HA


Rating: 1,5 / 5



Danko Jones – Wild Cat

Man, I just love Danko. I love the music, the attitude, his podcasts and his writing. He is a genuine rock n roll enthusiast. I consider myself a guy who is quite well versed in the metal, rock and punk scenes, but the people this band sites as influences and as big and important names, I’ve never even heard of. Just another proof that there is always more to discover!

Wild Cat presents a band harking back to its roots, taking small steps forward and showing off some influences. The songs that speak to me the most are the songs in a classic Danko Jones style. Hard riffs, with big stops, fat bass and slightly obscene lyrics. I Gotta Rock, My Little RnR and Revolution are typical examples of the dirty gritty rock that Danko does so well. Danko himself isn’t the best singer in the world, but he’s a damn fine vocalist and front man. When he finds his rowdy voice and speaks in stead of sings and then belts it out on the chorus; that is truly his finest hour.

Let’s start Dancing is different from the rest of the track, every now and again this band release songs that reminds of dance music; fast, repetitive and with a thick rhythm section.. It’s quite catchy, I’ll admit to that fact, but also a “skipper”. The title track is clearly influenced by the seventies hard rock scene and sporting some flat out sexual lyrics. Going Out Tonight reminds me of First Date, one of the bonus tracks on the Sleep is the Enemy album, slightly more punky, but still. Do this Every Night is a sleazy little tune, not in a Steel Panther kind of to obvious way, but in a gritty, bluesy, rock n roll kind of way. Success in Bed is maybe too much on the nose lyrically, but a damn catchy, fun, bluesy tune.

Danko is no shredder in any sort of way, but his guitar tone is fat and heavy, and sometimes almost funky. Calabreses bass is strong and solid, and I’ll just admit it straight away, I’ve lost track of who the drummer, as it has changed too often. Most riffs are in the cross section between punk and rock n roll, except maybe You’re My Woman which sounds like a Thin Lizzy tune, both melodically and musically. I’m not the biggest lizzy fan, but I enjoy most of their music, and I also like this track. Even though this tune is way outside what the bad usually does, it works great.

This record has a few new twists and turns for the band, but everything sound very much like the Danko Jones I’ve come to know and love. It’s just not the band at its best, it’s the band at its medium, for the most part at least.

Recommended tracks: I Gotta Rock, My Little RnR, Success in Bed, You’re My Woman

Rating: 3 / 5