At the end of autumn 2001 during Helloween‘s “The Dark Ride Tour”. Roland Grapow, present in the band since 1989, and Uli Kusch from 1994, decided to form a side project. Shortly after this decision, both were fired from their long-time job in Helloween. Born the name “Masterplan” based on the idea that they would be master musicians with the future in their hands, in the words of the Headbanger – Gerardo Trevino Garza (Creator of the name), starts the newest power metal band of the new millennium. Roland subsequently invited for keyboards Janne Wirman, which at that time played in the band Children Of Bodom. For vocals, Russell Allen was invited but had to decline the invitation since he was firm in his own band Symphony X. A second invitation was made for Michael Kiske, who also rejected the proposal, claiming that he wanted to keep away from the metal scene. After contact with Norwegian band Ark famous album Burn The Sun and subsequently the album Worldchanger, singer Jørn Lande was invited. Jørn accepted the invitation, completing the band after about six months of the beginning of the project.
Their first full-length self-titled album, Masterplan was released in 2003, produced by Andy Sneap. The band then consisted of Grapow and Kusch with Jørn Lande. The main part of the keyboard lines on the album were arranged and programmed by Roland and Uli, while keyboard player Janne “Warman” Wirman recorded some sessions for the album, but could not stay on as a full-time member due to his commitments to Children of Bodom. Axel Mackenrott replaced him on tour and since then as a permanent member. Studio bassist Jürgen Attig (Casanova) helped with some bass lines on the recordings, but Grapow was the main bassist for the album. For tour and subsequent recordings, Jan-Sören Eckert was hired as a permanent member.
In January 2005 Masterplan released their second album, Aeronautics once again produced by Andy Sneap and the band. After two successful albums and their respective tours, during the writing of the third album the band parted ways with vocalist Jørn Lande, citing “musical differences” as the reason for the split. The split was amicable enough that Jørn agreed to perform four previously arranged live appearances before departing although two of these were eventually canceled by the promoters.
On October 4, 2006 Uli Kusch announced his departure from the band in an interview with Darkside.ru. Although not discussing the details of what had happened, he mentioned the democratic principles of making decisions in the band as one of the reasons of his leaving – according to him, it often made getting a consensus nearly impossible. Three days later, Masterplan announced their new line-up through their official web site: Grapow, Mackenrott, Eckert, with new members Mike DiMeo (Riot, The Lizards) and Mike Terrana (ex-Artension, ex-Rage, Metalium, ex-Axel Rudi Pell). The band toured with Saxon as an opening act for Saxon’s Inner Sanctum tour.
The band’s third album, suitably titled MK II, was released on February 26, 2007. It was produced this time by the band’s actual leader, Roland Grapow himself, at his own studio in Slovakia. The album was recorded in September and October 2006.
On January 11, 2009, Mike DiMeo confirmed on his MySpace page that he had parted ways with Masterplan. On July 25, 2009, the band finally revealed that Jørn Lande has made his return to Masterplan.
On July 13, 2011, the band has announced in their official website that they were writing songs for a new album. The album is set to be released in March 2013.
In July 2012, it was announced that Martin Marthus Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth drummer) will play on the new Masterplan album. In early November, it was announced that Rick Altzi and Jari Kainulainen would replace Jorn Lande and Jan Eckert on the upcoming album. In November 2012, during an interview with Metal Shock Finland’s Chief Editor, Mohsen Fayyazi, when talking about Jorn’s departure from the band, Roland stated the following: “Everybody always expects something special from Jorn, but it’s a very unstable situation. To keep happy it’s not easy and to be honest I’ve not heard from him for 2 years. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still friends but we just don’t have much contact.”
In an interview made in Italy, on September 16, 2016, Roland Grapow confirmed the addition of At Vance member Kevin Kott as the drummer of the band replacing Martin Marthus Škaroupka whose commitments with his other band Cradle of Filth prevented him for playing shows with Masterplan.
They also announced the release of a new album consisting of re-recordings of Helloween songs written by Roland Grapow from the time he was in the band. The album, PumpKings, was released on July 28, 2017. Grapow stated that the album was not any kind of revenge for being fired from Helloween, or not being invited to their Pumpkins United World Tour in 2017: “[fans] all thought it was kind of a revenge or something… now I remember. To me, it’s just a relaxing situation […] I never had this in my mind. It’s just a bit coincidental because I delayed this album for two years and it came out at the same time when the reunion tour came.”
|Back for My Life||EP||2004|
|Flying Aces Special Event Tour 2005||Split||2005|
|Lost and Gone||EP||2007|
|Two Originals||Boxed set||2009|
|Far from the End of the World||Single||2010|
|Time to Be King||Full-length||2010|
|Keep Your Dream Alive||Single||2013|
|Keep Your Dream aLive||Live album||2015|