MSTRPLN” is the third album from German rockers SACRED GROOVE, their first in six years. The band makes justice to their name; this is groovy melodic metal / hard rock. A female fronted melodic metal in fact, and a very good one.
Sacred Groove was founded in the ’90s, musically oriented towards the hard rock sound of the late ’80s. In 2006 the original members started a new beginning for the band and decided to continue their career with female vocals and a slightly more metal-heavy note.
Very well composed, arranged, and performed, ”MSTRPLN” also sports a crisp, pretty bombastic production which takes the product above the bar for an indie release.

After reforming several appearances and a nominations for various music awards increased SACRED GROOVE local popularity before the first album “Needful Things” was released 10 years ago. A solid debut, still recognizable as hard rock.
Shortly before the release of their next album “The Other Side”, Sacred Groove had to deal with two setbacks. Original keyboardist Jüppi Püllen died in a tragic accident, and the singer at the time, Isabel Willenberg, left while she was still working in the studio.

But both vacant positions would be filled with Alona Levina, wonderful and expressive singer with Russian roots who is also a highly talented keyboard player. With her into the line up, the four musicians then went on to compose the new album “MSTRPLN”.
“MSTRPLN” is a female fronted melodic metal album, however there’s various influences / touches. From a subtle but still present hard rock background bluesy vibes ’70s elements, to a slightly progressive character, there is really a lot to discover here.
What the compositions have in common, however, are really great melodies. In particular the choruses stay really good in the ear and the strongly guitar-oriented song structures give the pieces a really cool groove and convey a lot of passion in the songwriting.

“Ghosts Of Yesterday” is a fantastic opener. Energetic, symphonic, bombastic, lively, garnished with a mega good refrain. With the following “The Journey To Hell And Back” the title says it all; an exciting journey, with a rhythmic, reef-heavy structure, as a permanent companion. In addition, a few progressive feel refined by a wonderful piano passage, just before the finale.
The title song “Masterplan” comes around the corner in a much more progressive manner. Great arrangements, massive drums, plus a really good and catchy vocal lines.

“Misery” is one of my absolute favorites on “MSTRPLN”. After a quieter start with Alona Levina’s wonderful vocals in the foreground, this song becomes an outstanding mid-tempo anthem with a huge chorus. In the mid-part, the instruments explode; Dennis Meivogel with an outstanding guitar solo and riffing, plus a powerful interplay between Bastian Sawalt’s bass and Stefan Deiners smashes.
“Never Be Alone” is one of two ballads on “MSTRPLN”, with acoustics and wonderful strings in the background, to showcase Alona’s full voice range. Incredibly intense song.

“See You Again” is the other ballad on “MSTRPLN” where the guitars are largely clean, semi-acoustic, and spread a bit of bluesy /campfire atmosphere. A melancholy, beautiful tune.
Matching its title, “Can You See The Storm” is a massive, riff-heavy, progressive and with a lot of groove track full of fire (or lightnings) where the vocals somehow have a slightly bluesy ’70s touch. Alona is extremely flexible and charismatic.
“Times Of Temptation” is the final track. A very energetic, modern melodic metal song. The alternation between punchy passages and quiet moments are distinctive features of this great song. Of course Alona Levina, again shines on the microphone. From half-spoken, to tender, to mega-powerful and expressive, everything is included here. A really extraordinary voice.

SACRED GROOVE has delivered a really complete product here; quality female fronted melodic metal with good songs, strong performances, first class mix & production, etc.
Highly Recommended


01 – Ghosts of Yesterday
02 – The Journey to Hell and Back
03 – Masterplan
04 – Misery
05 – Never Be Alone
06 – Nevermore
07 – Second Coming
08 – Secret Places
09 – See You Again
10 – Can You See the Storm
11 – Times of Temptation

Alona Levina – Vocals, Keyboards
Dennis Meivogel – Guitars
Basti Sawalt – Bass
Stefan Deiners – Drums



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