Former HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch have set MASTERPLAN as the name of their new band and have selected ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN/current ARK vocalist Jorn Lande to front the much-talked-about group. According to Roland, Jorn was selected in part because his approach is much more in the classic Dio/Coverdale vein than the operatic wailings that HELLOWEEN had become known for, thereby ensuring that MASTERPLAN would forge its own path and would not draw immediate comparisons to the members' previous output. Lande has thus far sung on MASTERPLAN's cover of LED ZEPPELIN's Black Dog, which is set to be included on an upcoming LED ZEPPELIN tribute CD, due for release via Spain's Locomotive Music in the spring. Despite the fact that the group have yet to secure a record contract, MASTERPLAN are planning on completing their debut album at Grapow's Crazy Cat Studio in Hamburg, Germany with producer Andy Sneap by the end of March before shopping around for a deal. As previously reported, former HELLOWEEN vocalist Michael Kiske will contribute lead vocals to one song, a duet with Jorn, in February, and if all goes according to plan, the CD will see the light of day sometime this summer.
In related news, HELLOWEEN have yet to announce the replacement for Roland Grapow, but reports indicate that the band will issue a CD of remixes and b-sides, tentatively entitled Treasure Chest, later in the year. Due to include material from the group's post-Walls Of Jericho era, the album will not contain the previously-announced new version of "Windmill" (which appeared on 1993's Chameleon),featuring Andi Deris on vocals, since the original multi-track master tapes for the song cannot be located.